Beauty lights up Btv Tuesday nights


The replacement of Mareledi television drama with the comedy Beauty on Botswana Television has added some craze to the Tuesday 8:30 pm slot.

After a long day, families can now look forward to a relaxing time of non-stop laughter characterised by a comedy of errors and misunderstandings.  They watch as the main character, Beauty goes from pillar to post in search of fame and fortune.

While Beauty, the character played by Elsie Ntshonono, continues to steal the hearts of television viewers with her folly and pretentious ways, the creator of the comedy Afentse Lekolwane is happy to take the backseat.

“It does not matter if you do not mention me but the characters,” she says. She, however, deserves a commendation for her creativity and bravery. Ironically, Lekolwane has never received any training in the field of creative arts, but she has produced several movies, which have kept local audiences entertained.

Some of her films have broken into the international market. She graduated from the University of Botswana with a degree in Computer Science.  However, fate had other things in store for her.

Her passion for film got the better of her and she decided to open a production company called Botswood. Her very first production called Flat 101 scaled the bridges when Africa Magic snatched it a few months after release.

“I was very happy.  Though Solo B (Solomon Monyame) was instrumental in helping me land the deal, I still felt proud of myself,” Lekolwane tells Showbiz.

Her other productions include Definitions, currently showing on BTV, Ya Lenna Nigeria, Lepodisi La Sephiri, and Pelo Eja Serati.  Both Beauty and Definitions are relatively old productions despite only showing now on Btv.

“I did Definitions in 2004 while Beauty was released in 2007.  After initially being rejected by local television stations both productions were given the nod last year hence they are now showing on Btv,” Lekolwane explains.

Before it started showing on Btv, Beauty had already been broadcasted on both Mzansi Magic and Africa Magic. “It did not feel right because that is like singing a song in Setswana and only being appreciated by Americans, but I am happy that BTV has now accepted it,” she says. Lekolwane is now a full-time scriptwriter and producer, and says she has never contemplated finding a job in a computer related field. In fact, her heart is at peace with film production and she plans to produce more films in future.  “I sold one of my productions, Botshelo Jo to Btv so it should start showing in the near future.  I am also launching another one called Mpho Le Mphonyana on March 1 and I hope it will make it on the small screen,” she says. Lekolwane is not shy to accept blame for her faults in the productions saying she believes in growth and that criticism built her into a better producer.  For instance she acknowledges that some scenes in Beauty were unnecessarily prolonged and thus rendering them monotonous. She also admits to making a mistake by making Definitions an English production portraying a high life society. “Batswana are not happy with that and I understand. The other thing they do not like is the fact that there are issues of HIV/AIDS highlighted in the drama.  In fact, people are tired of stories about AIDS because almost every production focuses on that.  Going back to Beauty, I have to point out that some actors can make a good script look bad, while others can give the story some variation.  There were those kinds of challenges,” she says.

She has also received calls and messages from people complaining about the character of Masego, which is also played by Ntshonono in Definitions.

“I think people are used to her playing that character of a poor young woman who likes the high life. In Definitions she plays a sophisticated woman who speaks good English.  That is where the challenge is, but you obviously cannot ignore that kind of talent when you are working on a movie,” she says.

The self-taught producer is aiming high and recently returned from Namibia where she had gone to market her products.

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