“No sorry, I khant” and “Monnaka bought it cash” are probably two phrases that have made you chuckle while watching social media videos of 'Mam' K', the rich makoti who refuses to operate a kettle that isn’t touch-controlled at family events and references her husband’s money in every conversation.
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But the woman behind the Rich Mam' K character, Paballo Kgware, says she’s nothing like the satirical character she makes video of on TikTok. In fact, the 22-year-old, who hails from Thaba Nchu in Free state and currently based in Durban, is an AFDA graduate and aspiring actress who has an interest in becoming an influential digital creator.
She tells TRUELOVE all about her character Mam' K, her sense of humour and her hopes of breaking into the entertainment industry.
What inspired you to start making videos?
Honestly, I was bored. I had just graduated from AFDA with my BA in producing so I needed something to pass time with while still working on breaking into the industry. I only created an account to watch TikToks, not to create. But as I was watching, I’d get ideas from the sound/video that I’m watching and one day I finally got over my nerves and posted a video. And as they say, “the rest is history”.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for the character, Mam' K?
Everywhere. From real life experiences to stories I hear, to what we see on television. The 'Rich Makoti' is purely satirical. She’s definitely not who I am or what I aspire to be. Well, maybe the 'rich' part but not with the same attitude, morals and beliefs that she has. She’s just a character that develops herself actually. She does most of the work for me; mine is just to put it on camera. She’s an over exaggerated “real housewife” I would say. Again, satirical.
Which video would you say got you noticed? Please tell us the story behind the video.
Recently, it’s 'The Rich Makoti' video. Completely unexpected. There was a video trending done by @mlibo230 on TikTok. She is Xhosa and my followers kept tagging me asking for a Tswana version. I didn’t want to take her concept as it is, so I went with 'The Rich Makoti'. Initially, I just wanted to do one video but viewers asked for more and well, here we are. I’ve had to re-work it a bit; it was initially The Rich Makoti at a family event but that was going to get boring so now the video topics are a bit broader and general. We are learning and working on it as it goes, but we are also having loads of fun.
When did you realise that you were funny?
I have always known. I used to laugh at my own jokes back in high school but people would never get them. So, I just turned to TikTok and Instagram. Now, hundreds and thousands of people catch my jokes and find them funny. It’s quite an awesome feeling. I never saw this day coming.
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How has your life changed since becoming a viral star?
Shuu, viral star hey? I’m still adjusting really. In my head, I’m still Paballo nje, like a normal girl. But many don’t see me as that anymore. I still get shocked when people recognise me in public even with a mask and doek on. I feel way more vulnerable now because a whole lot more eyes are on me. I’ll have to get used to it because it’s only up from here. But yes, it’s a wild transition in such a short time frame
What future do you see for yourself in the digital space?
Growth, growth and more growth. I’ll leave it there for now.
You’ve mentioned body shaming as part of the negatives that come with this territory, how do you deal with it?
This one. Oh my. I’ve always had self-esteem issues growing up. Just when I felt like I’d finally grasped it and felt that I was finally in a happy relationship with my body, it all came crashing down with a few characters on social media. I wish people took other people’s mental health into consideration before being so vile. I always think about Chadwick Boseman and how we vowed, as a world, to stop bullying/body shaming because you never know what someone is going through but it’s clearly just for vibes.
Anyway, I cry. I cry and I let it all out because I’m a big softie. Then I pray. Then I remind myself that it’s them, not me. And the fact that they’re so pressed means that I’m doing something right. That gives me even more drive to keep going. Because if I stop, they win. And that can’t happen.