How a childhood love for television spurred a life-changing career

How a childhood love for television spurred a life-changing career

Zambezi Magic’s Date My Family Botswana producer, Onkabetse Reikeletseng, shares his journey in filmmaking

Gaborone, Botswana; Born and raised in Francistown, surrounded by grandparents, uncles, cousins, and siblings, Onkabetse Reikeletseng, or ‘Onx’ as he is more affectionately called, credits television as the constant that brought his family together daily and the inspiration behind the career that would later nourish and provide for him.

In 2018 when Zambezi Magic (DStv Ch 160) made a call for local production houses in Botswana to submit proposals for the production of Date My Family Botswana, a local version of the South African reality lifestyle romance television series which aims to help singletons find their love interest by setting them on dates with their potential partner’s closest friends and families, the intrigue and inspiration in television that hovered over Onx as a child brought him to submit a proposal to be part of this historical event for Botswana.

“As a child, watching TV was key to keeping the family together. My brothers became Karatekas from their love for Kung Fu movies. TV had a huge impact on our upbringing, and this is where I developed my interest in how TV works from a very young age,” says Onx when relaying his childhood experience. “When Zambezi Magic’s call for production companies came out, I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I could not turn away from, no matter how intimidating the magnitude of working on such a production seemed. Less than a month after submission, I received a call that our company had been selected to go ahead with the production.”

With the assistance of the 16 Batswana he employed directly and indirectly at Motion Blur, Onx managed to successfully deliver 13 episodes of Botswana’s first-ever home-grown reality dating show, much to the delight of not only local viewers, but regional viewers alike. “At MultiChoice Botswana, we are extremely passionate about not only empowering our own in the creative industry but also about telling local stories and allowing our people to flourish in this space,” remarked MultiChoice Botswana’s Corporate Affairs Manager, Thembi Legwaila. “Under the demands that come with satisfying requirements for the production of a franchise as popular as Date My Family, and with very little room for error, Onx rose to the occasion in a way that, as a business, made us incredibly proud. We live by the motto #ReMoteng, which represents our commitment to being a business that seeks to grow Batswana, and is invested in Batswana, and Onx is a stellar example of our attempts at bringing this to life.”

Since July 2019, when Date My Family Botswana launched on Zambezi Magic, Onx has continued to work on various other productions that will soon make their way to television screens. He credits his experience with the Zambezi Magic and M-Net family as being the root of some of the influential connections he’s made in the filmmaking business to date.

“I am currently working on a reality show as well as a cartoon show, which I am particularly excited for as it will be in our local language of Setswana. In all honesty, MultiChoice, Zambezi Magic, and M-Net taking a chance on a ‘kasi’ guy from the Ghetto made me realize that nothing is impossible, and I’m forever grateful to MultiChoice for that.”

Re-broadcasts of the first-ever season of Date My Family Botswana can be viewed on DStv’s new channel, Honey (DStv 173) on Wednesday’s at 18h00.