Donald Molosi

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Donald Molosi
Donald Molosi in 2013.jpg
Donald Molosi in 2013
Born Donald Leungo Gosego Molosi
(1985-12-11) December 11, 1985 (age 32)
Mahalapye, Botswana
Alma mater Williams College, University of California Santa Barbara
Occupation
  • Actor
  • Writer
  • Playwright
Years active 2002–present

Donald Leungo Gosego Molosi, (born 11 December 1985) is a Botswanan actor, writer and playwright. Molosi debuted off-Broadway in 2010 as Philly Lutaaya in Today It’s Me[1] making him the first Motswana to perform off-Broadway.[2] In 2011, Molosi won the Best Short Solo Award at United Solo Theatre Festival for his performance as Seretse Khama in Blue, Black and White.[3] In 2013, Molosi returned off-Broadway to perform Motswana: Africa, Dream Again.[4] He played supporting roles in the following historic films, A United Kingdom (2016) and Given (2009). As a playwright, Molosi has published a collection of his original off-Broadway plays, which include We Are All Blue,[5] Blue, Black and White[5] and Motswana: Africa, Dream Again[5] in 2016.

Education[edit]

Molosi attended Williams College in United States where he graduated with a double-major Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and Political Science.[6] He holds a Diploma in Classical Acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art,[7] and a Master of Arts degree in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara.[8]

Early life and background[edit]

Donald Molosi was born in Mahalapye, Botswana in 1985[9] and attended Maru a Pula School in Gaborone, Botswana before continuing his education in London and the United States of America. From a young age, Molosi demonstrated a natural performance flair and by age 16, he was already touring with arts festivals which include the Maitisong Festival Gaborone, Botswana with The Company Maitisong, where Molosi was also co-writing plays,[10] and National Arts Festival,[11] Grahamstown, South Africa. Molosi made a radio and television appearances at a young age becoming the youngest person on the airwaves as a radio announcer at Yarona FM.[9] He also partnered with UNICEF as a child presenter on Botswana Television during the UN International Children’s Day of Broadcasting.[9] This resulted in a short stint at Radio Botswana 2 (RB2) under the tutelage of radio veteran, One Rabantheng.[11]

Molosi wrote and staged his first solo performance Fragments (2002) [10] directed by renowned Motswana director Gao Lemmenyane at 17. Fragments is based on children’s rights in Botswana. With the critical acclaim that Fragments earned, Molosi got invited to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children and he had a grand performance of the same play with world leaders such as former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and former South African President Nelson Mandela in attendance.[11] Molosi took the Fragments message further to advocate for children’s rights through his poetry exhibition, Can I Live? (2002) based on his interpretation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.[11] For his stellar and outstanding efforts in performances, Molosi received the Sir Seretse and Lady Ruth Khama Brilliant Spirit Award (2003) by His Excellency Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama.[11] While in High school at Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut in 2005, Molosi was one of the two lead vocalists in the acappella group Eccedoce and he starred in regional theatrical productions You Can’t Take It With You and The Misanthrope.[11]

By the time Molosi turned 18, he had decided to move to United States and was shortly enrolled at Williams College, America’s leading Liberal Arts College in Williamstown, Massachusetts to pursue two Bachelor’s Degrees both in Theater and Political Science. His passion in arts and performances culminated in a thesis that showcased the exhibition of poetryEmbodied, which features the paintings of Stefan Elrington and Maya Lama. Molosi later studied under Academy-Award winner Janet Suzman at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) where he earned his Graduate Diploma in Classical Acting. Molosi is an ambassador for Brand Botswana.[12]

Career[edit]

Molosi has won several regional, national and international awards as a playwright, actor and writer.[13] In addition to Molosi's early awards, he won Best Actor at the Dialogue One Festival in Massachusetts for his portrayal of Sir Seretse Khama 2008;[citation needed] the Sanford Prize for Excellence in Theater 2009[citation needed] and the 2009 Florence Chandler Fellowship,[citation needed] which enabled him to conduct theater research around the world for 12 months.[13][dead link]

In 2010 Molosi returned to New York’s off-Broadway where he successfully staged four solo shows including Blue, Black and White about the life of Seretse Khama that earned Molosi Best Actor Award in 2011 and Today It’s Me[14] about the life of Uganda’s music superstar where he got the Robert Potter Playwriting Award.[12] Molosi was also a headliner at the 2015 Writivism Festival in Uganda where he graced the occasion with yet another outstanding performance of Today It's Me to the delight of his numerous audience at the event. He was equally a Writivism mentor for emerging African writers in 2015.[15] Motswana Africa, Dream Again earned Molosi a publication deal by Mantle Books for We Are All Blue, Motswana: Africa, Dream Again and Blue, Black and White in 2012.[16] Molosi's Broadway credits include Motswana: Africa, Dream Again (2012) and Damn Yankees (2004). His hollywood engagements which are not limited to A United Kingdom 2016 with David Oyelowo,[16] Given 2009, Green Zone (2007) with Academy-Award winner Matt Damon and Breakfast in Hollywood (2006) with award-winning actor Paul Boocock of Law & Order [9] is expanding his acting career.

Donald Molosi with a colleague on the set of A United Kingdom in Moralani Botswana

In a 2012 interview with the BBC, Molosi described his work as “critical love letters” to humanity.[9] The New York Times has considered Molosi’s acts as “inflamed with passion,” especially his captivating portrayal of a Ugandan child soldier in his one-man show,No Idea 2010.[9] Molosi won the 50 Golden Jubilee under 40 Awards organised by Gabz FM and Mail & Guardian in 2016 for his stellar contribution to the Nation for Arts and Culture. He was also honoured in 2014 as one of the 40 most influential people under 40 in Botswana in St. Louis 40 Under 40 List for his Blue, Black and White play. Blue, Black and White stands according to Botswana Guardian as the longest running one man show in the history of Botswana.[16] Similarly, Molosi was honoured by the National University of Taiwan and the Federation of European Carnival Cities.

The accolades of Blue, Black and White is ever expanding as Molosi reprised his role as Sir Seretse Khama off-Broadway in November 2014 where he was honoured for his contributions to off-Broadway’s United Solo, the world’s largest solo theatre festival.[16] Currently in Africa, Molosi's Blue, Black and White play is being performed in arts festivals in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Molosi runs his own theatre company called Folktale Theatre Company, premised on giving Batswana youth a creative outlet[17] and he has been dedicated to promoting GAMBIT: Newer African Writing, an anthology of African short stories in which Molosi’s Back To Love is published.[9] Additionally, a New York City publishing company, Mantle Books has published Molosi's anthology. His anthology has earned the praises of renowned African writers such as Chika Unigwe and Helon Habila.[9]

Molosi's Documentary "We Are All Blue" premiered[18] on Africa Day, on May 25, 2017. The following day it debuted throughout Africa on Multichoice DStv. This documentary carries the last televised interview with the late former President of Botswana Sir Ketumile Masire. The documentary has since premiered at Ditshwanelo Human Rights Festival 2017[19] and made its debut in the cinema on August 17, 2017 in conjunction with the Dalai Lama's first visit to Botswana. The conference was about Ubuntu/Botho, an African way of life that the documentary explores in modern Botswana.[20]

Molosi wrote We Have Known Ironies piece in Saraba Magazine in 2011 to shed light on African diversity through multiple narratives that debunk the misconception of Africa as a monolithic block.[21] Molosi delivered a keynote address at Bucknell University Pennsylvania’s Black History Month on the theme of Postcolonial African Performance as an Archive in 2012. In January 2017, Molosi's "Dear Upright Africa"[22] was published online and it called for the inclusion of African history in the African classroom. In March 2017, he was invited to TEDxGaborone[23] where he expanded his grand idea of African History inclusion in school curriculum starting from Botswana and extending across Africa. Subsequently, he officially delegated the Upright African Movement on August 19 in Gaborone, Botswana during the Mind and Life Dialogue with the 14th Dalai Lama.[20] The Upright African movement is a campaign to raise awareness about the absence of African history in the African classrooms.[22] Through inter-generational dialogue with leaders, influencers and members of the public in Africa and around the world, the movement seeks to facilitate the necessary conversations and actions toward the ideal of a liberated African curriculum.[24]

Molosi is a polyglot with fluency in Setswana, Swahili, French and English. He is conversational in Zulu and Ndebele, and understands Kalanga.[9] He picked a bit of Tamil and Hindi while at Tamilnadu India as a summer teacher of theatre for children with disabilities.[9] In addition to writing and acting, Molosi sings and writes songs.[9]

Theatre[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2003 Fragments Multiple also Writer
2008 Blue, Black and White Seretse Khama also Writer
2010 Today It's Me Philly Lutaaya also Writer
2012 Motswana: Africa Dream Again Multiple also Writer
2017 Tumultuous Not in U.S. also Writer
2017 Yaguine and Fode project Yaguine -
2017 Black Man Samurai Director Also Writer

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2016 A United Kingdom Supporting Role
2009 Given Supporting Role
2007 Green Zone Supporting Role
2006 Breakfast in Hollywood Supporting Role

Awards and honors[edit]

Year Award Category/Work Result
2016 50 Golden Jubilee under 40 Awards Gabz FM and Mail & Guardian "Contribution to the Nation for Arts and Culture" Won
2015 Short Story Day Africa Prize [25] "Beetroot Salad" Won
2015 Bessie Head Short Story Awards "The Biggest Continent" Won
2015 United Solo Theatre Festival Special Mention Honor "Actor with the most off-Broadway solo appearances since 2010" Honoured
2014 KBL St Louis Top 40 Under 40 Awards[26] "The 40 most influential young people in Botswana" Honoured
2014 Federation of European Carnival Cities "Best International Performer" Won
2013 Dilling Yang Prize [27] "Excellence in Playwriting" Won
2012 Robert Potter Playwriting Award "Today It’s Me" Won
2011 United Solo Theatre Festival The coveted Best Actor Award "Blue, Black and White" Won
2011 United Solo Theatre Festival Best Solo Award off-Broadway "Blue, Black and White" Won
2009 Ruth Scott Memorial Prize in Theatre "Excellence in Theatre" Won
2009 Florence H. Chandler Fellowship "Excellence in Theatre" Won
2009 Dialogue ONE Festival Massachusetts Best Actor "Blue, Black and White" Won
2009 Sanford Prize "Excellence in Playwriting" Won
2003 Khama Brilliant Spirit Prestigious Presidential Award] "Contribution to the arts in Botswana" Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ MOLOSI GETS RECOGNISED ON BROADWAY Sunday Standard. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  2. ^ Molosi reflects about his role in Khama’s film Botswana Unplugged. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  3. ^ Blue,Black and White United Solo. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Motswana United Solo. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Donald Molosi Amazon. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Donald Molosi - Biography IMDb'.' Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  7. ^ Donald Molosi - Biography IMDb. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  8. ^ Arts and Culture- Donald Molosi Mail & Guardian. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Interview with Donald Molosi Indie Activity. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  10. ^ a b A piecing together of fragments Mmegi Online. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e f The immortal story teller The Voice. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  12. ^ a b 10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT DONALD MOLOSI Botswana Youth. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Donald Molosi Indie Theater Now. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  14. ^ Donald Molosi (Clips from Today It's Me) YouTube. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  15. ^ Writivism Mentors Writivism. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d Donald Molosi’s winning plays captured in one volume Botswana Guardian. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  17. ^ The immortal story tellerThe Voice. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  18. ^ We Are All Blue coming to DStv DStv. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  19. ^ Annual Ditshwanelo Film Fesitval Underway Sunday Standard. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Renowned actor Donald Molosi in dialogue with Dalai Lama Weekend Post. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  21. ^ GAMBIT (THE ART OF CREATING) NO. 3 - DONALD MOLOSI The Mantle. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  22. ^ a b Dear Upright Africa The Patriot. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  23. ^ Dear Upright Africa YouTube. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  24. ^ Molosi to advocate for African History inclusion before the Dalai Lama The Botswana Gazette. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  25. ^ The 2015 Short Story Day Africa Prize Short Story Day Africa. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  26. ^ Arts and Culture - Donald Molosi Mail & Guardian. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  27. ^ From Botswana to Hollywood with love Botswana Unplugged. Retrieved September 13, 2017.

External links[edit]