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A weighty responsibility on young shoulders

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MASERU – WHILE children of wealthy people all over the world usually fight over inheritance of material possessions, Dato Tiffanee Lim went for something better. Lim inherited her parents’ brains.

Lim, the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology’s global vice-president and founder’s daughter, knowingly or unknowingly, designed her own destiny.

Tiffanee Lim, 30, a carefree young woman who interacts with everyone and laughs at jokes, made education her pillar of strength instead of making her wealthy parents her gold mine.

She grew up with the knowledge that she had to earn what she puts in her purse through hard work and she focused on her studies.

She is not the vice-president of the international university merely because her father, the late Professor Lim Kok Wing, founded it but because she qualifies irrespective of her young age.

“Growing up in an environment of academics, I was exposed to high quality conversations which shaped my career today,” Lim told thepost in an exclusive interview last Thursday.

Lim says she has been working hard to push the vision of her late father.

Besides being a Chief Brand Officer of the Limkokwing University, she is an author of several books including Think With Your Heart, The Mind Speaks and Late Have I loved Thee.

She is also a fashion designer who has participated in big international fashion shows such as the New York Week fashion show.

Lim explains that she was surrounded by highly educated people since her childhood.

“Both my parents are academics,” she says.

Lim was exposed to the campus life at a very young age due to her father’s position as the founder of the university.

“I remember growing up in this office which was the university,” she says.

At the age of 12, Lim was taken to the United Kingdom to study. She came back and joined the university at the age of 16 as a student in professional communication. She graduated at the age of 20. Lim says she started working while she was a university student.

“When I was a student, I was already like a student ambassador. I had interest in whatever that was going on,” she says.

When she was 21, she published her first book.

“I have now published four books,” she says.

She says she later moved from being a reader to a publisher. Lim says she was raised in a family where reading was the norm. She then developed a love for magazines. She says at a very young age, she developed a passion to learn how to produce magazines and being in the magazine as well.

“I was the first person to be featured in Vogue Magazine,’’ she says.

She says she spent a year working at Invoke, a Malaysian non-profit organisation founded by the Vice President of the People’s Justice Party (PKP). She holds a Master’s Degree in Fashion Design.
“I made myself a fashion designer as well,” she says.

She started several fashion labels.At the age of 20, she launched her first fashion label. Tiffane says she then ventured into retailing where the brand has spread into several countries including Lesotho. She says through this brand, they managed to open six stores in the world including in London and Indonesia.

“We became the first Malaysian company to become available online on the biggest international websites,” she says.

She says she has been working hard to push for the participation of students in international fashion shows.

“We also participate in London fashion week each year including the China and Japan fashion shows,” she says.

She says she is seeking to host Africa’s biggest fashion shows which will start in Lesotho.

“I believe it will make international news and show great talent from here,” she says.

Tiffane further says the university was able to participate in a fashion week in New York.

“We became the first university in Malaysia to independently showcase our fashion products in New York City,’’ she says.

Tiffane says for the past few years her focus has been on talent development. She says she was privileged to be trained by the best people in the world. This has instilled the passion to spot talent, anchoring and guiding young growing entrepreneurs to be the best.

She says since the university is broad, it allows an individual to bring all the knowledge altogether. Tiffane says she was able to bring together her working skills as well as fashion skills while pursuing a communication career.

“This benefited me a lot,” she says.

She says the university is global, it has allowed her to build a bigger network in various countries. She says when she came from the UK, she was surprised by the number of foreigners. However, she says she came to understand why people move from their countries to Malaysia.

“I came to realise that the founder was a special person,” she says.

However, she says being a daughter of the president was tough.

“If I didn’t go to class or I was late, everyone would know. They made it a point that they let me know,” she says.

The founder was a visionary man, a good designer and effective at his business. Tiffane says this piled some pressure on her since people expect her to excel. She says her father’s death has left a huge void in her life.

She says her late father was her guide, mentor and inspiration. Tiffane says it has been a huge challenge for her to inherit the university as a young woman. She says there is pressure both internally and externally to be at the same level as people with more experience.

Teffani says most of the leaders in the industry are men. She further says even the decision makers, policy makers, legislation makers and accreditation bodies are led by men.

“Being on one table with senior people who are even double my age, it’s so challenging as a young woman,” she says.

As a young female in this industry, she says one has to be conscious about these things all the time. She says her late father, Dr Lim Kok Wing, had a huge impact in the lives of people.

“This also naturally puts pressure on me,” she says.

Tiffane says the mission for the university remains huge. She says it can sometimes be a challenge to talk about technology because it moves quicker than the accreditation.

Refiloe Mpobole

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Vodacom gives to schools

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MASERU – FIVE schools in Malea-Lea area in Mafeteng received a gift of 20 computers from the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation last Friday.

Vodacom Lesotho has also provided the schools with free unlimited internet as part of its corporate social responsibility.

The company also donated a fully furnished computer laboratory worth M1.2 million, including solar energy to the Malea-Lea community in Mafeteng.

The computer lab will serve Malea-Lea Primary, Litšokeleng Primary, Makhetheng Primary and Botšoela Primary Schools as well as Malea-lea Secondary School.

The principal for Malea-Lea Secondary School, ’Masechaba Sekhesa, said computer studies are in their syllabus and this donation will help the teachers and students to access technology which will in turn improve their education and attract more sponsors in their schools.

“These will also encourage the communities to stop taking their children to schools outside Malea-Lea,” Sekhesa said.

“This will increase the number of students in our schools,” she said.

The Principal of Makhetheng Primary School, Thato Phethoka, said lack of computers has not only affected students’ education but also the teachers who had to spend their money to deliver education. He said in 2020, Covid-19 pandemic knocked them down even more.

He said after the lockdown was introduced in schools, education moved to digital platforms.

“In the absence of electricity in the community coupled with high unemployment which hinders parents from buying phones for their children, we had to find a way to deliver education,” Phethoka said.

“Teachers were forced by circumstances to use their own funds to buy data to do the research and download materials through their phones,” he said.

He said for an average class of 26 students, teachers had to spend their money to print the assignments for students which would cost M2 per copy.

Phethoka said even the computer centre present in Malea-Lea is a one hour walk away which discouraged students.

However, he said the presence of this new facility would help teachers and students to access the internet and research to improve education which is a 30 minutes’ walk from their school.

The Director of Malea-Lea Development Trust Fund, Khotso Au, said they only had 20 computers.

Au said in a day they would have more than 25 students and due to the shortage of computers, some would have to share.

He said the other challenge was that the facility had to buy contract data of 400 GB which cost M1 900.

He said although the facility has donors, it was still challenging to take out that huge sum of money since they also have other projects.

He said the schools’ performance has been bad and this discourages donors since they have to submit reports on students they are sponsoring.

He said he believes the presence of these new computers and access to the internet will help the students to access the internet for research and improve the education in the area.

Vodacom Lesotho’s corporate affairs executive head, Tšepo Ntaopane, said they had provided solar energy to help power the computers. They will also provide the schools with free data.

“We are seeking to give away other computers in other schools and communities to ensure that every Mosotho has access to technology,” Ntaopane said.

“We want to build a technology driven economy,” he said, adding that they are “willing to take out what we have to assist Basotho”.

Refiloe Mpobole

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New mobile filling stations on the cards

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MASERU – THE Petroleum Fund has introduced mobile filling stations that have a higher life span.

The new filling stations have a life span of more than 50 years compared to traditional filling stations that have a life span of around 15 years, according to the Petroleum Fund’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Rorisang Mahlo,

Mahlo said the outstanding features of this new investment include a petroleum tank which is stored in fabricated containers, unlike the traditional filling stations where the petroleum tank is underground.

“This exposure to more chemical reactions shortens the life span,” Mahlo said.

Mahlo said the mobile filling stations are also covered with layers which include the ordinary layer and upper layer which is resistant to fire.

“This makes them more advantageous than the traditional ones,” he said.

He said the traditional filling stations come in one size while the mobile filling stations come in various sizes which make them more business viable and flexible.

In his welcoming remarks, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Petroleum Fund, Thato Mohasoa, said the major objective of the institution is to ensure security supply of petroleum products in the country.

He said they are expected to facilitate the improvement of the distribution and accessibility of those products throughout the country.

Mohasoa said the Petroleum Fund realised that there was a need to assess the extent of the supply shortage of petroleum products in the country.

He said one of the projects that were recommended for consideration were the Mobile Filling Stations in underserviced and remote parts of the country.

He said the mobile filling station is intended to create opportunities for investment and jobs for local people while ensuring the security of supply of petroleum products in the country. He said this will in turn stimulate the country’s economy.

The Operations Manager at Petroleum Fund, Lebohang Makhoali, said the petroleum sector’s needs analysis was completed in 2020 to identify gaps within the Petroleum Fund mandate. Amongst others, a mobile filling station project was recommended.

He said the mobile filling station will increase local ownership and assist in building local capacity and training of local entrepreneurs. He said the estimated capital required to establish a mobile filling station in these sites range from M1.2 million to M1.7 million.

He said this entails the facility infrastructure, a fuel management system and a payment system. Makhoali said these filling stations are best investments for highlands and rural parts of Lesotho since they will not compete with the existing traditional filling stations as a set radius will be determined.

“It is a low investment expenditure compared to a traditional filling station,” he said.

The Petroleum Fund Officer ’Makhauta Fosa said once the policies and regulatory frameworks have been formulated, the companies will be issued with business licenses. However, he said an applicant must have business registration documents as issued by the Registrar of Businesses in Lesotho.

She said before the construction can start, applicants must have a building permit and apply for the certificate of occupancy as the construction continues. Fosa said an applicant must have a supply contract with a licensed oil company.

“A filling station is not allowed to have more than one supplier,’’ she said.

An applicant must submit a written application for a trading licence to the Department of Energy.

Refiloe Mpobole

 

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MMB workers down tools

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MASERU – WORKERS at the Maluti Mountain Brewery (MMB) downed tools from Monday this week demanding a 20 percent raise on their salaries.

The MMB’s legal officer, ’Mapulumo Mosisili, however insisted that the strike will not affect the company’s daily operations.

Mosisili said they had “already put in place measures to continue with our job smoothly”.

“We are doing our best to ensure that the strike does not affect us,” Mosisili said.

She said the process started through the Wages Board in August where they tried to explain the company’s financial situation to the workers.

“But it is their right to strike,” Mosisili said. She said the 20 percent increment the workers are demanding is not affordable because “everything has become expensive now, like water and electricity”.

The company had promised a 4.6% salary increment but the workers opposed the proposal

She said no company has given the employees a salary rise above the inflation rate due to a lack of finances.

The MMB workers launched their strike by blocking the company’s gates with trucks and singing protest songs.

One of the songs they were signing while holding their placards says Mona ha rea tlela masaoana, which translates to “We are not here for fun”.

Their placards were written Ha re batle 4.6% e nyane, which translates to “We do not want 4.6% increment because it is too
little”.

Another was written Re kopa moputso o phelisang which translates to, “We are asking for enough salaries to earn a living”.

One of the workers, Mohafa Malefane, said the prices of basic commodities have increased which requires that workers get enough salaries for them to cope.

“He (the employer) says he will offer only 4.6 percent, we do not want that, it is not enough,” Malefane said.

Malefane said they ended up striking because their employer has clarified that he will not give them the 20 percent they are demanding.

He added that last year they received a four percent salary increment.

“It was still below the inflation rate as it was seven percent then,” he said.

He said the striking departments include brewing, packaging, logistics, and utilities.

“It’s just that some workers in the distribution department have turned their backs on us, they are busy working now,” he said.

The employees’ representative, Fokothi Thite, told thepost that the lowest-earning employee gets M2 000.

“If they add their 4.6 percent it will make a difference of only M80. We will not allow that,” Thite said.

He stated that at least the 20 percent they propose will raise their salary from M2 000 to M2 400.

“The salaries we are paid here are spent on transport to bring us to work and take us back to our homes, and nothing else,” he
said.

He also said they approached the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Reconciliation (DDPR) and their management to fix the matter “but no one listened”.

“We will stand here and sing until 2023.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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