‘I WOULD’T HAVE GONE ON STRIKE’
When a teacher remarked in her school report that she should become a doctor, she had little or no clue as to what exactly that profession was. It was when she got to university that she understood more about medicine and opted for dentistry. If she is not at her surgery taking care of patients’ oral health, Dr Figar Pheto, wife of gospel legend and businessman Phempheretlhe, graces our living rooms with her smile and laughter on Botswana Television magazine show Sedibeng, talking to what she calls extra-ordinary people. Kgomotso Tshwenyego caught up with the lively lady to find out more about her life as a presenter, doctor and her views on doctors taking part in the on- going civil service strike.
Q. Who is Figar?
Figar is just your ordinary woman from next door, relaxed, loves people and loves to laugh. I am the only child of Mositi Moseki and the late Simon Moseki from Serowe. I’m married to gospel singer, producer and businessman Phempheretlhe Bafana Pheto. We have two boys aged 6 and 4 and a year old girl. I am a born again Christian.
Q. How was it growing up as the only child?
The thing is you grow up kind of self-centred believing that everything is yours because you tend to get everything and anything that you ask for. As you grow older you get to learn there are other people as well. Now that I have a family of my own, I have learnt and accepted there are other people that take centre stage.
Q. How did you get the job as a presenter?
I have always loved presenting, so when I saw an advert for Sedibeng presenters I decided to try my luck and I got the job.
Q. Have you done any television presenting before?
No, Sedibeng is my first job as a Presenter.
Q. Why did you decide on it?
I love interacting with people, getting to meet new people and one other platform that I could do that was in Sedibeng.
Q. Will we get to see the Dr Figar Pheto show at some point?
I haven’t quite dreamt that far, at the moment am just enjoying presenting on Sedibeng. Should an opportunity arise though, I will take up the challenge.
Q. Who is your most memorable guest on Sedibeng?
It has to be Comfort Bigfish Ramatebele, he is so full of energy and is very spontaneous. It was quite easy talking to him. I had fun interviewing him.
Q. How do you deal with difficult guests?
With every guest, before we go on air, I brief them on what we will talk about and the questions that I will ask them, but sometimes when we get into the studio something else happens. It is a huge challenge but I try very hard to pull words out of them, make them feel comfortable and come out more, or sometimes resort to pleading.
Q. What do you like about your job?
I love people and like meeting new peopIe and in this show I get to meet extra ordinary people with different views on life, successes and challenges. I talk to them about their own lives and it makes the job interesting.
Q. Challenges about the show?
Sedibeng is a spontaneous magazine show and the pressure is always about giving a good show but with the good a producers at BTV, it makes things much more easier. I do not have formal training on presenting, my Producers are understanding, patient and they guide me. It makes my job easy to handle.
Q. Lets talk about your professional job?
I am a Dentist and run a private surgery. The presenting job is just a passion but being a doctor is a calling and that is what I do. I only do Sedibeng for two hours a week.
Q. Why did you decide on becoming a doctor?
I was very good in sciences and I was sort of channelled into medicine. I didn’t know anything about other fields but nursing and teaching. When I was still a student at Swaneng Hill School, my former teacher Mr Mokibelo wrote in my report that I must become a doctor. I didn’t understand much about medicine at the time. When I got to University of Botswana I kind of just picked dentistry though I had other options.
Q. What is your take on Doctors that have been on strike especially since there are reports of patients dying because of lack of medical attention?
I’m not in their shoes since am not working for government, but I want to believe there must have been really bad conditions to warrant them participating in the strike.
Q. Would you have gone on strike?
Personally, I wouldn’t have gone on strike. I would have preferred thorough consultation rather than a strike. Look, the economy is really suffering and my hope and prayer is that concerned parties, that is employer and employee, especially medical fraternity should soften up for the betterment of the wellbeing of the patient.
Q. Have they broken their oaths?
As medical doctors we take an oath that no matter what we will take care of our patients.
Q. Dr Pheto, as a born again Christian what is the church doing about this?
It is shocking that the church has gone quiet about the current situation in the country. We as the church should take a step that we should have taken long time back. As a Church we do not contribute much to ethical isssues and I don’t think it is too late to take a step.
Q. Why did you choose not to work for government?
I worked for Government for several years till 2006 when I felt I had served my country enough under government of Botswana and decided it was time to move on. It was then that Dr Pheto Dental Surgery was born.
Q. What was the first item you bought with your first salary as a Doctor?
A beige handbag. I have a thing for shoes and handbags.
Q. Now let’s get personal, how did you and Phempheretlhe meet?
We met through a mutual friend at a revival meeting in 1994. It was the first time I saw him.
Q. And you saw butterflies my sister
Ha!ha!ha! Well as young Christian women, these things we don’t see, all I saw was a Christian brother.
Q. Come on, something must have happened
Ha!ha!ha! He gave us a lift to university and after that he started visiting me at school. From our conversations, we soon realised we have so much in common and we connected very well. Though I come across as a talkative person, because of my job as a presenter, my husband and I are very quiet and don’t talk much.
Q. What’ your secret to success?
I am a hardworker, I don’t get carried away, I am a well-focused person. As a born again Christian since my teenage days, I am guided by biblical principles and that has helped shape my life and I have learnt to maintain my dignity.
Q. How do you unwind?
I spend time with my husband and children. We always have visitors at the house, and I go to activities with my husband.
Are you rich?
I’m living a comfortable life.
Q. What’s your favourable saying or quote?
Try to reach for the moon, there are too many stars out there, even if you do not land in the moon, you would probably land in one of the stars.
Would you like your children to follow in your footsteps?
No, they should find their own paths, decide what they want to be and follow their hearts. My husband and I chose the kind of life that we are living right now, but we try as much as possible to keep the children’s lives private.
Q. Your last words
Being sick or unwell isn’t a choice and I don’t believe patients should be made to pay VAT. I believe this is one aspect in health services that the government should look into, make health facilities as affordable as possible.
Name: Figar Pheto
Date of Birth: January 13
Role Model: Women of faith
Church: Holiness Union Church
Car Driving: A4, metallic grey
Book reading: Faith that Prevails by Smith Wigglesworth
Favorite food: Madombi with stew
Favorite artists: Phempheretlhe and Mmereki Marakakgoro
Business location: Agape Dental Clinic, Independence Avenue
Children: Phenyo, Pako and Pearl