At just 20 years, Pesalema Eutricia Motshodi is certainly on her way to stardom. A year ago one would have dismissed her as just another ordinary girl. She could sing but that is where it ended; in the private corners of her life where she practised. Acting was never even a consideration. Things have taken a dramatic positive turn for her. She is now the lead actor in the musical Moratiwa that is making waves in and outside Botswana. Pesa, as she is fondly called by those around her, says she knew that she could sing from a young age in school and always created extra time to practise her singing. She attended schools in Palapye, Gaborone and Okavango International School with her parents ensuring only the best for her.
She says things took quite a sore turn when she lost her 27-year-old brother whom they were very close. “My brother committed suicide, and with the guilt of not knowing why and whether I should have done something to help, I was crushed, but that made me want to be the best at anything that I had to do,” she says. Pesa concentrated in her singing and writing poems which was very therapeutic for her. She joined debating clubs in school and being very good in English, she excelled. In 2013 she took part in the Miss Earth Hour pageant and won. Though that was not something that excited her, she did the one pageant for her family because they have always believed in her and thought that she was even capable of becoming a Miss Botswana. She says she has always been athletic having represented Botswana in the under-16 basketball team.
Before she became Moratiwa, Pesa was not doing anything but rather waiting for her IGSCSE results. She heard about the auditions and went to Limkokwing University to audition without telling her closest associates. “I didn’t think I would be picked and when I got in I sang and I still thought they did not like my singing so I was very scared. After that I went outside and I cried,” she recalls. When she got home she talked to her sister who comforted her and assured her that she would be picked. It didn’t take long for her to get a call that changed her life forever. Things moved fast and soon she was in camp for the musical which has been on-going since February 29, 2016.
In the beginning the musical director Socca Moruakgomo made her sing turner but she asked to be put in soprano and she had to prove that she can indeed do it. “That was when they could tell that I can sing and with Sugie Fisher in soprano I knew I had to work as hard if I ever wanted to see myself singing soprano,” she says. In her quest of going to the top, Pesa began following Sugie wherever she went even to the shower where she usually sang. Soon she was elevated to the assistant soprano singer which presented her with the opportunity of leading when Sugie was not there. No one guessed that she was being groomed for the ultimate leading role. That was so because no one knew her acting capabilities; not even herself. Surprisingly when the main characters were picked, she did not have any part. Her ascendance began after they were tasked to write songs. That excited her a lot and that saw her finishing before anyone else. One of hers songs for the play is – ‘Aye Aforika’.
Her ambitions grew as she believed she could adequately deliver as the lead actor. “By this time everyone could tell what I was aiming for, and I even started calling myself Angelina Jolie. They used to make fun of me because I did not have experience,” she declares. But it was not always easy. In some days she would even pack her bags in readiness to go back home. Then came her lucky day; she was from the blue told to try her skill at acting the Moratiwa part. She had to transform from being the soft Pesa to the brave Moratiwa in order to be able to tell the story very well. “I had to lead in everything that I did. The character taught me so many things and I still have a lot to learn,” she says. She believes that their project can be a legacy that Botswana can hold dear as they have already gotten international bookings. She thanks her mother Mpotseng and everyone who supported and nurtured her passion and dream.