While being in the entertainment industry was more of a calling for her, the main reason why Zenzele Hirschfi eld started her own company was because she wanted to fulfill the meaning of her name and make her father’s wish come true.
Zenzele got the name which literally means ‘do it yourself’ from her late father whom she says somehow believed that she would grow up to be counted amongst successful people in Botswana because of her works.
So when he died in 2002, Zenzele could only do one thing to honour him, start a company, do it herself and make a mark in Botswana, thus Zen Promotions was born.
Q. Of all the professions and industry, why did you choose to be a music promoter?
I fell in love with music and arts while I was growing up. I guess even my teachers realized that I was passionate about it because while I was doing my secondary education at St Joseph’s College I was chosen to be a prefect for the arts.
This meant being in charge of coordinating entertainment and art related events.
My first and only job after school was also in the entertainment industry, so really I would say for me to be in this industry was not a matter of choice but a calling which I could not resist.
The main reason however was to fulfill the meaning of my name which is ‘I just have to do it myself instead of waiting for other people.”
Q. You were the first woman to venture into music promotion, did you face any challenges that were related to you being a woman?
Challenges were there but I wouldn’t say they had anything to do with me being a woman but rather had to do with our local industry not being very big. I had support from all players in the industry especially men and I must say that is one of the reasons why we have managed to remain standing over the last 10 years.
Q. So being a rose amongst thorns actually helped you, did you use your femininity and beauty to get what you
(Laughs) My beauty is just a compliment or rather a bonus and I have never used it to my advantage. Whatever I have achieved is all because of hard work and discipline.
Q. Talking of beauty, you have always spotted short hair, why, is it a trademark or what?
I am a typical African beauty who looks even better with natural hair hence I always have my hair short so I can bring out the best in me.
Besides the late Miriam Makeba is one woman that I looked up to so she somehow also influenced my love for short hair and looking good all the time.
Q. OK, back to business, which local artists have you worked with and would you say they are growing in their field?
I was the first woman to manage Vee and I am still his agent, something which makes me proud as a promoter.
I am so proud of him because over the years he has proven that he is a brand to reckon with.
I have also worked with Max y and Scar. In terms of growth I am sure you will agree that their works are there to speak for themselves.
Q. What about yourself, would you say you are living the dream that you had when you started Zen promotions?
Very much so because it’s no longer only about the passion for music but a fully fl edged business entity, which is providing employment for Batswana.
Zen Promotions might not be big in terms of number of employees as we only have two full time staff members but it is a big brand in the entertainment industry.
Q. What was your dream anyway when you started?
I wanted to make a difference in the music industry, to make a name for myself and to turn my passion into a business entity and I believe I have done so.
Q. You spoke about marking 10 years in the industry, what will you be doing to celebrate a decade of existence?
Giving back to the community in terms of helping artists in need is one of the things that we will be doing.
I am sure you are aware that we recently embarked on fund raising activities so we can be able to build a house for Teko Baponi (Kotaeshele), one of our old artists who is currently living in squalor.
We will also be re branding as part of celebrating our 10th anniversary. And of course we will have an event to celebrate that.
Q. What has been the highlight of your career?
I have two highlights, meeting one of Africa’s finest musician, Hugh Masekela and bringing him to Botswana.
What made it even more exciting is that I introduced him to former President Mogae.
The other development that I look back on with pride is the fact that I have served three times in Botswana Musician Union (BOMU).
For me this was a clear indication that musicians have faith in me.
Q. And the lowest?
Haven’t had my lowest but what makes me angry is when the media blows things out of proportion or when they write wrong things about me. As artists or people who are supposedly in the limelight we get media attention which is totally uncalled for and its not only unfair to individuals but our families, friends and other people around us.
Q. Talking of people, when are we going to hear wedding bells or rather how are things in your love life?
(Laughs) Don’t worry, you will hear the wedding bells one day and you will get an invite when the time comes.
Q. Oh so, there is someone in your life, who is he?
(Laughs) Of course there is someone in my life but I don’t want to discuss that in this forum.
Q. Tell us about future plans, I am sure one day you will get tired of music, if that happens what will you do?
I will go into politics, actually I have always loved politics and would no doubt one day become a fully fl edged politician. I love serving and working with people so politics will also give me that platform.
Q. And which party will you join if you are not a member of any already?
I will join the ruling BDP, I am not a card carrying member but I am fully behind the party.
Q. So you will join it because it’s the ruling party, what if things change and you one day wake up with BDP as the opposition party?
No, no, it’s not a question of it being the ruling party, I support its principles, values and vision.
Q. Let’s talk about Big Brother, what do you think of the two girls representing Botswana in the house?
Think they are doing or have done well so far, but if I was in the house, I could be doing better.
Q. So why didn’t you audition if you think you would have done better or you were not successful?
I didn’t take part in auditions because this year is a bit hectic for Zen Promotions, but next year it’s definitely me who will be representing the country.