The future is what you make it

The future is what you make it

MASERU

ELIZA Matšumunyane’s face lights up when she talks about her shares in Sekhametsi Investment Consortium (SMIC).
“I made the investment by chance. Maybe it was luck,” Matšumunyane says.
Yet she will be the first to admit that it took much persuasion for her to warm up to the idea of buying shares. She has her brother-in-law to thank for insisting that she makes the investment.

“At that time, I knew nothing about the shares and I was sceptical when my brother-in-law kept pushing me to invest.”
Matšumunyane eventually relented and invested M7 000, which she took from her savings and salary at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) where she was a lecturer.
Once sold on the idea Matšumunyane tried to recruit friends and relatives to invest but they were reluctant.

Their reservations were not without reason. Matšumunyane recalls that some of those she approached were “afraid this was just another scheme to cheat them”.
“I could understand where they were coming from. At that time there were several pyramid schemes that were fleecing people,” she says.
Matšumunyane says she only took the chance because she believed her brother-in-law’s word.

But there was also a sense of urgency about her decision. She had joined NUL at an advanced age of 51 and did not have a pension or much savings.
“I was scared of being a pensioner with no pension.”
Today Matšumunyane comfortably survives on the SMIC dividends.
It has however taken patience and perseverance to wait for those dividends.

There was a time, she says, when she thought nothing would come of her investment.
“We had to wait for some time before we started getting the dividend. My brother-in-law kept telling me to be patient because good times were coming,” she says.
It also helped that the consortium was religiously having annual meetings to brief the shareholders about progress on their investments.
“Although the first dividends were not much, we knew that we needed a strong foundation to build something strong.”

The good times her brother-in-law predicted have arrived.
The sacrifices of Matšumunyane and that of other shareholders are paying off.
Matšumunyane says she built two flats in her yard when she was working at the NUL.
“Those houses are not bringing much but they give me enough to pay the bills and help me save the dividends”.

Matšumunyane says without the SMIC investment she would have been a miserable pensioner “begging from relatives”.
“I always tell my relatives and friends that without Sekhametsi I would have died of hunger and stress a long time ago”.
She is now encouraging people to collaborate and build companies.

“They must know the value of investing. I want more people to invest.”
She says over the years she has understood the difference between “merely saving and investing”.
“The young people should understand that with saving you are parking your money to get a small return. But with investment you are taking a risk that might lead to significant growth on your income.”

Matšumunyane spends her day reading the Bible and newspapers. It is because of her investment that she can afford such a blissful retirement.
She still closely watches SMIC’s activities and has no intention of selling her shares.

“I want to continue seeing growth. I know they are always looking for ways to grow our investment and I am proud to be part of a group of people who are always thinking about the future.”

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