The inspirational Lerato Lala Tebogo has come a long way. From commanding attention as a beauty queen at the time she was crowned Miss Botswana 2005,making it to Top 20 at Miss World to calling the shots at a prominent PR firm in Gaborone. WeekendLife Editor DAVE BAAITSE sat down with the now General Manager of RedPepper PRC to discuss the secret of her success story and her being an inspiration to young girls.
Sitting across from Tebogo in her office which she just occupied seven months back, one cannot help but recall the crowning night back in 2005, where a 20 year old Tebogo strutted her stuff on the ramp, before being declared the fairest of them all. Fast forward to 10 years later, she still has the looks and touch of a beauty queen, only now she is a queen in the corporate world.
“As women in leadership positions we always have to double work so as to be recognised the same as our male counterparts in this industry,” she said. She believes that in the communications industry which is now seemingly clouded, one has to find their place in the market and the value you bring to the client should set you apart from other players. Her success is anchored around strategy.
Her biggest breakthrough as a General Manager came towards BOT 50 celebrations last year where Red Pepper was tasked with the preparations geared towards the celebrations. According to the report released by BOT 50 prior to the big event, Red Pepper was engaged for the services of opening ceremony choreography as well as directing and coordinating the celebrations. This was a staggering multi- million pula tender that was geared towards giving Batswana the best independence celebrations ever.
According to her the scale was too big and it challenged them a lot. As the face of the company, she is tasked with two basic things; the Technical, which is to do with clients’ accounts and the Operational which is more hands on, ensuring that the business runs efficiently and being able to compete in the industry.
A family woman, she has to strike a balance between her work and the family. Working from 8 am to 5pm or longer, she believes in work life integration. The mother of one daughter says when she is home she applies her mind fully to her family and does the same while at the workplace. This year will mark three years in marriage for her. She says when she is not at work, she prefers to spend quality time with her family at home and not to travel.
According to the former beauty queen, on a daily basis she receives calls and messages from young girls who see her as an inspiration seeking her advice on various matters. With a grin, she reveals that she is always more than willing to help them more especially in this era where they are faced with a lot of challenges ranging from drug abuse and the new trends of blessers.
“I would say we are very lucky to have grown up at a time where these things were very minimal,” she asserted. Tebogo has over the years become an influential personality in the entertainment industry in Botswana, hosting some of the most prestigious events in the entertainment, sporting and television calendars. Amongst her achievements, she was appointed MC for the BeMOBILE Premier League Awards (2011), Miss Botswana 2007 and 2012, the Barloworld Women’s Day Talkshow (2014), the Property Expo Conference in 2014, Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) Awards in 2014 and 2015 and Virgin Active Botswana Brand Ambassador 2016.
A TV Presenter – MC – Public Speaker – Model – Brand Ambassador – Voice Over Artist and Philanthropist, Tebogo has a spark that inspires. From her days as a continuity television presenter on Botswana Television, she has grown to understand the needs of the various audiences she engages. She was the host of the country’s first televised reality modelling and beauty search, Gemstones in 2009/10, and presented E-Zone, Botswana’s premier lifestyle and entertainment programme on Mzansi Magic (then Africa Magic) in 2008.
Tebogo is a staunch believer in the vibrancy and dynamism of women and their power to make a tangible difference in the world. It was in this spirit that she was a consulting groomer and coach for Miss Botswana from 2008 to 2012. She mentored Miss Botswana 2010 Sumaiyah Marope and Miss Botswana 2011, Emma Wareus, in their preparation for participation at the Miss World pageant, where Emma won the title of 1st Princess.
She has also cultivated a signature style, and has been a photography and ramp model for the past 10 years. She has worn the creations of some of Africa’s most talented, young fashion designers, including Lesedi Matlapeng, Aobakwe Molosiwa, and Mothusi Lesolle. She was also selected as one of the showstopper models at the President’s Day Fashion Show in 2015, and has walked the ramp in a Taibo Bacar design at the Lansmore Wedding and Fashion Expo 2015.
She has an attitude of diligence and air of grace, with a quirky edge. She is well spoken, aware of each audience and able to deliver her message succinctly, with economy of language and an express sharpness of wit. Her interest in people and the languages of expression and connection set the precedent into her evolution into Public Relations. She has worked with blue chip clients in a variety of industries, managing stakeholder engagement and publicity campaigns in areas of Legal, Financial, Beauty, FMCG and Health, and Behavioural Change.
She is currently the spokesperson for the revolutionary SKYGIRLSBW movement, a teen- led movement with a bent towards empowering teenage girls to have autonomy and confidence in themselves. Tebogo is no stranger to the complexities and nuances of modern womanhood. Her role as wife and mother allow her the opportunity to fulfil the roles that hold meaning for her, and still push the boundaries of what she deems the mainstays of her profession as a public speaker, brand ambassador and PR manager.
After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.
On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.
The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.
Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.
The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.
At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.
“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”
The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.
The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.
The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.
However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.
Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.
Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.
“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.
“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”
Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.
Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.
The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.
Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.
Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)
Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.
In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.
“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”
For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”
“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.
Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.
“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.
When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.