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FOUND HOPE IN A HOPELESS PLACE

Rachel Towobola-

When the world keep having a negative perception about Nigeria, well it is different for Rachel and I. I left Botswana for Nigeria in 2015 to pursue my degree in Mass Communication- in the best private university in Africa. It was in 2018 around June when I got invited to Sound City FM and met this jewel. Really puzzled- honestly I thought I was the only Motswana in that place. Now I met someone who found not only hope but love and peace of mind in a foreign country.

Here is an interview I had with Rachel – my Nigerian-Botswana bride!

Rachel at MTV Base

How did you start your career as an on air personality?

After I graduated from university in London, I went back home to Botswana to work as an intern at ICL Botswana. While I was working there, Yarona FM had a presenter search going on and I decided to go and audition. I actually missed the auditions in Gaborone so I travelled all the way to Francistown to audition. I made it to the finals and eventually was chosen as one of the winners. That experience made me realise that this was what I really wanted to be doing. It’s just unfortunate that winning the presenter search didn’t result in a full time job as we were promised.

At some point of your life , you decided to move to Nigeria to pursue your career? What were the reasons behind your migration?

I’ve always liked Nigerian music which led to me having Nigerian friends in university. It was there that I met my husband and when I moved to Botswana we continued our relationship but this time long distance. Let me tell you, long distance sucks! We pushed through it and it got to a point where I just decided that I didn’t want to be long distance anymore. So I made the decision to move to Nigeria. Both my parents were terrified! I expected my dad to be worried but not my mom. My siblings and I lived in Belgium for four years because of my mom’s job and I’d lived alone in university in the UK so I was surprised that she was scared. Eventually, she had no choice but to come to terms with it.

You were one of the popular and very amazing on air personalities in Nigeria? How did you break though to the level you are?

After being in Nigeria for a bit, my husband and I went to various radio stations in Lagos to drop my CV and demo recording. I really miss my first six months in Nigeria because my husband would drive me everywhere! Once I got my Nigerian driver’s license I had no choice but to drive myself. Back to your question, I actually ended up getting an interview from Soundcity radio after dropping my demo and did a few auditions but I never heard back. I didn’t let that get me down though and I ended up working at Kiss FM Lagos. A year later I got a call from Soundcity radio to come in and next thing you know we were discussing my contract as an on air personality. As they say, the rest is history.

Do you believe in the popular cliche that Botswana doesn’t recognize the amazing talents she has?

From my experience that seems to be the trend. I would say that because getting a job as an on air personality was harder for me in Botswana than it was as a foreigner in Nigeria. It wasn’t easy finding work here but I feel that I’ve been given more opportunities. In Botswana it’s about who you know and because I’ve lived abroad for most of my life it makes getting connections for jobs difficult.

You also do podcasts, what else do you do apart from being an on air personality?

My friend Fay Fay got me into podcasts. Before, I didn’t even know what a podcast was let alone how to host one. Through our love of tv shows we started the Previously On Podcast where we talk all things TV shows. I also have a podcast with my other friend Flo and Fay Fay called The FRAY Podcast. We’ve all been radio presenters and have a love of music so Flo came up with the great idea to do a podcast together where we help people learn about the latest songs and albums. I also have a small business and I plan on getting into running a YouTube channel. A lot of people also know me for me occasional dance videos.

Do you have any plans of coming back to Botswana to pursue your passion now that you’re married in Nigeria now?

I do plan on moving back to Botswana because it is home. I miss Gaborone, I miss my family and I miss the vibe ya Batswana. When I do move back I’ll probably start my own business. As I mentioned before it seems like getting opportunities is harder in Botswana so it might be better to blaze my own trail.

What has been your greatest challenge in your journey as an on air personality?

I would say that my greatest challenge has been acclimating to Nigerian culture. As a presenter you have to be relatable to the listeners which can be difficult as a foreigner. I thank God for the fact that I am adaptable, otherwise I wouldn’t have made it so far.

What message can you give to creative persons like you who are still striving for the spot light?

You have to put in the work, that’s the truth of it all. You’re going to get a lot of “No’s” but don’t let that kill your passion. Keep pushing and start something of your own if other people are failing to see your talent. You don’t need them, they need you and you just have to make them realise that. On top of that, don’t take research for granted, it is one of your greatest tools.

What should we look out for ? Any new projects or developments in your career?

With the pandemic I’m just focusing on personal projects. Who knows what the future holds? I guess you’ll just have to follow me to find out 😁.

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