Mmegi Online :: Maforaga rediscovers artistic calling
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Last Updated
Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
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Maforaga rediscovers artistic calling

To Oupa Maforaga, 33, from Palapye, fine art is a God-given talent that is stuck with him despite numerous years of abandoning and sidelining it.
By Koketso Kgoboge Fri 16 Feb 2018, 14:57 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Maforaga rediscovers artistic calling








“I am stuck with drawing and painting, and I have figured after so many years of dumping this talent I might as well give it another chance. 

It just can’t go away,” he said. Maforaga is the go-to person for portrait paintings and pencil drawings in Palapye. He is a fine artist. His portraits hang in different top offices, hotels and lodges in the village. He has done portraits and different art pieces for prominent people across the country. He ekes a living out of art, but his fulfilment is not the money he gets from selling art pieces, it is the quality of what he produces.

“The appreciation from my clients inspires me to do the next piece. 

My artworks speak for themselves and they are my marketing tools.  I pay so much attention to my works.  I only take out an artwork when it fulfils me.” Maforaga was born in Mochudi. He grew up in Selebi Phikwe where his father raised him. He did his primary and secondary studies in the copper and nickel-mining town. He remembers vividly his first artwork.

In his early years while a primary school pupil, he happened to have a pencil and a paper and his father had a visitor. As the two elders conversed over a cup of tea, out of reflex he drew the visitor. 

“He picked up I was doing something as I kept picking on him and getting back to my paper. As he was about to leave he approached me to check what I was doing, I was worried because it seemed rude but there, he liked the drawing and even though it was just a tiny piece he gave me a pat on the back.” Maforaga said he came to realise his talent a few years later while a Standard 6 pupil at Tebogo Primary School.

That year, he competed and won the June 16 art challenge. He was rewarded more in his final year in his primary studies winning the same challenge and the regional art competition. At Meepong Junior Secondary School he knew art was his calling, he practiced and won.

He started Latin and American dancing and realised another artistic talent within him. He did dancing until tertiary and won many competitions.

Fine art was burning in him, he continued winning and dominating art classes at Selebi Phikwe Senior Secondary School. He said he was in love with art so much that he would ditch other classes for art.

When the BGCSE final results were announced, he scored an A for art and failed all the other subjects.

His father

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enrolled him with Boteti Unified Private School in Letlhakane to retake all the subjects he failed, and because art was out of the way, he did well and got admitted to the University of Botswana, studying a certificate in Construction.

“This is where my art was put to bed,” he said. He said from living in a house that had strict rules, university gave him the freedom he never had and hell broke loose. Money was abundant and one bad step led to another. He lost focus and he ultimately failed his course.

He was still a dancer when he joined the university, but he also lost touch with dancing because of his newfound lifestyle. He was kicked out after failing and he found himself back in the streets of Phikwe.

“I started drawing again but I was forced into a technical college to study Electrical Engeneering, which I did not complete. At the back of my head I knew I had the desire to do art, but I did not value it, and my parents even more so. I was raised to find a ‘real job’ and work.”

“I got my first job in a construction company, in Palapye in 2015,” he said. “The first things I bought were art materials, but I put them away and they gathered dust. I count myself lucky because I was born again. The word of God touched me and evoked my talents.”

“I learnt confusion in individuals is caused by running away from one’s purpose in life. After self-discovery I came to a conclusion that art is a God-given talent and I decide I am going to pursue my calling.”  

The first portrait I did, he said, was of my Pastor and his wife, it led to a portrait of the Member of Parliament for Palapye, Moiseraela Goya, and the rest is history.

His latest piece was an artwork that was presented as a token of appreciation to the outgoing President Ian Khama at the village Kgotla where the President was bidding the community of Palapye farewell. Maforaga said his ambition is to leave a long lasting piece of artwork that will spiritually touch different souls and make a difference in the way people view life.

“I don’t have a clue what that piece will be but I am inspired by artists of all time such as Picaso and Da Vinci and like them I want to leave a lasting mark.” Maforaga has also rediscovered his Latin and American dancing art and he teaches dancing in two private primary schools in the village.

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