A dream come true!

A dream come true!

MASERU – “PLEASE, do not disappoint us my boy.”
These were a mother’s pleading words which she whispered to Khothatso Mothebe just before he made the long trip from the gangster-infested border town of Maputsoe to Maseru, where he was to study Human Resource and Law at the IBC College in 2015.
Three years after those words, Mothebe has not disappointed.

Last Friday, he was named IBC College’s Best Entrepreneurship student upon graduation.
Clad in a navy blue suit under a black graduation gown, Mothebe wiped off tears of joy, while recalling how his mother, ’Makhothatso, told him to “go and make the family proud, my son” in 2015.
She wept, and remained glued to her seat as the boy and his father Thabiso walked up to the podium to receive the prize.

For three years, his mother’s words were continuously ringing in Mothebe’s head, serving as a reminder of the huge burden he was carrying on his shoulders.
The award is for his passion for business, which he demonstrated for the past three years selling snacks and other items to students and lecturers at the college.
The eldest in a family of four, Mothebe said his family had lived from hand-to-mouth from as far as he could remember.
His story is of extreme resilience.

He completed his Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC) in 2013 but did not manage to get good grades to proceed to university.
Life became harder for the family, and as the eldest child Mothebe was the only one who could help the parents put food on the table.
His mother is unemployed and fully dependent on her husband’s meager earnings as a taxi driver.

“I did not know what to do after I failed my high school exams. Knowing I would never get admitted at any tertiary institution was the worst thing in my life,” he said.
“My mother is a housewife and my father is a taxi driver, we depend on my father’s money. I had to do something to put food on the table.”
He then took a year gap in 2014 to sell shoes in Maputsoe to complement his father’s income.
Life changed and things became better for the family.

“I then helped my father support my siblings to go to school and the entire family, but my dream was to go to school and further my studies.”
Mothebe said his dream was to land a place at a tertiary institution but he had no idea what he wanted to study.
His experience as a shoe seller made him aware of his passion for running a business, hence he later chose to pursue studies in entrepreneurship.
“It helped me realise that I wanted to be an entrepreneur,” he said, adding he learnt of the IBC College through a radio announcement which he overheard as he went from house to house selling shoes. He decided to give it a shot.

“I did not believe I would get admitted looking at my results, they told me that I would qualify for marketing studies. I went home full of joy that finally my dream would come true,” he said.
However his jubilation soon turned into despair when he learnt that IBC College is a private school, meaning that the National Manpower Development Secretariat would not pay for his fees.
“With the cash I made while selling shoes, I had to pay for my fees. My father helped me and I was able to go to school and study,” he said.
Mothebe said during his course of study, he had to change from marketing to Human Resources and Law.

However, he did not stop selling small items for a living. He continued to sell ice guava and bunny chow (a quarter of loaf of bread with polony or atchar inside) to students.
“I never thought what I was doing would be recognised by lecturers and students. I think this is an opportunity for me to start my own business, a bigger one that would help create jobs for unemployed graduates,” he said.

Mothebe is planning to go into agriculture and grow butternuts as he already has a farm and a target market.
“I want to put my theory studies into practice. My plan from now on is to focus on crop farming. All I need is M6 000 as capital to do everything. I already have a farm and some tools,” he said.

Itumeleng Khoete

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