Afentse Lekolwane is a film producer, writer and director, whose passion for filmmaking has been putting Botswana on the map.
Lekolwane has been in the film business since 2003, producing Botswana’s first television drama Flat 101. Owner of two companies, Flave Productions and Botswood, she has sold her productions to international markets. They have screened on BTV and South Africa’s Mnet channel, as well as distribution through DVD sales in large Botswana retail outlets.
Lekolwane is self-taught and driven by passion. “I decided to go into the film industry because I was tired of admiring the South African film industry. There were no opportunities in my country, so I decided to spearhead the industry. Like most young people, I was interested in acting but then there was nobody hiring, since there were no films or TV dramas being produced here,” she says.
“I learned everything I know about the craft on the job”. Although the production quality was poor at first, she was never discouraged but pressed on, attending a great deal of scriptwriting training,“until I produced content that is worth watching”.
Since 2003, Lekolwane has worked on a total of 11 dramas, including Flat 101, Botshelo Jo and the movie Mpho le Mphonyana. Lekolwane says that she employed over 500 local actors in these productions, and many of the technical crew were also locals.
Her Flave Productions company produces both short films and movies, and “Botswood” was set up to bring the film industry together. The aim is not just to focus on her own work, but open up the space for filming scripts written by other talents.
Her advice for those who want to follow in her footsteps? “Talent and education must both reflect in a man’s bank account. Some people are educated and feed themselves from their education. For us who are not educated, let us not take our God-given talents for granted: they have the power to feed us for a lifetime.”
On comparing Botswood to Bollywood or Nollywood standards of generating entertainment for a global market, Lekolwane states that anything is possible. “I think we have stories to tell, and we do have great actors here. Our grandparents spent time ba re thabela mainane (storytelling), it’s just a matter of packaging the stories for the international market.”
EMAIL: [email protected]