Meet Motswetla, the Artist Behind Hippos of Botswana Commemorative Stamps

  • Hippopotamus in Botswana is her second work commissioned by BotswanaPost after the Mandela in Botswana series of 2021


Visual artist Itumeleng Motswetla’s creativity and skill take centre stage to celebrate the country’s ecological tapestry in BotswanaPost’s latest “Hippopotamus in Botswana” Commemorative Stamp Issue.

She created a total of five realistic oil painted artworks featuring three stamps, one Souvenir Sheet and one First Day cover.

“We started in July and completed the paintings over the course of a month with breaks in between to share progress with the BotswanaPost team and stamp advisor, Mavius Brown,” she told Time Out.

Inspired by tourism

“Working with them was such a pleasure because my creative freedom was not limited and they guided me through the process, commending and giving constructive feedback.”

“Hippopotamus in Botswana” celebrates the country’s thriving wildlife, especially the hippos that grace the majestic Chobe River and the iconic floodplains of the Okavango Delta.

Motswetla says her artworks were inspired by Botswana’s tourism from her visits to the tourist towns of Kasane and Maun. It was at these tourism havens that she got to see and experience life in the wild, surrounded by greenery, water and wildlife. “That is a sight I will never get enough of,” she told Time Out.


“It was nice to step out of my comfort zone and explore painting landscapes which, oddly enough, I don’t usually do. So next time I travel I’ll surely be taking pictures for me to paint and explore my art as a direct reflection of the lifestyle I enjoy.”

A considerable milestone

“Hippopotamus in Botswana” is Motswetla’s second work commissioned by BotswanaPost after her first Mandela in Botswana stamp issue of 2021. She says working with BotswanaPost for the second time was a considerable milestone in her professional career as an artist.

Her work will still be around for years from now and will not only be recognised and seen across Botswana but globally when people send letters abroad or when stamp collectors, agents and vendors buy stamps for various uses.

“I will always be grateful to BotswanaPost for giving creatives a chance and supporting local talent,” she said. “I encourage my fellow creatives to submit their profiles to the BotswanaPost’s philatelic museum at Poso House for consideration.

“Anything is possible”  

“Anything is possible. Always give yourself a chance to surprise yourself by doing projects that intimidate you. That’s where our growth and breakthrough is hidden.”

“Hippopotamus in Botswana” is the post office’s second commemorative stamp issue of 2023 created in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mokolodi Nature Reserve and Desert and Delta Safaris.