Meet bakes, the larger than life content creator
Following the first total lockdown imposed last year and subsequent curfews to curb the spread of covid 19, the number of social media users in Botswana rose to an equivalent to 50.5% of the total population by January 2021.
According to datareportal.com, there were 1.2 million social media users in Botswana by January 2021.
Taking advantage of the shift and new phenomena is none other than he rising social media content creator Baker Tebogo.
Popularly known as Bakes Bakes on social media, his skits have been making waves since the onset of the pandemic, catapulting his stardom to great heights.
The bubbly personality speaks to The VOICE’s SHARON MATHALA about his new found fame and his career plans.
After exchanging pleasantries and him appreciating Voice Entertainment for giving his art and talent recognition, he starts off the interview by talking about his long-standing relationship with The Voice Newspaper.
A. I actually almost worked for the Voice back in 2014.
I remember I met the publisher, the late Mrs. Beata Kasale-Kabango through the SADC gender protocol workshop and she immediately believed in and loved my ideas and so she expressed interest that I join the Voice.
I was very young at the time. I was 20 years old and to have a seasoned media personality actually show interest in me was something.
Q. And why did you not join the team?
A. Well it came at a time when I got another opportunity elsewhere and I called her (Kasale-Kabango) to tell her that I wont be joining them unfortunately but we remained very close.
She had always believed in me and my craft from Day 1.
I am where I am because of her wisdom and guidance.
Q. 10 years since you met her, would she be proud of the brand you have become?
A. I think so, yes because after I told her that I had an offer elsewhere she wrote like this lengthy post on social media about me… (Pauses to catch a breath). …and she was singing me praises and it gave me a lot of motivation to be the best.
I have been living by most of her advice and some of the decisions I make today are based on her wisdom.
Q. Deviating from that a bit, so for the few who have never heard of you-how would you introduce yourself?
A. This is such an easy question but I think most of us struggle to answer it.
I am a lover of life.
I am very liberated, very focused and I love life and that I come from a small village called Digawana.
I am a media studies graduate form University of Botswana (UB).
I go by the brand name Bakes Bakes, which is a nickname I got from high school.
Q. How did the nickname come about?
A. I got it from a friend in high school.
I actually did not like it in the beginning because I did not know what it meant; now I use it as like my alter ego.
A lot of people actually don’t believe Baker is my first name, like it is my government name.
Q. Would you say content creating is the career path you were destined to be in.?
A. 100 percent.
I am a talker and somehow I have always been an entertainer.
I like to believe I am fun to be around.
I have always known that my career would have to be something around media or entertainment.
I wanted to be a lawyer at some point but when I got to UB and I saw their material I changed my mind immediately.
I knew my struggle would be different.
Q. Where does your passion lie?
A. Making people happy.
I like joy!
I like happiness!
I like positivity.
I believe even with the type of content I put out it is not like your everyday comedy or motivational videos, especially because a lot of us are depressed as it is because of the covid-19 pandemic and I think sometimes all people want is good vibes and I give them that.
I would get people commenting on videos, I am a typical hype man.
I have had people say I am too loud and that the message gets lost sometimes but that is just who I am and I like to believe my audience understands that.
Look the world is dull as it is; we need those who can give us a sweet laugh at the end of the day.
Q. Tell us about your popular Bakes Business Live shows.
A. There was a lot of confusion when this whole Covid-19 started.
A lot of people were suddenly out of jobs and entrepreneurs had it extremely hard.
One day I decided to come up with a platform where, using my following and engagement, we could host these vulnerable groups for them to share how hard it really is for them.
I created like a safe place for them to have the platform to speak out about their challenges but also sell their products and services.
It gives me great pleasure when they come back to tell me that the interview brought in business for them.
It really humbles me.
Q. Why did you decide to tap into the social media content creation niche market?
A. I actually fell into it.
I have always had a bubbly, hyper energetic personality.
I have always had like big hyper energy and with the videos it is really just me being me.
It started off with me just regularly shooting videos, dancing and asking people to join in the mood and it eventually grew into something that people fed off.
Q. Do you get money from it?
A. It is so unfortunate that we don’t.
I don’t make money out of the platforms unlike a content creator with the same impact as me elsewhere.
They make so much money to even quit their day jobs.
These apps don’t recognize certain geographical countries.
Q. Where do you think you get this larger than life personality?
A. I am a loner at heart, I take a lot of time by myself, recharging, refocusing my energy.
I am alone most of the time and so when I get out I guess I bring out the vibes and aura that makes people feel good.
Q. Have you ever posted something online that you regretted?
A. Many times but I am not ashamed, but when I post something drunk I sometimes get a little embarrassed about those the next day because as human beings I guess we want to present ourselves in a prim and proper way.
Q. On a lighter note you have gotten a lot of comparison to…
A. To Loungo (laughs) I get it all the time.
Q. Well do you find it irritating?
A. One thing people don’t know is that Loungo and I go as far back as My African Dream (MAD) days.
We would hang out all the time, I think because we have that friendship I don’t take issues with it plus I have gotten free food at restaurants because people thought I was him, so…but I would like to say this, Loungo is such a humble and down to earth guy.
Q. Any future on local TV?
A. The ultimate dream is to have Business Bakes streamed on Netflix and or Showmax.
The same thing they do with South African productions, the ultimate goal is to sign a deal with international streaming platforms.
Q. TV, Radio locally?
A. No. f*** NO. My dreams are bigger.
I know people might take this the wrong way but I want an international footprint and I am unapologetic about it.
Q. Project you are working on now?
A. Well I am working with white label fragrances on their new campaign.
I will be promoting my favourite scent from their new range and will run promotions and the winners will get to travel with me to Maun on an exclusive trip.
Q. Getting a little personal are you taken?
A. (laughs) No comment- (proceeds to show off ring)
Q. Will you make the relationship public?
A. No no!
You won’t get to see them; you see the thing with me is that there are so many things I keep completely off social media.
There are certain aspects of my life I don’t want to share; I don’t want to be bullied for things that should otherwise be private.
I know what to share and I know what not to share and I won’t share it at all.
Q. What is one advice you have received that you hold dear, since your stardom?
A. It came from my mentor who passed on about two weeks ago and she told me I don’t know how big what I am doing is because I am excited about social media.
You see a lot of times on my private messages I get heart wrenching messages from people I don’t even know telling me how my videos have impacted their lives.
One of the messages was from this lady who was on her deathbed, she was undergoing chemo and she said to me that my content makes her want to forget the troubles of her life.
Another one told me she had lost her parents to Covid-19 and life was really difficult for her but that my content gave her such positive energy.
And those things really humble me.
Q. TGIF, what will you be up to this Friday?
A. I will just be home waiting to get my copy.