Tshepang ‘Luckymore’ Kwapa was chased from home as a youngster yet he never gave up on life. His story has now been captured in an inspirational film through the support of Barclays Bank. His life journey was never an easy one and hence joined Stepping Stones international in 2012. As he did not perform well in Cambridge Kwapa did not qualify to go to university. His panel beater father wanted him to join him in the business. When he could not agree to work with his father, he was told to seek an alternative home. “That led me into trying to panel beat, but the more I did it, the more I realised how much I hated it,” he said. He was left with no other option but to leave the house because he tried to take part in the panel beating and it failed. With his leap of faith he took that risk, and his uncle in Mochudi gave him a house to stay since he was not there, but there was no food or any other thing. Kwapa relied on a loaf of bread to carry him through the week where he would divide it into portions that will last him a week. After hearing about Stepping Stones International, he joined to become a peer educator. Struggling to talk and contain his tears at the same time, Kwapa said it was at a retreat in Mokolodi that he saw his breakthrough. He was a very shy person, but when there with other kids, for once he felt a sense of belonging and it felt like he was home. He experienced genuine care, something that he hardly felt. It was there that he sang the song ‘You raised me up’ in an opera way, and from that moment everyone was amazed about his display of vocal talent because they never knew he had that in him.
Everyone got excited and he was even made to sing for those who were not there. This continued to shock many, and when the camp was over all he was wondering was what he was going to eat when he got home. He then took a picture of one staff at Stepping Stones and asked if he can draw her picture for P50. This earned him even more money. “For the first time I had money in my pocket and I could even buy myself shoes,” he said. He auditioned for My African Dream and qualified for the finals. During the finals he had no money on him, no clothes, and even had to walk to the venue. Since Barloworld was sponsoring the final, the finalists were driven in cars. He was the only one doing solo in the finals. Despite all the hair-raising challenges he came out as the overall winner and that was the shock of his life. “I did all my best; I sang from my heart and when I was singing I was thinking of my life journey,” he said. As emotional as it was, he was eventually the winner and with that he even got a courtesy call from the President and for once he experienced the world out there as people knew who he was. He was invited to the State House and with the President seeing how bothered he was; he asked him what he wanted. He told the President that he wanted to go to school. In no time he was admitted at Limkokwing University for Sound Design programme. Barclays gave him gigs to perform at their shows. He never thought the bank was profiling his journey because of its extra-ordinary nature. Kwapa continues to impact lives, and even has young people that he mentors. He might have got crooked and disappointed on the way but he eventually made it.
The Minister of Youth Empowerment., Sport and Culture Development Thapelo Olopeng said that the success of people like Kwapa is what they want and it is quite a humbling experience. He applauded Barclays for changing the lives of young people. “I have learnt a lot from this story, and don’t hate your dad, he motivated you and these are the results of what a God given talent can do. He made you attend the best university of life, or else you wouldn’t be here to share this story,” he said. Barclays Bank Botswana Managing Director Reinnete Van Der Merwe expressed excitement in the production of the film and the impact they have made on Kwapa. She said as a bank they have waited for the film with great anticipation. She said they have many programmes and partnerships that contribute to the education sector in Botswana because they want to expose Botswana’s talented youth especially with the creative arts. “Through the prosper films we want to encourage other Batswana to continue making a difference in the lives of those around them and this is the first film that has been produced across Africa,” she said.