Meet the artists behind the facelift on the Main Mall

The zebra crossing steals the hearts of many


In preparation for the Forbes 30 Under 30 the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Culture commissioned artists to give the Main Mall a facelift as venue of the conference.
The Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit – the first on the African continent – took place in Gaborone and it moved to the tourism capital of the country, Kasane.
The idea was to present pleasant aesthetics for the participants who descend on Botswana from around the world last Sunday. “The artists’ brief was that we should use earth colours to decorate, mainly Lekgapho la Setswana, for the public art around the Main Mall,” said one of the artists engaged, Rodney Keitemoge, in an interview.
Keitemogwe’s art is a world of imagination, energy and a reflection of beauty projected visually. His primary inspiration comes from the dynamic nature of culture, the need to see how people perceive it and the experience brought forth through the innate mystery of colour.
“Lekgapho is our traditional way of using different earth tones to decorate buildings and other structures and I suppose this is one of the ways of telling our Botswana story to the world,” he said.
Twenty artists of different persuasions were engaged in the project. Fine, abstract and visual artists Ditshupo Mogapi, Malebogo Ranthotse, Michelle Motshedi, Resego Moletsane, Boemo Lunga, Goitseone Musonda, Charity Segaise, Tshwax Kebalepile, Onneile, Karabo Mlaudzi, Larona Modisane, Thato Khomela are among others who have created striking works of public art on the exterior of buildings and roads for greater aesthetic appeal.
The result of the artists’ collaborative efforts an explosion but gentle of agreeable sights in the city centre and less of the austere concrete that greeted to one of Gaborone oldest enclaves. From the way it is trending online to the delight of the artists, the Zebra Crossing across Independence Avenue between Civic Centre and the commercial side of the Mail Mall has stolen the hearts of many.
Keitemogwe, who first shared the artworks online, says they decided to do the zebra crossing artwork to the scale of the actual creature with black and white stripes that is the national animal of Botswana because of its consonance with the non-racial ethos of the nation and pluralistic outlook of the country.
“It took us about two weeks to complete these public art pieces,” he noted. “Most artists engaged are people who do art for a living. We are happy that Batswana warmed up to our works and want us to create more zebra crossing artworks across the city.”
Starting in Gaborone this week, the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit welcomed local performers, chefs and entrepreneurs, allowing patrons to experience the sounds, cuisine and staples of local culture and cuisine while engaging in networking and pitching opportunities.