GABORONE, BOTSWANA – Many entrepreneurs around the world continue to thrive despite the vexing economic challenges. It is often said, “you don’t succeed as an entrepreneur by doing the same thing everyone else is doing,” and this saying could ever ring true for one Phenyo Motsumi (29), a restaurant manager at Europa café in one of Gaborone’s lavish malls dubbed Airport Junction.
Having worked as a restaurateur for the past 7, Motsumi has steadily grown through the ranks to now becoming a manager at one of Gaborone’s upmarket cafés. Motsumi admits he didn’t do well in his Botswana General Certificate of secondary Education (BGCSE) exams in 2008 hence opportunities became scarce for him.
He says reality sank in when his pals went to do their first year at varsity and he stayed home. “It was hard. Unemployment figures were high. However, I dusted myself off, stood up and formulating ways of survival.”
“I was recommended by a great friend of mine Tshimologo Magwegwe (MHSRIP). He is the one who told me that there is a new restaurant opening soon at Airport Junction. He gave me the then manager’s number and we met for an interview. Europa opened its doors and I was employed as a waiter.
In 2014, I was promoted to be a lead waiter. Lead waiter is personnel when a manager isn’t present or is busy with other tasks, they are responsible for resolving customer complaints with the food or service. For food issues, the lead waiter makes sure an unhappy guest receives his meal properly prepared or modified to his satisfaction.”
Lady luck continued to be on Motsumi’s side as in 2018 he was promoted to be the manager. That means I have been with Europa for 7 consecutive years,” Motsumi recalls.
Despite having a job and earning a living, he still yearns to become an air host and travel the world.
“As a person you should always have dreams and air hosting as it similar to waitressing became consistent in my thinking. Both jobs have similarities most importantly same skills but more paying than waitressing so I wanted to switch between the two however I haven’t been successful.”
His 7 years in the industry has opened a new perspective for the Kopong-born native. His career has seen him interact with some of the country’s influential citizenries and internationals among them; President Mokweetsi Masisi, former president Festus Mogae, Dr. Gaositwe Chiepe, Daniel Kwelagobe, Dorcus Makgatho, Joy Phumaphi, Gloria Somolekae, Kenneth Matambo, Slumber Tsogwane. Tebogo Masire, Pelonomi Venson~Moitoi, Guma Moyo, Dineo Ranaka and many more.
“They always advise me not to give up in life, to keep on aiming high and learn the art of starting small. We all know that remunerations in this business are not that satisfactory, but one has to develop passion for it and when that happens it’s never about the money. Coming from a single parent family I knew survival is upon me either way so I have to elevate even with some limitations.
So from the lessons I got from customers I started saving money firstly to further my education because I have developed interest in the restaurant business and I need skills to run mine one day. I have a Sales and Marketing certificate from Gaborone University College and currently doing another certificate in Public Relations at the same institution.” Besides running his restaurant in future, Motsumi would like to become an estate mogul one day.
“I am currently developing my residential plot to turn into a business with multi-residential for renting them out to those seeking accommodation. I would then use it as surety to expand. I also dream to own a house in Gaborone or surrounding areas. Since property is one of the sustainable business. I also would love to own one of the big restaurants or a 5-star hotel having been in the hospitality industry for so long it will be one of greatest things.”