A few years ago he took a bold step, sold everything of value that he had and bought a television station. His dream was to become a player in the global village media phenomenon and to prove to the nation that it does not take a foreigner to run a successful private television station.
It has been a bumpy road since but fast forward to 2012 and you will see a forever hard working and content Mike Klinck whose dreams are slowly but surely falling into place. A journalist by profession, Mike, as he is popularly known worked in the local print media for many years, before he took up an executive job with Barclays Bank Botswana for almost two decades. Last Saturday the man who also describes himself as a loner shared his private and business life with The Voice.
CHANGING THE LOCAL TELEVISION LANDSCAPE
Almost 13 years ago you became the first person to be featured in this big interview section and here you are again, welcome back.
Ya, you guys love me, what can I say?
So much has happened since then including your recent victory in the South Africa courts where you were suing SABC and Sentech in your capacity as the Director of e-Botswana for the illegal broadcasting of SABC in Botswana, you must be a happy man.
Of course I am happy, any one would be after any victory, it’s only a matter of time before people say their goodbyes to SABC here in Botswana. E-Botswana has lost so much in business because of their presence and this is also limiting the potential growth of the television industry.
Don’t think Batswana will be amused with you though when they eventually throw away their decoders. Many of them are so much into SABC and worse e-Botswana is not national tv station.
People must just give us a chance to prove ourselves and to show them what we have to offer. We cannot make noise about barring SABC here and even go to an extent of a lawsuit when we have nothing to offer. We have great things lined up and Batswana will be so proud of us as a TV station because they will just love our programmes. Besides, we employ a significant number of talent from our tertiary institutions, SABC does not.
But you are not national?
Within 12 months we will be all over the country.
This has been in the pipeline for years, what guarantee is there that this time around you will indeed go national?
The expansion programme was stalled by our legal engagement with SABC and Sentech now that we have won, nothing is gonna stop us.
So you are monied if not rich seeing that SENTECH was ordered to pay you R10 million and the fact that you are businessman.
You have no idea how many people were trying to be my friends in the week that we won the case, suddenly every Jack and Jill wanted to be Mike’s pal but tell you what I don’t need a whole bunch of friends especially those that are clearly after something. And as a matter of fact I am not rich ke a sokola like most people, this is tough world.
Does that explain why you use a cheap nokia cellphone, when I suspect you can afford a smart if not at least a better phone.
I am so very comfortable in my skin that I don’t need an expensive gadget to feel worthy. I bought my phone for P49 as it was on special and I can call, receive calls and sms just like people with expensive phones. So what’s the fuss with expensive phones when a cheap one can also serve the same purpose.
What kind of a businessman are you?
Not sure what you want to know but what I can tell you is that I am that kind of a businessman who will wait for 15 years to make the first thebe as long as I am doing things right. Some people are quick to make money and end up doing strange and bad things but I am not that type of a person.
How do you spend your money?
I give it away.
To people, if I meet someone on the road and feel they will do with some extra cash I give them.
Why not open a charity organisation then if you feel you need to give away or share your money?
Because I don’t want to, I will not do something because people expect me to, I will only do what makes me happy and what makes me happy is the way I give to people.
And why are you not married Mr Klinck, are we missing something?
Something like what, I have never been married and I will never marry unless of course if God has other plans for me.
Why, but I guess you have someone in your life?
At the moment no, haven’t been in a relationship since March last year
And you haven’t had sex since then?
You can’t ask me that, it’s too personal.
Ok fine, but not having a woman in your life is a matter of choice I guess, don’t think it’s difficult for you to get into a relationship?
Let me tell you something, my last girlfriend was in the security cluster, a very ordinary but loving woman. People thought I was crazy because they expect Mike Klinck to go out with a certain class of people, tell you what I am not after what one has, what job she has or what car she drives, for me it’s the person for who she is.
I hear you, but you haven’t answered my question on why you will never marry, have you been hurt before in this game of love?
(Moments of silence, looks into the horizon, his eyes become teary and after sometime speaks) It’s because of my mother, she has had some very difficult experiences in her life and that has held me back for the last 25 years. I don’t think she had thought of a life without my dad who passed away just after the country got its independence.
She has been through a lot and I don’t even want to think about it, the whole thing is very difficult. For me what my mother has gone through shows that people can never love openly and genuinely.
Maybe you need to give someone a chance to prove you wrong
Never. I am married to my family, my son. When I breathe my last and when I go six feet under these are the people that I would have given my unconditional love, people I would have worked for, the people who would have made my life worth living not some stranger from somewhere.
Oh so you have a son?
Of course, I have a 21- year- old handsome son who is studying law at the UB. He’s the one who is going to inherit everything that I have, from my businesses to my debts.
You are saying businesses, I thought you only had e-Botswana, tell me about others.
I am the managing director of HydroSan Africa, the only company in Africa which distributes health and beauty products from Australia. I have plans which are at an advanced stage to open sub-acute hospitals in Gaborone and Francistown.
I can see you are really building a business empire, want to one day feature in the forbes magazine as one of Africa’s richest?
I am an extreme workaholic, who works from Sunday to Sunday. I can never sleep for more than four hours so most of the time I am working. It’s who I am and I can’t help it. You know things are not as easy as people think, it’s tough to run businesses. I remember there was a time when I almost sold part of my shares from the TV station because things were really bad but my understanding partner talked me against it.
I eventually managed to pull through. And well if one day I get to be a millionaire fair and fine.
Let’s talk spiritual matters, of late most people appear to be taking Christianity much more seriously. We also have prophets all over the show and people becoming born again Christians, are you in the same league?
I am a Catholic and I will never change but yes I do tune in to Emmanuel TV to listen to the great man of God TB Joshua, he is my great source of inspiration because of who he is. People might say things about him but I personally believe that he is a genuine, gifted servant of God and I will always listen to his teachings.
Interesting, but now we need to conclude Mr Klinck, my last question is do you have Asian links because you have features of people from Asia or to be precise Chinese, like your height, your looks?
(Laughs) You are not the first person to ask me that question, I don’t have Asian links. My father was from German and my mother is a Mongwato from Serowe.
Full names: Michael Naledi Klinck
Date of birth: 22 June 1964
Place of birth: Serowe
Marital status: Single
Car driving: Peugeot 206
Holiday destination: Kasane
Words that best describe him: Workaholic, hot tempered and free spirited.