Seizing the opportunity

Seizing the opportunity

MASERU

IT was the fear of what would happen after retirement that gave her sleepless nights.
What if her pension was not big enough to take care of her needs? Would she continue to enjoy the same standard of living she had enjoyed whilst working?

These were the questions that gave Dr ’Mamotsotuoa Makoa headaches as she slowly edged towards the end of her long and illustrious academic career.
With retirement beckoning on the horizon, she knew it was time to start planning for her future.
That was 20 years ago. Dr Makoa was 53 then.
And so, when she heard that Sekhametsi Investment Consortium (SMIC) was looking for investors to buy shares, she quickly grabbed the opportunity.

She laughs after she is asked how much she pumped in, only telling us that “it was a substantial amount of money”.
“We saw this as a great opportunity to invest in our future,” she says.
“We were already getting old at that time and were not sure what we would do after retirement. And when that opportunity came, we knew this was a time for us to seize the opportunity.”

However, for the next three years the investment did not yield anything.
“I was becoming a bit uncomfortable. But my only consolation was that there were so many of us who had invested,” she says.
Did the thought that she had been cheated ever cross her mind?
“Not at all,” she says.
“When we attended our first Annual General Meeting I realised this was a big organisation. That was my consolation,” she says.

Twenty years after she invested her money in Sekhametsi Investment Consortium, Makoa is glowing with excitement, happy that she invested wisely.
She says her lifestyle has not gone down even though she is now in retirement. Makoa retired from the National University of Lesotho where she was a lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences in 2013.
Her husband, Professor Kopano Makoa, was also a lecturer in political science at the same institution.
“The investment has helped me to maintain living standards that I enjoyed while I was working,” she says.

She says if she was given another chance, she would still invest again in Sekhametsi Consortium.
Even though the Makoas had a strong academic background, she admits they had very little knowledge of how investments worked in the world of commerce and business.
“We were coming from a different profession and we had no idea how investments were run,” she says.

But thanks to a diverse team, a blend of young and old talents, “we learnt a lot during the AGMs”.
“It has been a good learning experience,” she says.
Dr Makoa grew up in abject poverty in a rural village in Leribe district. She together with the rest of her family would wake up at 6am to go to the fields to remove the weeds.

It was back-breaking work which she never enjoyed.
But she knew of no other alternative and accepted her fate as the norm.
When her parents sent her to school, she knew this was her only ticket out of the grip of poverty. And so, she threw all her intellectual prowess into her studies.

She was to later train as a nurse at the then Queen Elizabeth II School of Nursing in 1966. She later enrolled in a programme as a teacher in nursing at the Royal College of Nursing in London.
She then did a BSc in Nursing at the Catholic University of America in Washington. After that she did a Masters’ in Public Health at Boston University. Makoa holds a PhD in Nursing from Unisa.

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