The life and times of the Afro Yiddish queen. Born in South Africa, blessed with unquestionable passion and a heart of gold.
There is no one who can truly encapsulate the phrase “Strong Black Woman” as much as Rosie Tebogo Motene. She is the epitome of strength and courage and a true inspiration.
As a child, Rosie grew up in the midst of the apartheid régime. She was adopted and thus raised by a white Jewish family in Johannesburg. She lived as a white Jewish girl, was groomed as one and spoke as one. As much as she wanted to, she did not learn about her language, SeTswana, Culture or tradition. Throughout her teens and her 20’s she was in denial about who she was (Find word for Identity). Only in her 30’s did she embark on a journey of introspection and true reflection on her Identity.
Saying that the above created an Identity Crisis would be a gross understatement. What it did was open up a chasm of doubt. It created an abyss of self loathe and painted to herself a negative image. All she knew was white is right and that can be very harmful to one’s self esteem.
Enter the Arts
“G-d pushed me into the entertainment industry, so that I may learn to speak…”
Rosie found her passion and her voice in the arts. Her talents don’t only lie in her phenomenal acting, but she was also an avid choreographer. Finding her true calling and ability to express herself, she began to open up to herself.
Rosie has since then starred in several movies, was a lead character in the biggest telenovela on the African Continent, Generations and now heads up a Waka Agency.
Being a plus size woman, she has had various challenges in the entertainment industries. One of which was being asked to lose weight for Generations. Through all of the challenges, she has managed to rise above it all and become the star that she is.
Mom, Dad and Phokeng
Although Rosie was raised by a foster family, she knew her biological parents who reside in Phokeng, Rustenburg. Her parents felt that she would have more access to opportunity if she was raised by her foster family.
One of the defining moments in Rosie’s life came when she was 38 years old. She recalls driving on a highway in Johannesburg and experiencing a sharp and numbing pain in her arm. At this point she knew that she was burning out and needed to go home. She immediately called her mom and asked her if she can come home.
Driving to Phokeng had always been a somber experience. This was caused by the fact that her foster family had used “going to Phokeng” as a punishment in her past. While on the road from Johannesburg to Rustenburg, she realized that this would be the first time she lives with her biological parents.
This was a pivotal time for her. Finding time to spend time and get to know her biological family was long overdue. She arrived in Phokeng harbouring resentment towards her father. These feelings quickly subsided as she got to know him better. Hearing him sing in the morning drew them closer together. She now knew where her creative side came from. Sadly, her father passed away soon after in 2015.
Her Relationship with Her Body
Sometimes relationships are not easy. Especially the one we have with our own body. Rosie certainly is no exception to the rule.
She shared a story with us about how she used to pray to G-d to have white skin, straight hair and fair eyes. This truly scarred her. She says that when she was younger, her self-esteem was below average. This lead to bad decisions when picking partners and she found herself in a few toxic relationships.
While learning to love the body she was in, Rosie had a lump surgically removed from one of her breasts and that set her back. She had to re-learn to love her body.
“I love my big dancer’s thighs…”
Rosie is now back on the path of self-love. Boasting about the love she has for her body and her dancer’s thighs. She has embraced who she is inside and out. Acknowledging that her body, skin and hair is exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Rosie is now at a place where she is ready to have a child and build a family of her own. Her story is one that resonates with a lot of us. Her story of success is one that illustrates the fact that regardless of your circumstances, you can still be great.