This hunk is Katlego Banyatsi (23), the new face of Jack’s Gym. Thanks to his chiselled body, good looks and humble nature, the head model at X Models Agency is making strides in the local modelling and fashion industry. While Banyatsi concedes that there are several challenges besieging the modelling industry in our country, he is optimistic that the situation will improve with time and that the industry will be better appreciated. Banyatsi talks to Vibe about the ups and downs of modelling, and how determination has helped him reach his goals.
If Katlego Banyatsi were to take off his shirt, many ladies (and gents) would probably swoon over his sexy body. The gent is hot, and he knows it. Getting one’s body into tip-top shape is an art that requires a lot of self-discipline and commitment, and he bears testimony to this.
Banyatsi, who was recently unveiled as the new face of Jack’s Gym, is fast gaining traction as one of Botswana’s most esteemed male models. The software engineering student at Limkokwing University says that he only started working out in 2014. Within a year, his physique had transformed impressively to one that is toned, with defined muscles and flat hard abs.
The opportunity to model cropped up when he came across a social media post inviting aspirant models to join X Models Agency, owned by Leatile Motlhalamme. Banyatsi tried his luck and was selected. He is now the head model at the agency, which he gives credit for giving him a headstart. Banyatsi says that getting one’s body into perfect shape is no walk in the park and that is why many people fall off the radar when it comes to fitness and body sculpting. “In order to achieve anything, you need to be determined and put in the hard work.
It is important to have an end goal and work towards achieving it,” he says. Being strict with his diet and working out daily are sacrifices he makes to ensure that he is always in tip-top shape. To date, Banyatsi has modelled for Keno Suits and was the face of the Grand Palm wedding Expo last year. He also took to the runway at shows that include Grey Goose Fashion show, X Fashion show, X Models and FNB fashion show.
Most recently, he sizzled at the Presidential Competitions fashion shows, both regional and national. Banyatsi says that a lot of work goes on behind the scenes in modelling. “Models work with different people, and before the show, they are expected to go for measurements and fittings, attend rehearsals and choreography classes.” He says that the day of the event is often the most nerve wrecking.
“We are expected to be at the venue at least six hours prior to the show. After we have prepared ourselves we socialise with other models while waiting to be called up for make-up and the final fittings. Strutting your stuff in front of many eyes can be daunting but you get used to it.” Banyatsi is overwhelmed by the positive feedback that he has received since he started modelling. The money isn’t that bad either, he says, but hastens to add that there is room for improvement. “One can make the average salary of an employed Motswana for a day’s work.
It’s just that the industry here is still small and modelling gigs are few and wide apart; this makes it very difficult to live off modelling alone because the income is inconsistent.” Banyatsi admits that it is still early days to make modelling a full-time career in Botswana. He also bemoans how models are not taken seriously. “What we do is often not treated like work and models are often exploited.” Needless to say, he remains optimistic that this will change with time.
KUX DROPS LEFATSHE LENO
Hip-hop artist Kux has dropped a single dubbed Lefatshe leno, out of his latest EP titled That’s Me. The song is currently on high rotation on local radio stations and notable music platforms. In an interview with Vibe this week, Kuk said that he was pleased with the positive feedback to the song.
Born Kutlwano Kabelo Mokgatla in Selebi-Phikwe, 31-year-old Moshupa native, is also a composer and writer. He started his solo career in 1999. His first solo track, I Kicks It, was recorded by Young Sluggz and produced by Motswako Makaveli. He was still schooling in Johannesburg, South Africa then, and it was during this time that he got to interact with the likes of Zeus, KB and Samba T who he says are still some of his inspirations in the local music industry.
He recorded his second song Huskey with Loso and Lunatic in 2010. Lif Aman, produced by Skywalker Productions, recorded the song at Bazamele Records. In 2012 he put together a mix tape and worked with QBio and Uzzi among others. Last year he linked with GreedySkillz, which resulted in the introduction of long-time producer Lil Boi and signed onto his label Fiendz Music Records. “That is when we decided to fuse and create a dynamic apply named Motswako Palamente,” he recalls. Their track Shots played on Yarona FM for the first time in 2013. In 2014 he worked on a new EP titled L.I.F.E.S.T.Y.L.E ya mrepa.
The first single, Campus, featuring Saxxx, was released online and was downloaded more than a thousand times, and also featured on Yarona FM Hip hop show Headspace. In 2015 he recorded his second single Cough It Up featuring Jinx and Swazi Block. In 2016 he linked with Lanie and recorded and released a cover song titled R.I.C.O. originally done by Drake and Meek Mill, which raised heads for both of them. He later dropped his second mixtape, Phapha, which dropped later that same year. To wrap things up, he dropped BluChampagne. In 2017 he featured on Free, another single off Jinx mixtape. In 2018 he shot the video for BluChampagne and recorded a follow-up single titled CBD later the same year.
He says that he is working on more music individually and also wants to collaborate with local artists such as Apollo and Loosecat among others. He said he chose artists who he admires and has a strong following as this would also give him the vantage to extend into their markets. Kux also said that he is working towards a full studio album. He said he has international appeal and wants to create a brand that will be competitive globally.
“I dream of more than local awards…I aspire to clinch MTV and Grammy awards.” Earlier this year Kux was signed to Exclusive Media, which handles publishing, recording, vocal mixing mastering, recording, brand development, show outsourcing and general management. His management team explained that they are working hard to create a brand out of Kux and subsequently attract endorsements for him.
They said they had collaborated with several youth owned companies to help them build capacity and create seamless solid brands. “Through Exclusive Media, we have also created platforms for young artists, particularly those who are upcoming, to not only show them the ropes but also help them elevate their careers.”
MARUATONA PUBLISHES ABSTRAXTION BOOK
Oarabile Omaru Maruatona has published a book titled Abstraxtion, a collection of literary summaries. He recently explained to Vibe that an abstract in a literary sense is a summary of a larger text.
“The pieces I wrote are abstracts in both a literary and artistic sense. In this book, I take the reader through the exhibition of my abstracts, hence Abstraxion. This is a word I came up with, and it is as daring as the book itself is,” he said. He further said his context at the time he started writing is what got him to write in the first place. “In 2010, I decided to leave the best job I could ever have in Botswana, as a graduate with Debswana to return to Australia.
I had previously studied my bachelors’ degree in Australia on a Debswana scholarship. I probably had the best job any graduate could have at the time, and I spent it moving from one section of the mine to another until I had covered the entire mining value chain. As you can imagine, it was an amazing opportunity and I was getting paid for it. So to walk away from a gig like that, I had to think deeper about the new Australian opportunity, an industry PhD.
“This is a PhD that one does in collaboration with an industry entity who have a direct interest in the research or the research outcome. My PhD was in collaboration with one of the biggest banks in Australia and involved researching and developing Artificial Intelligence algorithms to be used in the bank’s Internet banking systems for security. So all this overwhelmed me and I felt like I was going insane at some point. I needed an occasional outlet. To reaffirm my sanity, I started writing short pieces, mostly reflecting on my experiences and learnings.
I have always been a keen reader and a conscious consumer of music so as I started to write, my musical, literary and other artistic tastes came together and the product was the unique style of writing and content found in Abstraxion.” Maruatona further noted that he first wrote the book for his sanity and intellectual freedom, and mostly because he loved it. “Over time, I realized my topics were always political, Africanist, philosophical and somewhat activist.
I resolved that if these pieces had to form a book, it had to inform and inspire the reader. I also knew that the book had to be on-point content-wise, style-wise and timewise. I wrote every piece when I had at least an hour to write, most pieces were written in between times, which is why the whole book took the duration of my PhD.
The book includes 45 pieces and I cover a range of topics including the state of Africa, the global economic system, climate change, personal introspection, old African legends and a few homages including one to women, one to my unborn child and another to the people who have enriched my life one way and another.” Maruatona noted that this book is for knowledgists: those who love and seek knowledge. “The book came from deep intellect but the philosophical notions shouldn’t scare the everyday reader. It is a book to be read, shared and discussed.”
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