Multitudes of Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST) students converged at the school auditorium on Saturday November 30th for a chat with invited motivational speakers. The interactive session, dubbed HELLO WORLD Motivational Talks, is an annual event aimed at grooming students and preparing them for the world after completion of their studies. It also sensitizes aspiring scientists and engineers on challenges that they may face after graduating such as rejection, unemployment and most importantly how to break into various industries besides their chosen disciplines.
Motivational speakers at this year’s event were Lerato Motshwarakgole, Resego Motlhokathari and Moatlhodi Sebabole. They shared personal and work experiences. According to the Student Representative Council Minister of Publicity and Communications, Thato Kago Moeng, HELLO WORLD is a student initiative which was started in 2017 by Mogaisi Hulela (BIUST SRC: Minister of Publicity and Communications 2017) and handed to Rebaone Phuti (BIUST SRC: Minister of Publicity and Communications 2018) for the second season. The Saturday event, which was the third installment was organized by herself. She added that HELLO WORLD is an opportunity to develop students’ soft skills in order to be unique, competent and industry ready graduates.
In his remarks, BUIST Vice Chancellor, Professor Otlogetswe Totolo said the 2019 BUIST Hello World Motivational Talks brought together a group of renowned speakers from different spheres of the society and economy to motivate and positively give his students the ingredients to a successful future through their experiences. He told the attendants that the event was a fitting stimulant to students, to appreciate thinking outside the box and help them to maximize on existing opportunities that can widen their positive social networks and contacts. He added that it also provided a platform for students to interact and harness valuable information from role models and in return acquire valuable life skills.
Totolo explained that the motivational talks were an important vehicle to further extend their grand strategy towards being a premier research-based University of Science, Engineering and Technology through engagement for development.
He pointed out that as laid out in Botswana’s Long-Term Vision of 2036, Botswana sees herself to be a high-income country, with an export-led economy underpinned by diversified, exclusive and sustainable growth driven by high levels of productivity. “This will be attained by developing a robust knowledge based economy, human capital, ease of doing business and competitiveness, infrastructure development and most importantly through a vibrant, learned and confident society.” He said by hosting such an event they were giving little but invaluable contribution to the attainment of this prosperity for all by 2036. “In hosting and supporting this initiative, our University is playing its primary role of driving Botswana towards an all rounded students and graduates towards our envisaged and achievable knowledge based economy,” he said.
When sharing her life journey one of the speakers, Lerato Motshwarakgole, a graduate of Harvard University revealed that life has not always been rosy. She said her teachers never believed in her abilities. “I was labeled as somebody who would never amount to anything in life because I was not excelling in my Mathematics and Science subjects.” She said much to her dismay she discovered that at high school, intelligence was viewed as the ability to be good in the sciences, regardless of a student’s other abilities. She said despite those demoralizing words she soldiered on and later discovered her purpose when she enrolled for acting studies at University of Cape Town. It was in South Africa while pursuing acting that she fell in love with education and discovered different theories. “I excelled in acting and graduated at the top of my class”, she told them. She encouraged the students to be multifaceted and spread their wings. “Just because you are a Science student, does not mean you should not pursue other disciplines unrelated to sciences. I implore you not box yourselves but rather to free yourselves to explore your other hidden abilities. I would like you to explore yourselves in the world, your relationships, and your intelligences, to get into dialogues with leaders on how we can form partnerships with institutions of higher learning across the world. You must explore how you can be global citizens and how to take the Motswana narrative outside and how to attain this doctrine of multi-disciplinary learning.”
For his part, First National Bank of Botswana Chief Economist, Moatlhodi Sebabole pointed out to the students that as diverse human beings they must tap into different fields and areas to enable them to reach their maximum potential. Narrating his life story, the Economist said his mother retired as a Government Cleaner, the lowest paid position in the Public service sector. He said that that reality did not however become a deterrent to his dreams of a prosperous future. “We should not stick to the script that the environment tends to put before us and let it define us and we find that we have boxed ourselves in. Don’t feel unworthy because your parents didn’t achieve much. Create a new reality and future for yourself. It doesn’t matter in which spectrum of poverty you are in, it is about the reality you want to create and work towards. Sebabole, raised from a humble background, told the students that he attained his position as FNBB chief economist through hardwork and perseverance. He said his recent appointment as chairperson of Botswana’s National Strategy Team was also testament of diligence. He encouraged the attendants to start believing in themselves and to utilize their time effectively because it is a valuable commodity.
Resego Motlhokathari, an entrepreneur and brand ambassador to well-known brands also encouraged the students to tap into other different markets and industries. He also advised them that monetary compensation should never be the only motivation for choosing a career. “Do what you love and the rest will fall into place.”