As a child growing up in the village of Tonota, Botswana, Mmoloki Mogotsi, financial director of a giant retailer in Botswana, didn’t know what a chartered accountant was and had never dreamt of leading a multi-million-pula company.
‘When I qualified, I could not allow myself to forget where I come from, especially as there are many young children in the village who just like me grew up with limited exposure,’ he says. ‘It was important for me to go back and help young people to dream and to achieve.’
Mmoloki completed his high school studies with distinction, earning him a Botswana government sponsorship to study in South Africa. To cover his living costs and support his family back home, he got a job at a small accounting firm in Midrand while studying full time. It was not easy to juggle the two, especially with a child on the way. He failed the CTA exam three times, but eventually went on to qualify.
Looking back, Mmoloki says the CA(SA) qualification has opened numerous doors. ‘Education is the key to success. How you use it is up to you. I became a director of a Fortune 500 company at the age of 35. I sit in board meetings to make decisions that benefit thousands of employees and community members. The qualification speaks volumes when looking for new opportunities in South Africa, the region and abroad. With my previous employer, I was promoted four times in the space of four-and-a-half years. Being a CA(SA) prepared me to be a leader, to be strategic in my approach and to navigate various business challenges.’
Mmoloki sponsors a traditional choir group from Tonota which entertains villagers at Christmas and New Year. The members are talented people from the community who practise tirelessly throughout the year for no remuneration. ‘It is part of my plan to invest more and provide employment for those who are committed so that we can help to preserve Botswana culture and tradition. I also support a small village soccer team.’
He says his story is one of how education can change a life. In addition to awards for excellence in financial reporting and innovation, he helped to turn around Cummins Morocco and Cummins Botswana’s financials.
‘My biggest success though is having a balanced and fulfilling life. I am a husband and father to two children, and I have provided for them a life that I dreamt of,’ he says. ‘My priority is to invest more time and resources in the community and to help young people to dream big. I also have plans to study further and grow into more senior leadership roles like MD or CEO.’