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The movie that is Ndinaye Chengeta’s life

The movie that is Ndinaye Chengeta’s life
April 19
10:17 2018

Film maker has seen ups, downs and in-betweens

VINCENT MATUMO

 Ndinaye Chengeta’s road to becoming the foremost film maker in the country in the last decade is a story that holds indelible lessons on the value of planting positive energies and creating opportunities for other people.

His big break in 2010, was facilitated by a chance meeting with a stranger in a combi, a white man only referred to as Steve. No amount of coercion could make him talk more about Steve except to say he is a locally based businessman. This would be benefactor to Chengeta, the businessman who had no money on him to board a combi after his vehicle had suddenly developed a mechanical problem. Chengeta offered to pay for the man with his last little money. In the short conversation that Chengeta and Steve held, no names were exchanged or even contact numbers. Chengeta however, regaled the stranger about his dream to become a prominent film maker in future.

A short while later, the mystery benefactor, would see Chengeta in the newspapers, announcing the premiere of his movie Four Thirty. Steve arranged with somebody to bring Chengeta to his office and he offered to make his dream come true. “I went into the boardroom and there sitting waiting for me was the man I had assisted in a combi only five months back.”

Though he was denied a chance to go and study film with other compatriots, who received scholarships, his film production came right to his doorstep, when a certain Norman Moloi came to shoot the much loved Thokolosi drama in his building at Gaborone International Commerce Park.

The building that housed Chengeta’s Boy Productions had just been partitioned to create some income after an innovative business venture with Chengeta’s brother had gone belly up. “I don’t believe there is witchcraft but I know there is bad luck and I always overcome that with resilience, coming ten times stronger,” he beams confidently.

Chengeta used the momentum created by his first movie to meet with the directors of the radio show, Makgabaneng, which was run by NACA and subsequently offered to turn the radio drama into film. That is how the television series, Mareledi, was born in 2012, with a target of 52 episodes for Botswana Television.

“We won that tender because we had the product in our hands and that was of advantage; however the tender was recalled and we tendered again, this time winning because we had made the lowest bid, not because we were the best,” he revealed. But the tender was cancelled a second time after CBP had incurred massive production costs already. Chengeta decided to let it go and not seek legal remedies. He makes a startling claim that NACA took his concept, together with all his workers. He had to start all over again.

“The same week we lost Mareledi, I was called to do adverts for BTC, then came BonaLife and so on, and we were back in business,” Chengeta said.

Though he claims not to be rich, Chengeta lives the life as his film making exposes him to the finer things, with Ferraris, Benzes, private jets in the mix, all this due to the filming work he does for his clients.

In between film making and having a taste of what riches entail, Chengeta runs a farm near Molepolole, where he offers prospective poultry and livestock farmers his facilities to use at agreed fees.

“Because of the relationships built over time, with patience and stumbling blocks along the way, word of mouth referrals help me to stay in business,” he said, adding that if you are humble, many people will relate with you and support you. “Don’t cause chaos and respect your competitors. I respect Thabiso Maretlwaneng so much but we play in different fields as we focus on the risky private sector as opposed to Government tenders.”

In yet another twist of fate, he received a Facebook communication from an overseas based business person, who would soon arrive on our shores to set up Alpha Direct Insurance, and Chengeta was the preferred choice for producing television adverts. Chengeta added another jewel to the crown, by producing a series of rib cracking television adverts for Alpha Direct.

The former teacher, disc jockey, club owner says all his experiences have converged to make him the person that he is today. “My former students, and people I met in the entertainment industry all helped to elevate and support me and the media also played a huge role.”

 

 

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