Growing up, Cliff Kepaletswe reveals that he was a loner, a withdrawn child and never thought he would have the confidence to speak up and be heard. But today he is not only speaking up but communicating with Batswana almost the entire country through his television and radio programmes.
Add to that, Cliff is also on the road to making a name for himself as one of the renowned public speakers in the country. In this interview, he talks about how he discovered the power of his voice, his dreams and his life as a born again Christian.
NO FEAR TO FACE CROWDS
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a father, TV and radio presenter, public speaker, an author and a born again Christian. I have been celibate for more than a year and I am not seeing anyone at the moment.
It’s a decision I made after being a born again Christian, God expects us to respect our bodies and that’s exactly what I am doing. I have told myself that I will have sex again after marriage and it’s a decision that I will stick to no matter what.
And how do you deal with your sexual feelings because you are a man who obviously has the urge to have sex once in a while?
I have had too much of it and really it’s something that I dont lose sleep over. Yes I am very potent and yes I love beautiful women but it’s a question of just looking and keeping my mind and thoughts very pure.
So for how long are you prepared to go on with this kind of life?
For as long as it takes to meet and marry my ideal wife who must be a loving, God fearing, genuine and a woman who is true to herself.
I am sure something happened in your life which drove you to make this decision and to seek God seeing you are a born again Christian, tell us about it.
I am sorry but I don’t want to revisit my past, what I can tell you is that yes I have been there and done that. There was a time when I thought I was the main man, a man who was on top of the world but nothing good came out of that attitude. I have had my very lowest points but the good thing is that I managed to rise, seek God and find a purpose in my life.
Ok, good for you. Let’s talk about your broadcasting career, how did it all begin?
I first joined Btv in 2006 on a part time basis after I was offered a position to present the programme Molemo wa Kgang. My girlfriend at the time saw an advert where Btv was looking for two presenters for the programme, she urged me to apply saying I have the voice and the looks. I did hesitantly and to my surprise I got the job. After two years I left but I have since rejoined them again as a presenter for the lifestyle and magazine programme, Sedibeng.
I joined Duma FM in Jan 2011 and I think its my voice which landed me the slots that I currently have. I am presenting two shows on Saturdays and Sundays. The Saturday show is called Clifftop, it’s more laid back and relaxed. Antidote, which is the Sunday show deals more with spiritual matters.
Talking of your voice, you are now one of the well know public speakers in Botswana, when did you actually realize that you have what it’s takes for that kind of thing?
It was during my days as a student at the UB, we had group work and after I failed to attend the group discussion my colleagues punished me by saying I should present. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise because after that I got positive feedback about my presentation skills and that is when I also realised that I have what it takes to be a public speaker.
But why did it take you so long to be really visible in as far as public speaking is concerned
After UB, I worked as a court of clerk at the Court of Appeal in Lobatse and never had time to do anything in that regard because I had a full time job. Now public speaking is my job, my source of income together with my part time jobs at Btv and Duma FM hence I am now somehow on the limelight.
How do you make money out of it?
I train people on the art of public speaking and my main targets are politicians, pastors public relations practitioners and marketers. I also get jobs to be a director of ceremonies at various events.
You recently published a book, tell us about it and how is it doing in the market.
The book is called Fearless Public Speaking, A Practical Guide. It is meant to impart public speaking skills and I have no doubt that it will help a lot of people. It is doing quite well in the market, much more than I
expected I must say.
How is your book different from other public speaking books which have been published before?
Mine is a transcript of my experience, knowledge and lessons learnt.
I am sure there are people out there that you look up to or who you think are some of the world’s greatest public speakers, who are they?
Locally it is PHK (Minister Ponatshego Kedikilwe) and beyond it is Robert Mugabe, Kofi Anna and Obama (Barrack, US president). I think these men are quite gifted and know how to make people listen.
You have a nice voice Cliff and no wonder you are pursuing public speaking in this manner. But tell me, do you sometimes use that deep convincing tone to your advantage or to get what you want?
(Laughs) Thanks, back then yes I used to use it in a more negative way but since I have realised that this is a God given gift I use it in a more positive way.
What is your dream in as far as life and your careers are concerned?
I want to excel in everything that I do, to impart public speaking skills to as many people as possible, to live a happy life, always be in good health, have a loving wife and a good number of children, four will do. I also wish to travel the world and to age gracefully.
Full names: Cliff Kepaletswe
Date of birth: 21/04/1977
Car driving: Honda Civic
Holiday destination(s): Portugal and any Island
Book currently reading: The Bible
Pastime: Taking a drive and spending quality time with his daughter
Last time he cried: In 2011, during a counseling session with his pastor