My name is Gorata Bontle Kgafela. I am 40 years old. I am the Managing Director of GBK Architects which I founded in 2008. I grew up in Gaborone, studied Architecture in St. Louis and Miami, and just recently completed my Masters of Business Administration in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am a Mokgatla at heart; Mochudi is the land of my mother.
DJ LEXY J: I’d like to know your relationship with music, when did the love begin? How far back can you remember?
KGAFELA: I consider music to be the soundtrack of one’s life. We are born into it and it begins the journey of our lives. I can remember as far back the songs we sang at Sunday school to the chorale music we sang at school. This may not be deemed mainstream music per se, but that is where as a child my soul connected with song and with the poetry of lyrics. In my more conscious adult life, the significance of music, and lyrical poetry grew when I started listening to and understanding the music of legends such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Michael Jackson. I was introduced to the Dave Matthews band (a South African-band based in the US) by a classmate and was immediately hooked on their artistic play with words.
DJ LEXY J: What kind of music do you love and how often do you indulge yourself?
KGAFELA: As you can tell I have an eclectic choice of music. I am not bound to any specific genre. I love performing arts and some of my favourite artists are theatrical. I also love music that is relevant to the times or that is timeless and thus always relevant. At the top of my list are Michael Jackson, Madonna, Rihanna, Pink, Queen and U2. I also have a love for the romance languages; you’ll find me listening especially to Spanish ballads or Italian Classicals. I buy music anytime I’m moved to. It can be 1 or even 5 CDs at a time, it just depends on how I am feeling. I also enjoy music concerts and musicals. I’m a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webb’s Phantom of the Opera and Evita.
DJ LEXY J: How has music influenced your life over the years?
KGAFELA: As an Architect, I constantly seek that connection with my soul to spark the creative process. There are always some lyrics in my head when I’m working. I also find that music guides me when I need encouragement. Music has the potential to take us into a fantasy world where we can re-create. I admire artists such as Madonna and Rihanna who are not afraid to go against the grain. I’m a firm believer in staying relevant and aware of ‘l’esprit du temps’.
DJ LEXY J: Does the music you listen to now differ from what you listened to growing up?
KGAFELA: It’s very interesting because now I find myself coming full circle. Some of the music I used to listen to while growing up, I now listen to with my kids. A few years ago we discovered my 8-year-old son’s talent. He is a big fan and dance impersonator of Michael Jackson. My 11-year-old daughter is excited about the Spice Girls.
DJ LEXY J: Can you think of any particular music/song that you associate a memory, mood, or place with?
KGAFELA: I actually have several. When I was crowned as Ms. Rag while studying at University of Botswana, my winning song was Michael Jackson’s Human Nature. That song remains my winning song to date. My wedding song is another one. “Let it be me” by Julio Iglesias. Bob Marley’s Redemption Song takes me to the tiny island of Jamaica and the tenacity of its people, and their spirit of survival. I’ve visited a friend there before and it is a place I hold dear in my heart. This is the song that helps me to stand tall as a black professional woman in business knowing that a free mind is a winning mind. My favourite quote is that “Genius has no race. Strength has no gender. Courage has no limit’’
DJ LEXY J: What is your all-time favourite song(s)?
KGAFELA: Human Nature (1); Redemption Song (2); and Fools Die (3).
DJ LEXY J: Who is your all-time favourite Artist, and why?
KGAFELA: You must have seen this one coming. The genius that is Michael Jackson! He was above all, a performer, and he gave himself the permission to be free and to push boundaries.
DJ LEXY J: What’s on your playlist and how do you choose the music that goes onto it?
KGAFELA: I’m currently listening to Rihanna, Pink, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, The Chain-smokers and Nathi. The playlist is a collaboration between me and the kids.
DJ LEXY J: So long, have yourself a super duper day!