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Morokotso’s robotics dreams ignite through Kajumo

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Project Kajumo robots
Like other young person who dream big and aspire for the finer things in life, Kabelo Morokotso has set his eyes on his first love-robots.

Having developed an enduring love for robots at a tender age, Morokotso decided to follow his heart, in the process turning his dream into reality.

Botswana’s first robot statue maker’s passion to design and build robots was inspired by science fiction robot movies.

In an interview with Arts & Culture, Morokotso said he started building his first robot in 2013 when his sons asked him to build them a robot after watching an American science-fiction monster film titled Pacific Rim.

“I have always loved robots since I was young. I always watched robot movies such as Robocop back in the 1990s. Just like any young person, I had to look at a few things after my sons asked me to make them a robot. I asked myself if I would be able to make it. I then realised that it was not just a talent but also a God-given gift that I could not run away from. I always knew that it would haunt me if I don’t fulfill it,” he said.

Finally, in 2016, Morokotso finally decided to fulfill his calling. Just like other artists, the journey was not been easy. He faced daunting man-sized obstacles for someone of his tender age.

Living in a remote area where there is either a shortage of or no jobs,was one of them.

But the young Mokgatla man who lives at Malotwana in Mochudi decided to take up piece jobs so as to put aside some money he earned.

As if that was not enough, he had to contend with poor roads, lack of transport to move his materials from stores to Malotwana.

Transport was his biggest problem as vehicular traffic was as sporadic as Botswana’s rainfall during climate change.

That meant a journey to Malotwana wasted a lot of hours transporting his artifacts.

Currently he said he works under a tree in an open space because he does not have a workshop where he could work from.

“I worked on Project Kajumo from 2016 till 2017. About 90% of Robot Kajumo is made of new materials.  I only took about 10%

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from the scrap yard.  I used to think that scrap yards were cheap only to realise that they were actually prohibitive. They buy metals from us cheaply, but when we want to buy materials from them, they sell them to us expensively.  Those people rob us because they sell their steel at higher prices in South Africa.

To convince them to sell to you, you have to buy at a higher price,” he said. Morokotso purchases  most his materials from local retailers such as Builders World, Steel Junction and others.

Against all odds, due to his perseverance and dedication to his work, Morokotso spent sleepless nights on turning his dream into a reality.

He also pointed out that Batswana have received his art with open arms. He said his work was critically acclaimed abroad, especially in China as well as leading European countries. He said he takes pride in seeing his country celebrating his work.

However, he pleaded with the government and the private sector to sponsor him to advance his studies.  He said he would love to learn advanced robotics, advanced shelling and Robotic Coding, which are taught in mostly developed countries.

Morokotso is currently working on Robot Kajumo cartoon animations that have two characters, a giant black and lime robot and a black and red robot. 

The characters are named after his children. These cartoons will be Botswana’s first animation movie.  He will be using the current robots as a landmark to show his fans the cartoon.

He believes that despite his educational background (being a Junior Certificate holder) he has the ability to change the local creative industry and create jobs.

He called on sponsors to come forth and support his work so that he could build more robots and use them to decorate Botswana.

He called on young people to never give up if they do not make it academically and use their God-given talents. He added that everyone has a special talent therefore should be encouraged to work on theirs so that they can help can make Botswana a better place.



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