By Wilfred Isak April
WINDHOEK – As I was doing my research and reflecting on all that happened this year, I realised I did not honour Namibian women. Honouring our women was critical this month, as many women around the world are still celebrating the month of breast and ovarian cancer.
I was looking in particular for women who are successful in business to share their stories with you all, so that you too can be inspired and rise above all obstacles.
The story that really caught my eye was that of a successful woman entrepreneur in neighboring Botswana with the name of Tebo Dambe. By now some readers, will be asking why Botswana? Why not me?
Last week I gave you all the tasks to look yourself in the mirror and I hope your vision has expanded about business and where you see yourself in five years from now.
This story of Tebo Dambe is significant because she says: You don’t need a big store and a lot of money to be successful. All you need is a dream, a plan and Internet.
Tebo Dambe’s inspiration draws back to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. As a Namibian, how much do you really remember from last year’s Olympic Games?
Most of us probably remember Usain Bolt, but for this upcoming entrepreneur in Southern Africa, it was watching the Botswana team marching in the opening ceremony wearing her designs.
She was happy to see her designs among renowned designers like Stella McCartney, Armani, and Ralph Lauren to name just a few.
Seeing fellow Batswana parading down the track brought back memories about the hardships that came before it.
It was a painful journey from Botswana to the United States and back again. Tebo Dambe was awarded a scholarship by the Botswana government to study in San Francisco (USA) and her dreams began to take shape.
When she returned to Botswana after graduation things did not work out and she went back to the United States and worked as a marketing director for an architectural firm.
However, when the market crashed she was fired and that was the lowest point in her life. Doing soul searching and constantly looking herself in the mirror, she manages to find her initial passion; that of being an artist.
She has been drawing and painting since she was a little girl. Dambe learned as much as possible in university about how to run her business. She learned how to do business cards, logos and create websites.
At times she would take pictures of her friends wearing designs and post them on the social media sites. Just as all seemed gloomy, disaster struck again; as she was involved in a car accident and her car was burned to ashes. There she learned that materialistic things were not that important.
All hope was not lost as Dambe even worked harder and today she has dressed the ambassador of Botswana and also been photographed with President Barack Obama.
In 2012 Dambe won the national competition to dress the Botswana Olympic Team. Her current goal is to conquer Africa, as she believes this is her place of birth and we would appreciate her designs even more.
Dambe hopes her clothes will fly off the shelves faster than Usain Bolt flies off the starting block.
Namibians, a lot can be learned from Dambe’s story.
I personally believe Namibian women can also design for ambassadors and also for our Namibian Head of State.
This is not only a story about success, but it is a story about perseverance, persistence and patience. In addition it is a story about an African woman for Africans.
It is my sincere hope this story has brought back life and hope to all those affected and infected by cancer.
• Dr Wilfred Isak April holds a PhD (Entrepreneurship) from New Zealand and currently lectures Organizational Behaviour, Entrepreneurship and Leadership at the University of Namibia.