During the 30 years that the director of ALBJ Enterprises, Bolaane Jack Mazebedi worked as a craft designer in the Ministry of Agriculture he nursed the ambition to start his own company and an art school to would groom local talent.
Thankfully to a handsome retirement package and substantial personal savings, the Francistown-based entrepreneur was able to start ALBJ Enterprises trading as ALBJ Visual Arts Investments in January 2005. The centre started from a single room as a one man operation, adjacent to Supa Ngwao Museum.
Extensive experience primarily in the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health as a Veterinary Assistant after obtaining a Diploma in Animal Health from the Botswana College of Agriculture enabled Mazebedi to think intuitively and chart the artistic route.
According to Mazebedi, ALBJ Enterprises specialises in the production of visual arts, paintings, interior design, post cards, and picture framing, logo designing and craft sales.
“I use water soluble paint on media such as acrylic, canvass, and paper or bissonate board. I have also taken on board replicating rock paintings, available in some of the country’s heritage cites, on paper or canvass using a technique called marbling,’’ he said.
He said he learnt to draw impressions of animals and other forms of life around him in the sand, before he could read and write.
At primary school, his drawings usually drew the attention of his teachers a thing which inspired him to take drawing seriously.
“Over the years I have learnt to be an expert in painting, knowledge of every colour and that pigment and technique is essential. Giving life to a thought requires intuitive thinking but, pouring your soul onto canvass demands infallible passion,’’ said Mazebedi.
He said through the artistic impressions the company promotes Botswana’s cultural heritage and tourist attractions in line with the Vision 2016 goals.
Mazebedi’s artistic career received a new lease of life after the successful completion of a Graphic Art & Design from the US Rochester University of Technology in New York in 1981. On resumption of duties at the Agricultural Ministry, he headed the design and editorial of the in house publication Agrinews.
His artistic skills and public relations qualities empowered him to represent Botswana at the annual 3rd World Trade Fair (Novisad Fair) held in Bosnia in 1985 and the Food & Agricultural Organisation (FAO) regional conference in Gaborone, in 1994 and Quebec, Canada and Rome, Italy in 1995.
Also to his credit, Mazebedi designed the old University Of Botswana logo, several Botswana Post (BP) postage stamps and their official first day covers is currently BP’s resource person for stamp design training. The stamps depict traditional milk containers; the Herero type calabash, segwana, (lekuka and kgamelo) in leather and wood, respectively; traditional fishing methods, Tshodilo Hills Rock paintings, traditional clay pots, UB 25th anniversary, and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. He has enjoyed the privilege of exhibiting at the National Museum & Art Gallery as well as the British Council.