Interior Designer, Val Interiors, 2008
Diploma in Interior Design
I met the best lecturers at Limkokwing University and had the best of friends from the students here. Limkokwing University has helped a lot in making me a better person, because I became more confident in myself.
24 November 2008
Bringing Design to Botswana
Written by Shalindri Malawana
After her years in school, Tebogo Modigasape won a scholarship from the government of Botswana to pursue her studies in Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. Since then, her life has never been the same. Shalindri Malawana tells her story.
Hailing from Serowe, Botswana, Tebogo Modigasape joined Limkokwing University of Creative Technology to pursue her dream of being an interior designer. Today, she is the owner and director of Val Interiors.
“When I was young, I used to reposition things in the house. You could call it a kind of interior decorating!” she said, on the subject of whether she went into interior design knowing that was what she wanted to do in her life.
When I was young, I used to reposition things in the house. You could call it a kind of interior decorating!
Tebogo describes herself as someone who is hardworking, focused, enthusiastic, creative and passionate at what she does and is willing to go the extra mile to take risks. Deriving her inspiration and zeal for life from her mother who, among others, continually serve as sources of positive energy, Tebogo defines success as being able to achieve what was previously unachievable.
That zeal for life has certainly made Tebogo shine in both her academic and professional life. Tebogo’s excellent track record as a student won her a sponsorship from the government of Botswana, enabling her to travel from her home country to Malaysia in order to pursue a Diploma in Interior Design at Limkokwing University, which she graduated from in 2001.
During her years as a student, Tebogo continued her academic excellence and her outstanding performance earned her a Young Achievers Award in the very same year.
“I met the best lecturers at Limkokwing University and had the best of friends from the students here,” she said, on the early years of her life as a student in Limkokwing University, “I must say that I was no longer homesick because I made a new family here in Limkokwing University.”
Tebogo also adds that the environment at Limkokwing University was helpful in inspiring and motivating creativity. “Limkokwing University has helped a lot in making me a better person, because I became more confident in myself,” she said.
Tebogo did not leap into the workforce immediately after graduating from Limkokwing University. Taking her Diploma in Interior Design, she took flight to Australia where she furthered her studies and acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture.
Some of the interns I’ve trained included four students from Limkokwing University, three from the Botswana University, and one from a design centre in South Africa
It was only after completing her degree that Tebogo decided to return to Botswana. There, she joined a company called Sasa Interiors, which was then only a small company of only two designers: the managing director and herself.
Being part of a very young company, Tebogo had to multitask and prides herself in being a jack of all trades. “I did design implementation, supervision, train interns, and also do marketing for the company by designing its flyers and brochures,” she said.
“Some of the interns I’ve trained included four students from Limkokwing University, three from the Botswana University, and one from a design centre in South Africa,” she added.
Sasa Interiors had a wide portfolio of projects in Botswana, with projects that cover retail, corporate and residential buildings. In fact, Tebogo has experience with designing for projects that are located at the mines.
“While I was at Sasa Interiors, I designed for three projects that were located at the mines,” she explained.
Her time at Sasa Interiors taught her how to manage and run a company, and she eventually decided to open her own company, Val Interiors, in January 2009.
“It was not easy then because I opened it in the heart of the financial crunch, which affected a lot of companies in Botswana,” she said, “but I managed to secure clients anyway, and at this point I am in the process of negotiating a deal with a hair salon that will be approved very soon.”
Tebogo does not wax lyrical about the challenges that face anyone who intends to open up his or her own company. Explaining that one needs perseverance, hard work, and a lot of patience, she explains that there have been many times when she would be requested to come up with a proposal only to have the client disregard without paying any consultation fee.
all else, she also cautions that it is not easy to come up with start-up capital for a new company. Nevertheless, the challenges that she has been experiencing are part of a necessary learning curve to make herself better.
You must be willing to go the extra mile and be creative and passionate about what you do
She offers anyone who wishes to step into interior design in Botswana a bit of advice: “Prepare to work endlessly hard and take up business courses in case you wish to start your own companies. You must also gain experience from reputable companies before deciding to start up one of your own.”
Last but not least, Tebogo concludes our interview with these words, “You must be willing to go the extra mile and be creative and passionate about what you do.”