Ex TV presenter Precious Kofi makes a comeback as a visual artist
Former child star will stage an exhibition with Zakes Mda on Human Rights Day
Like Diddy and Skylar Grey’s 2010 hit song Coming Home, former child star Precious Kofi is coming home.
It’s around 3am in Colorado (12pm local time) when I connect with the 34-year-old on WhatsApp voice call. The Wild West has been home for the now visual artist and mother of two, for more than 10 years after leaving SA.
The Eastern Cape-born admits that she misses SA, while I fan-boy over what a rockstar she was in my teen years. Gen Z will probably not understand what a force Kofi was in the local pop culture. For the millennials, Kofi was the closest thing to Zendaya.
She graced the small screen with the the most fabulous Afro – full, voluminous and light as air. Kofi captured melanin magic and black excellence before it was inducted into the social media lexicon.
Kofi was introduced to Mzansi on SABC 2’s afternoon children time-slot Tube with the show Hip 2B Square. Then she had her own talk shows The Precious Show and Keeping it Real with Precious. She later became a regular game show host with programmes like Summer Games.
In-between, she had a budding acting career in drama series like Life Is Wild, 4Play Sex Tips For Girls and Divers Down. But it was her 2009 reality docu-series Precious Africa – travelling across Africa – that not only made her a household name, but travel goals.
But at 24, Kofi left all of it for a fresh start in America.
“The most benefitting experience that I’ve had about living in a different country is the opportunity to start from scratch and allow myself to build a new dream,” Kofi confesses.
“Being in the US has been a second chance. As a child I made all my dreams come true. There was nothing left untouched. When I left that experience I then needed to build new dreams.”
Now Kofi is heading back to SA in March, temporarily anyway. She plans to stage an art exhibition with respected writer-cum-painter Zakes Mda on Human Rights Day.
Kofi reignited her passion for art during the lockdown, a dream first realised in the early years of primary school. But she shelved it for a career in front of the camera.
“Throughout my schooling I have always been involved with the art classes until I was 16. I left it because I didn’t see it as a career path because I was heavily involved in television," Kofi shares.
“But also when you are in those art spaces at that time – I pray that our syllabus in SA has changed – we were only taught about European art and American artists. They are predominately white male. So you didn't see yourself making it as an artist.
“That love got reignited when a lot of people were finding other forms of expression during the pandemic. One of my children was having conversation with their teacher and they cited that ‘my mom is my favourite artist’. So one day I decided that I am an artist and not that I wanted to become one.”
It has all paid off. Kofi will be part of a solo exhibition in Denver and New York later this year. She will also be part of a group exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil. She has already showcased at Museum of Boulder, Denver’s Ink Lounge and Refuge Art Gallery.
“I remember when I started painting someone cautioned me that to be an artist or painter is a long hard road,” Kofi says.
“I remember mentally saying to myself it’s not going to be a long hard road for me. I feel that in every genre we enter into there is space for you if you believe it. You create the existence and experience.”
Kofi also teases that she will make her long-awaited television comeback this year and will share details at the right time.
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