Student tells his struggles through a movie

Scriptwriter, poet and actor Motsamai 'Cool Kid' Mokhuane is partially blind.
Scriptwriter, poet and actor Motsamai 'Cool Kid' Mokhuane is partially blind.
Image: TIRO RAMATLHASE

A young man always yearned to tell his story by writing poems, movies and drama scripts. A few years later he has written 3000 poems and produced one movie, still at a tender age of 23.

Motsamai Mokhuane, known to many as "Cool Kid", is slowly climbing the ladder in the entertainment industry through his storytelling exploits. He got his stage name "Cool Kid" when he was only 14 years old. The name was given to him by fans who were amazed that a boy his age could take on older peers with his poetry prowess.

Born at Rammulotsi in Viljoenskroon, Free State, Mokhuane won four poetry competitions while doing Grade 9.

"I was the youngest and I won all four competitions, from there everyone called me a cool kid," he said.

He said he started realising that he had talent in narrating and writing poems when his Grade 9 teacher told him to take poetry and acting seriously as he had a potential of going places and making it big in the industry.

Now doing his last year in animal science at the North West University's Mahikeng campus, Mokhuane said he can't wait to show his first movie called Lekusasa (the future). The movie, recently shown on campus, was inspired by his challenging upbringing.

"With this movie I want to show people, especially university students, how I struggled to be admitted at the university and that they must not forget where they come from.

"I could not just go and say, 'hey, stop doing this and focus on your studies', but I knew that if they listen to my poems or see my movies, they will change their lives," he said.

Mokhuane's father died while he was only six, leaving his mother to raise him and his three siblings alone.

His mother was unemployed and the family survived on the meagre earning she got from temporary jobs.

"I remember coming to Mahikeng in 2012 (to study), not knowing whether I would be admitted or not, I did not have money and did not apply for a bursary," he said.

He said when he arrived at the university a staff member told him that there was a bursary for disabled people like himself.

He is partially blind.

"That is how I got into the university and I am grateful for that," he said.

But things still did not go as smooth as he thought. He was faced with a challenge of keeping up with a new university culture and lifestyle that he was not used to.

"Many of the students wore [branded] clothes and expensive sneakers. I felt left out."

 Mokhuane said he decided to write his experiences down in a form of a movie.

"From my bursary money, I took R500 and sent it home to my mother.

I was not going to feel good enjoying life here knowing that my family back in Free State was suffering."

The young communicator also has exceptional leadership skills. When he arrived at the North West University in 2012, there was no drama society and he established one.

"I grouped young people and started a drama society and they elected me as deputy chairman [of the society]."

In 2013 he became secretary of a disabled students group, and two years later he wrote and directed the movie Lekusasa at the university's Mahikeng campus.

"I used eight main actors and 60 supporting actors (sourced from campus)."

His wish is to act in mainstream TV.

One of his other big projects is Legaga la Mafoko, a university theatre poetry production.

"We are nine in this project and already we have local radio slots where we go and do our poetry," he said.

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