Botle Kayamba, popularly known as Miss Bee, is proof that the Covid-19 lockdown bore fruit for some. Growing up, Miss Bee was surrounded by music – mom always led the praise and worship team at church and her brother was a DJ – she enrolled for an online DJing course in 2021. Yep, only three years ago. Upon graduating, she continued sharpening her mixing skills at home, then slowly started putting her hand up for playing at gigs and radio stations. This past December, Miss Bee headlined her first international gig, the Lovers of House Festival in Groningen, northern Netherlands. Spotting a lesson here? Nothing is impossible to a willing mind.
Going For Gold
“During lockdown when fitness training wasn’t as big a priority for most, I started thinking of ways to expand my career. And I couldn’t shake off my love for music and decided to jump into DJing.”
And given her current struggle with local promoters always wanting to negotiate her fee down and her past health struggles, she certainly doesn’t take her milestones for granted – and these include winning the Queen of the Beat competition that was hosted by the City of Johannesburg and the Department of Arts and Culture and a resident Dj on 5Fm’s .
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Fighting The Odds
Miss Bee was diagnosed with type 3 Ameloblastoma in her early twenties, a rare cancer that had affected her right lower jaw.
“Mine was a severe case – my right ear was always painful, I lost eyesight on the left, my hearing on the left ear also suffered and my jaw was abnormally swollen,” she shares, adding that she practically lived in hospitals between 2004 and 2006. Over time, her face became so deformed that she had to undergo three surgeries. The last and major op was a mandibulectomy, a surgical procedure where a small or huge chunk of one’s lower jaw bone is removed. “In my case, my left lower jaw was removed and replaced with a plate which helped give my face its shape again,” she explains.
During one of Botle’s hospital stays, her bed happened to be next to a window that overlooked a quiet road with a set of traffic lights nearby. “I’d keep busy by watching the traffic lights change from green to orange and red, while quietly interrogating God about when the pain and hospital stays would end,” she reflects. Her mental health had taken quite a knock too. “My tertiary studies had been interrupted, I felt stuck and wondered if I’d ever catch up to my peers,” she recalls.
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And Then There Was Light
Coincidentally, around the time when these negative thoughts plagued Miss Bee’s thoughts, her mother and a group of church ladies came to pray for her. Before doing so, they read a Bible scripture from Isaiah 60: 22 which reads: ‘When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen.’
Since 2006 Miss Bee’s recovery journey has been peppered with many magical moments. Chief among them was the birth of her son Thabiso in 2009. “I really feel like God more than made up for all the years I was in hospital. In a lot of ways, I feel like Isaiah 60: 22 brought me back to life by restoring my hope,” she concludes, adding she is proof that whatever’s meant for you will always make its way to you – no matter how long it takes.
While recovering, Botle had to learn how to do a lot of basic things such as chewing, after a long period of eating through a straw. Graduating with a sports management qualification became one of her saving grace, she says. “Working out became my therapy. Whether running or dancing, I felt so alive. When I started working at Virgin Active as a trainer, the positive feedback I’d get after my classes also lifted my spirit. I’d almost lost my life, yet here I was inspiring others to take care of themselves.” Looking back at the things she’s achieved since her recovery, Botle is convinced that she wasn’t as ready as she is now.
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Biggest Career Highlight
“As a fitness trainer, it had always been my wish to be on the Fit Night Out stage. I came so close to this wish in 2017 when I made the top five in the Fit Star competition – a great feat even though I didn’t win. My wish finally came true in 2023 when I played to a crowd of more than 2,000 women at Fit Night Out.”
Best Lesson To Date
“There’s more to life than sulking and self-pity. Having fought so hard for this second chance, I can safely say that challenges are purely there to shape us.”
Four Things I Can’t Live Without
God, family, my son and my phone.
Favourite Get-Up-And-Dance Track
“ by Magic System. It takes me back to my happy childhood days and reminds me of how far I have come.”
Lesser Known Fact About Me
“I have a twin sister.”