Today, Rose Tatedi is counted amongst the few women in Botswana driving the economy through entrepreneurship.
This week she takes us down memory lane as she relives her life experiences and her conquest in the medical aid industry.
Q. Please introduce yourself to our readers and if any names that we may not know
My name is Rose Tatedi. I was born in Tlokweng but grew up most in between Tlokweng and Gaborone.
I am the eldest in the family. I have a brother and a sister my only child.
Q. Why did you grow up in Gabs when your home village is not far from the city?
Gaborone was the developed place but that doesn’t mean I shunned my home village.
My parents didn’t have a house in Tlokweng so after making few pula’s I had to go back to Tlokweng to get my own house.
Q. Please take us into those old Gabs/Tlokweng days
There hasn’t been much change from the days I was a young girl and now. It’s still the same Gaborone and Tlokweng that you can’t tell much difference in between until you are told.
The good thing however was that when most of my friends from far villages used to plan on how they will be getting back to their home villages, I just used to ask for few pula’s to get a taxi to my home village and even walking wouldn’t have been a problem.
Yes! There were times when I was in secondary school and used to wish I had my grandparents staying in a village far so that I wouldn’t have to see them every day and get to visit like most of my peers but of late I just thank God that my home village is just few minutes away from the city because things have now became expensive.
Q. Talking about secondary school, which schools did you attend?
I went to a primary school in Tlokweng called Botsalano and for my junior school I was at GSS.
Upon completion at GSS I then proceeded to University of Botswana where I studied for Bachelor of arts in economics.
When I graduated in 1985 which I think you were not born then (laughs) I then went to join the Ministry of finance where I worked as an assistant economist .
I worked for two years and was sent for further studies in Scotland.
I had studied a lot and when I came back I felt I had to expand and that is when I started searching for a new job with new challenges for me to apply the skills I had learnt in Scotland and that is when I moved to join BDC.
I started off working as a project officer and by the time I left I was BDC’s manager for investment promotions .
Q. Please share more
When I hit the exit door which was in 1998 I went to start up BEDIA with a Mauritian CEO.
Like I said, we are the ones who started BEDIA so we used to travel a lot in an effort to lure investors to Botswana.
After working for a year and few months I then felt that it was not an organisation I wanted to work for.
I noticed that it was no longer the BEDIA that the Government envisaged because it was now more like a Government operated model.
Q. Why did you leave instead of making it the BEDIA the Government envisaged?
I tried all I can but no one wanted to listen.
I am an outspoken lady who put her feet down and when I want something done I make sure that I chase it until something happens.
I tried my best. I remember after I left the then President Festus Mogae was very worried that he even summoned me to his office.
Q. How was it working with former President Mogae?
I must say our relationship with him as BEDIA worked very well.
He was a President who was willing to listen particularly where foreign investment was involved.
He used to directly call us just to check if everything was going well and would take it upon himself to ensure that any problems we had were dealt with.
Q. I have always known GSS to be a school of notorious girls. How was your GSS?
It was a wonderful school. We knew what we wanted at school and so we never really had time to be notorious girls.
The GSS that I have seen for the past few years is totally different from the one that I went to.
Q. Come on Ms Tatedi. There is always that mischievous moment for any school child. Just recall one.
No! No! I seriously never had any. I started being mischievious when I got to the university.
Q. Interesting. Now you are talking, what were you doing at the university?
(Laughs) You wouldn’t want to know but all I can say is that I used to party hard.
Every Sunday we used to go to a place called Bodiba for jazz and on Monday we will be on a serious hangover.
I used to wait for the lecture to come in and once, I would sneak out to go sleep.
Q. You went abroad and came back.
I believe most your peers went for good. Why did you return?
I never wanted to leave home in the first place. I remember that I used to cry a lot missing home.
I used to even cry in class and would tell the lecture that I want my mother.
All in all I wanted to come back and build my own country.
Q. As an economist, what can you say about Botswana’s development level?
There has been a lot of development in this country and a lot happened so fast but we are still behind in diversifying the economy.
Q. What does it take for one to be a good leader?
You need to have vision and know where you want to take those you are leading.
You also need to have people with a common understanding and energy to take the vision somewhere.
Q. You have done it all. Where is Rose Tatedi today?
Rose Tatedi is now in this competitive world.
I am now an employer and run Symphonic, medical aid company.
Q. What exactly does it do which is different?
Symphonic is just a general business company which can do anything depending on what we want to do as shareholders but we decided to administer medical aid schemes.
We decided to develop a medical aid scheme different from the rest.
We are different because are not your usual medical aid scheme where you contribute every year and at the end of the financial year you leave all that you have been contributing behind.
With our medical scheme, there is an element of medical savings account.
Medical savings in our case is 25% of each member’s monthly premium and then the 75% goes into your hospital expenses.
If you don’t spend your 25% you carry it along to the next year and will keep on accumulating.
Even if you decide to leave us in any way we pay back. Our membership is open, unlike others who have restrictions we are open to all who financially benefit from you.
Q. You look more like an elder sister to you daughter. How do you keep fresh?
I think it’s just God’s blessing.
I never go to the gym and eat what I want but not too much junk food. My daughter also pushes me on the hand because she always tell me that she doesn’t want an old mother.
Q. Have you registered to vote Ms Tatedi?
Yes, I am going to vote
Q. Your last word?
I call all to come try Symphonic.
I have noticed that most Batswana fear change.
I can assure them that we are here to stay and as the business grows I would like to see it spreading into African market.
Q. What’s good for the weekend Boss lady?
Soccer and more soccer on TV!
I am in love with Man-U. I know we have not been performing well but I can tell all my fellow supporters out there that we will get back to the top.
The World is just around the corner, you will never see me around. I will be glued to my screen.