A great leap of faith

A great leap of faith

MASERU-Bosao Kotola was only 26 when she took a great leap of faith into the unknown by investing M1 000 of her sponsorship money that was meant for books in Sekhametsi Investment Consortium.

That was no easy decision for a young woman who had no meaningful savings to talk about.
Her mother, who had also bought into her vision, topped up that amount by a princely sum of M500 to take her initial investment to M1 500.
Kotola says she had always been fascinated by the idea of shares although she had a fleeting knowledge of how the ‘whole thing’ worked.

She had picked that idea from her mother when she was a baby-faced 14-year-old.
Her mother had gotten that gem of knowledge from her own uncle, Ntate Machobane, an astute businessman in his own right.
Her mother would always tell her that it was not a good idea to invest in insurance schemes and that one has got to buy shares in companies.
Although Kotola had no clue how shares worked, that lesson told to her when she was in her early teens, stuck for life.

“I heard something out of the ordinary and always wondered how the whole thing worked.”
A decade later, when she was now a student at the Institute of Extra-Mural Studies (IEMS) studying Business Studies, that opportunity to buy shares literally knocked on her door.
And she quickly grabbed it with both hands.

“I had no means to get a lot of money to buy a chunk of shares,” she says. “I had no savings, all that we had as a family, we ate.”
Yet that hand-to-mouth lifestyle did not prove to be a stumbling block in Kotola’s dream to own shares in the new company.
“I had to think hard how I was going to get the money and I thought, ‘how about I take all the money that was meant for the books?’.”
And that is what she did.

“I decided I would take that money, invest it, and go and read at the library at the UN House.”
“I took a risk and believe me, that was not easy.”
That was in 2000. And for the next three years, Kotola patiently waited for her efforts to bear fruit.

It was a long, painful wait that tested her faith and endurance.
But after three years of patience, her faith in the project was finally rewarded when she received her first cheque.
“There was a lot of excitement. This was a first of its kind in Lesotho that would provide a stable income for us as Basotho,” she says.
“When we were sitting for our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and heard that Sekhametsi Investment Consortium was looking for other ventures, I knew my future was in a safe place.”

Did she ever think at any time that she had been duped?
“That thought never crossed my mind,” she says before bursting into a joyous laughter.
“I was too young and had not been cheated before. Besides, there was an office and I had personally gone there and was convinced that the project would succeed.”

Twenty years down the line, Kotola never stops being thankful to the visionary leadership at Sekhametsi Investment Consortium that economically empowered a huge chunk of ordinary Basotho nationals.
This is a project that has had massive transformative power in the lives of ordinary Basotho, she says.
“We had people who had a vision, not just for themselves, but for the whole nation. I am really grateful and thankful to them,” she says.

When Kotola received her dividend in 2017, she took her mother, who was then 72-years-old, to Cape Town as a gesture of thankfulness.
“I took the whole family to Cape Town for a week; we wanted to relax and have fun and say thank you to my mum for her sacrifices,” she says. “It was time for her to reap the harvest.”

Despite the happy returns, Kotola has never stopped investing.
She says she is like an ant that never stops gathering in preparation for winter.

“I continue to reinvest my money in other projects.”
Born in Maseru 46 years ago, Kotola grew up in the village raising cattle and goats. It was a lonely exercise that tested her patience.
She would be teased that she was a “shepherdess”, a menial task often done by boys in Lesotho.
Such hardships only appear to have hardened Kotola’s resolve to conquer against all adversities.

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