Fourteen-year old Phomolo Khanyo Somolekae is set for the stars. The talented teenager has been accepted into the Los Angeles-based talent show, America’s Got Talent. Phomolo, from Serowe, is an amazing singer and displayed her talent at a very tender age. Her family first spotted her talent when at just 4 she belted out the Jackson Five’s ‘Who’s loving you.’
In an interview with The Botswana Guardian’s BG Style, Phomolo’s proud mother, Monica Somolekae said they were inspired to enter her into the show because of her outstanding talent. Monica said it all started when the family gathered to play musical instruments and sing. On that day, when everyone thought that the fun session was over and went back to doing their own thing, Phomolo picked up the mic and started singing ‘Who’s loving you.’
Initially, her mother thought the CD was playing “because it was that good.” From then on, Monica decided to enter Phomolo and the sister, also a fantastic singer, into music competitions every chance she got.
She first took them to My African Dream talent competition, where they made it to the semi-finals. When she reached secondary school, Phomolo did not stop. She continued to perform at every event and important occasions in the school, and the more she did, the more her mother knew that they needed to do something about it.
“I started wondering about how people get into America’s Got Talent. I started researching on the internet, went on America’s Got Talent website and applied. To my surprise, they accepted her,” Monica said.
This was in December last year when companies and most government officials were closing down for the Christmas break. It was so difficult to reach anyone for support at that time, they almost gave up. Three short weeks ago Monica decided not to let the opportunity go without trying and started talking to people.
“We went to the Ministry of Youth and are still waiting to hear if they will assist us,” she said, adding that others they approached also promised to assist.
The family has since started a campaign on Facebook and Twitter asking for help. Monica says the feedback has been positive, as a few people have pledged their assistance with the trip to New York.
“We still need funds to pay for her ticket, the hotel, food, and transportation. We need about P60 000 to be able to do all that needs to be done,” she says, adding, “We urge business community, other organisations and government entities to assist.”
Monica believes it is important for talent such as this to be seen on that platform.
“It is crucial to Botswana as it shines the spotlight on our abilities as Batswana. It also shows that Batswana have talent too. I know for a fact that South Africans, Nigerians and other nationalities are known, but Botswana also needs to be known for its talent because we have immense talent.”
She believes that the only thing that Botswana lacks is opportunities to showcase its talent, to grow and groom it.
“America’s Got Talent will open doors for Phomolo and other aspiring amateur singers and entertainers.”
Monica hopes that her story will be exemplary to young girls and the community that moving mountains can make dreams come true. Phomolo was scheduled to leave for the US on Monday.