His voice commands attention and it is this ability to draw and hold attention that makes us feel so connected to him whenever he's on screen.
When one sees Brian Dioka on TV, it is easy to admire his talent, vibrancy and charisma. Indeed the young man has made a mark for himself: his face is instantly recognisable as one of the most popular newsreaders/presenters in Botswana. In spite of all the attention and his soaring career, he remains a charming and down-to-earth person.
Born and raised in Gaborone, Dioka spent his childhood at the Mogoditshane BDF camp.
He describes the place as an area with a lot of protection, something which came with a lot of advantages as they were lucky enough to enjoy the perks of being soldier's children, like free transportation to school.
As a child, Dioka loved listening to music and imitating his favourite artists. He describes himself then as an inquisitive child who had a very active mind but was very shy. "I felt comfortable around people if I was not by myself. I never thought of myself being in the spotlight because I always camouflaged well in a crowd and mostly kept to myself," he recalls of his childhood personality.
It's almost every boy's dream to be like their father, especially if they grow up under his roof. This was the case with Dioka who grew up admiring his father. "I wanted to be a soldier like my dad but he didn't like the idea and instead encouraged me to be a lawyer," he tells Arts & Culture .
After completing his Cambridge, Dioka was accepted at University of Botswana to study Pastoral Theology. He later opted to pursue a Bachelor of Sciences in Animal production at University of Bophuthatswana in Mafikeng. He tells Arts & Culture that his aunt, a nurse, influenced this decision when she told him that this career at the time was not popular in Botswana thus ensuring many job offers after he would complete his studies. After a few months, Brian finally took his father's advice and changed his course to law, studying for a degree in human rights law at the same university. Upon completion, he decided to further his knowledge of law and pursue another course in the law department studying Media law and English at University of Port Elizabeth. It was here that Dioka got his first taste of media: "I only did some introductory course in Journalism and I fell in love with it."
He returned to Botswana and went to audition at Gabz fm to be a radio presenter. Unfortunately, luck was not on his side and he was never called back. On his way home, he stopped at RB2 and demanded to speak to the station manager whom he tried to convince to give him a chance. He was not convinced, instead offering him a public relations (PR) job as the position was vacant. He remembers the day well as he saw some of the big guys in the entertainment industry going in and out. "I saw the likes of Emax, Bonnie, Thabiso Nasha and others. I told myself that one day am going to be like them," he said.
Finally, an advert looking for an RB2 presenter was released; Dioka applied but came third in the auditions. After a month, another presenter left the station so his slot had to be filled. "I went for auditions again and this time God was smiling on me as I got in," he excitedly tells Arts & Culture. This is where he first found fame.
He started presenting a 6-9pm show called Summer Breeze then he later moved to a 9pm-12 slot on weekdays; this show was called Night Paradise. It was in mid-July when the young man received a call from Btv News for a news reading position. "The call shocked me because I had long applied for the position," related Dioka. Even though radio was his dream job, he decided to take the offer as it was a permanent offer, little did he know that this move was what would propel him to stardom.
Being at work during the day meant that Dioka now had to move from a weekday radio slot to a weekend slot where he hosted a 12-3pm show called Weekend Chillers.
April 1st is Dioka's birthday, but it also marks one of his greatest moments on TV as he landed a presenting job on the Btv Breakfast Show in 2008. While other shows resuscitate their dwindling popularity by changing presenters, throughout the years Dioka has remained a part of the morning crew. It could only mean one thing: he's doing something right.
As a child, he grew up with a living room filled with pictures of important people on the wall; "because the BDF commander was Mompati Merafhe, our wall had the posters of him and it was through this show that I had the opportunity to interview the man himself. It was the highlight of my career interviewing the person I always saw on our wall," he tells Arts & Culture.
He is quick to point out that people do not usually recognise him off-screen as he is lighter in complexion, shorter and a bit slimmer in real life. His most embarrassing moment on radio was when he uttered a swear word (the f-word), adding he nearly lost his job because of this. As for an embarrassing moment on TV? He remembers the day he read the English news bulletin in Setswana.
Dioka was also a lecturer at Limkokwing University, teaching broadcasting and radio.
As far as career development is concerned, he says he sees himself doing something behind the scenes five years from now or helping discover new talent in Botswana.
Despite the many obstacles Dioka faces, he remains strong. To say this 30-something old man is talented is an understatement.