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Disabled jazz artist aims for greatness

TUMELO MOUWANE
LOBATSE: Lobatse new jazz sensation, who is also living with disability, Kealeboga Ross has persisted against the odds and vowed to reach greater heights in her music career.

The 33-year-old Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies (GIPS) graduate was born fully physically abled. In 2009 she was diagnosed with arthritis that incapacitated her leading to the use of a wheelchair.

Her commitment, perseverance and determination towards becoming one of Botswana’s finest jazz artists, however, tell a different story. Ross, also a gospel artist, says her love for the arts started way back during her primary school days but her first album was recorded in 2017.

The album, titled Pula E Nele, comprises of songs such as Africa that has been developed around the concept of challenges faced by African women and men.

The title track Pula E Nele is contextualised around the success of an African child who respects no limits despite growing up from humble beginnings. She says the song intends to encourage the African child to know that there is potential.

Ross said she was introduced to professional arts in 2008, shortly before she was diagnosed with arthritis.

“I started the arts in 2008 when I first arrived in Lobatse. I began with theatre but fell in love with music along the way. I continued with theatre and competed in constituency competitions.

“I have already undergone four year study at Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies and completed my Diploma. I enrolled in the Tirelo Sechaba programme. My love for gospel and jazz music reached greater heights at the time. I then saved some money from my little salary

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to pay for recording. I wanted to come with something very unique, especially that jazz is still growing locally.

“I thank God because he made wonders for me. The producer I met, Joel Seleka encouraged me to push further against the odds despite living with disability.

“He liked my voice and saw potential in me. I didn’t even have to pay for recording the album. He encouraged me not to give-up and even up to now he still has my back and keeps on giving me the courage to carry on amidst the challenges,” she said.

The eloquent toned artiste said disability sometime tends to limit people saying one must fight against the odds to realise her goals.

“I am new in the industry and this is my first album. I am very hopeful that I can reach greater heights. I am not afraid to meet and mingle with those who are living normal lives and work further on my talent. You need to believe in what you are doing,” she said.

Ross said her album is contextualised around the challenges faced by African people.

“I am looking at challenges faced by the African woman. The album reflects all the challenges faced by women in Africa.

I have another song which talks about African challenges faced by both men and women in their own continent, challenges in Africa are persistent and in the song we look to God,” he said.



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