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Remembering Judas Judas…

Lekopanye Mooketsi
Popular Botswana Police Itshireletse television programme actor, Inspector Kenneth Baya Nkomo who was popularly known as “Judas Judas”, was a rare talent to hit Botswana’s television screens.

Nkomo was the lead actor in the popular Botswana Police edutainment television drama series, Itshireletse.  He became popular for acting crimes scenes as the perpetrator of crimes or even a conman.  Nkomo did his acting job so diligently that you would never have felt that he was a police officer. “I like playing parts when I am on the wrong side of the law.  They are really difficult to play,” Nkomo once told a local publication, Mahube magazine in an interview. 

One of the most popular episodes was when Nkomo was playing the role of a con  artist who was known as “Judas Judas”.

 In this show, the police were warning the public about an old scam in which con artists swindle people under the pretext that they will increase their money. 

The talented artist was in his element as they were claiming that they could double people’s money.  “Sesetere, ga ke go leba jaana ke bona mathata hela” (my sister when I look at you I see sorrow all over your face), would be his catch line as he was about to pounce on a potential prey.  Since that time, the name “Judas Judas” stuck to Nkomo and this is how many of his fans referred to him. 

Nkomo joined the TV cast crew when the police show was started in 2007.  They were never called for auditions like is the normal practice.  Nkomo was one of the actors who formed the Botswana Police drama group when it was still a pilot project. 

Nkomo himself spent the early part of his childhood in South Africa where his  Motswana father was working.  Nkomo’s father was married to a Mosotho woman. 

Nkomo started his primary school in Pimville Soweto.  When he

was growing up, Nkomo did not have to look far for inspiration.  The location where he was living in Soweto,  was littered with actors and musicians. He lived on the same street as the former member of Harare music band, Funky Mohapi. 

Living in the then apartheid South Africa had its own challenges according to the late artist.  “We had a shebeen and were the target of brutal policemen.  My grandmother was selling traditional beer.”

Nkomo started doing drama at nursery.  His family moved to Gaborone in 1984.  Since they relocated to Botswana, Nkomo and his family had always lived in Maruapula. 

When the family settled in Gaborone, Nkomo enrolled at Bosele Primary School to continue with his education.  He later proceeded to Gaborone Senior Secondary School where he completed his ‘O’ level  Certificate. 

 He would then work for his elder brother’s electrical company but later joined the police service. 

Nkomo was always passionate about drama. Growing up in South Africa exposed Nkomo to drama at an early stage. 

He was running a Marupula drama group known as Letsema Community Arts.  Nkomo once produced a video which was known as Masimo boy. It was about a Johnny who migrates to town and ends up with mixing with the wrong crowd.  The ultimate price he paid was five years in jail. 

Unbeknownst to many who watched him on TV screens, Nkomo was also an accomplished musician.  He was a member of the Botswana Police Band which is based at the Special Support Group (SSG) camp.  During his initial days as a police officer, Nkomo had his own band which used to feature at the defunct Nightshift nightclub in Broadhurst.  As a musician, Nkomo handled both the bass and rhythm guitars.


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