He is the most sought after male model in Botswana at the moment. Emmanuel Mabedi Kayenda hails from Kasane. His tall, dark and great physique makes him stand out, with people at times assuming he is not a local. The 24-year-old revealed that his modelling career started while still a freelancer at Mass Media in 2013. He is an Occupational Health and Safety graduate, but media and modelling are putting food on his table at this moment. He was introduced to modelling when one of the BOPA photographers asked him to do an urgent modelling assignment. “In the beginning I refused to do it telling them that I was not gay but they forced me to do it. Kutlwano Magazine came out and a lot of people were very impressed about what they saw and encouraged me to consider modelling,” he said. Kayenda still resisted, only reluctantly relenting in few cases. After being registered to compete in the 2015 Presidential competitions and reluctantly taking to the ramp, he emerged on the pole position at national level. His life has never been the same since then.
This week it was not easy to pin him down for an interview. He was busy fitting clothes in different shops for the shoots that he is going to do. “Since becoming the best male model in the country my life has since flourished, I am always busy,” he said. The local model has also graced international stages in the prestigious Fashion Without Borders fashion show where top models around Africa come to walk the ramp. He still clinched the title as the top male model among the seasoned African models. Currently he is busy preparing for auditions with one of the prestigious model agencies Boss Models. An appointment was booked for him after he emerged the top male model at Fashion Without Borders. “I will be going there on the 10th of June,” he said. In the short time that he has been a model, he has made incredible impact that still surprises him. One of his best features on the ramp is his well-defined brows that look like they have been perfectly trimmed. These, he said, are all natural and one of his best assets that he used to take lightly. Upcoming models look up to him and he never wants to let anyone down. He shares with them what it takes to be good on the ramp. After realising that there are children who adore them to the extent of covering their books with their pictures, he decided to visit schools to inspire them. So far he has been to primary schools in Tlokweng.
Passion wins all
Kayenda has always attention – having played soccer to national team level for Under-17 and U-19 with only injury cutting his career short. Kayenda puts it to love for his tirelessness in pursuing many passions at the same time. “I love all these things. I worked in SA for a year in Occupational health and journalism and modelling seems to all work together,” he said. He attributed time management and discipline and the love for what he does as what makes him to be successful. He takes everything as it comes. He said challenges are there especially in Botswana because people seem not to understand the industry well and that is why even in local shops models are foreign because there are not many manufacturers in Botswana. He said one thing is that there are also not many Runaway shows for a model like him and urged companies to understand the role of models and stop using their officers in adverts and campaigns. “Sometimes local models do not take themselves seriously and end up settling for any pay. We should have a standard of pay,” he said. He thanked the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture for its support.