What a time to be alive! This week we caught up with Angie Mokoena from Sasolburg, Free State who is an author of two books. In October 2015 Angie registered her own company – Angie Mokoena (Pty) Ltd which focuses on fashion designing, image consulting, celebrity styling, and personal brand coaching.
Many people see me now and actually don’t believe it when I share my journey. I grew up in a small town of Sasolburg and have stayed there for exactly 24 years to date. I am the eldest of the four children, three girls and one boy. I graduated from Theha Setjhaba Primary School in 1998 and completed High School at Afrikaans High School Sasolburg in 2003. I then embarked on studies in Office Management and Technology through Cape Peninsula University (Diploma) in Cape Town which saw me graduating in 2006 and seeking employment opportunities right after. Three months after graduating from University, I landed on an opportunity to run for an internship programme by the Economic Development and Tourism. I entered with very little hope that it would amount to anything. I suppose I just didn’t see how anybody would choose me out of the whole cohort of scholars that were in the running for the same opportunity. To cut the long story short, after a series of interviews, I was selected and offered this once in a lifetime opportunity. This saw me traveling back to Cape Town where I worked as an Intern for just over six months before I a colleague that I worked under for the duration of the internship resigned and I was thus the obvious person to take over.
One great milestone was when I was selected as the Chairperson of the Internship Programme which alluded to the fact that I was a leader. I overlooked that for a good period until in the same year, I was selected as the Chairperson for the Residence (Hostel). There was something about leading that completed me and more than anything, it came natural. A few years later, I resigned and worked at the Cape Town Stadium and was later appointed as the Accreditation Officer for the duration of the world cup working closely with FIFA, to name one. I was basically responsible for issuing accreditation devices for suppliers, players and staff to enter the stadium which to me was a very big deal. This was yet another milestone that saw me thrive in my space. Post the world cup, the stadium wasn’t attracting many events which resulted in the company I worked for then liquidating. This qualified me, young as I was to be retrenched with the rest that were impacted and then I was back on square one “job hunting”.
I job hunted for a few months and landed on another opportunity at the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation and was initially called for a day’s assignment to shred paper. I remember thinking “How dare they call me to shred paper given the qualifications I have?”. Little did I know that this was a setup for a bigger opportunity and God’s divine purpose. Days into shredding paper, my potential was noticed and was offered a fixed contract as the Data Centre Administrator. About a year into the position I was appointed as the Selection Officer for the high school scholarship opportunity which was levels above the previous position. My manager at the time saw a lot of potential in me and then encouraged me to further my education in Project Management through Stellenbosch University Business School which I completed in 2013 followed by certification in Management Development Programme also obtained through Stellenbosch University Business School in 2014. I am highlighting all of this to paint a clear picture of my educational background and career profile right from the beginning. After qualifying in the administration/Project space, I then uncovered other talents that had me realizing that I may have just embarked on the wrong courses for the longest time. I discovered my love for fashion designing and styling. I also uncovered this public speaker in me which I didn’t know existed. With this came other opportunities which I think make me one of the interesting woman in the world. To jungle a full time job in Project Management and still have time for public speaking, Image Consulting and Styling to just name a few, is rather interesting. So that in a nutshell is me and my upbringing.
What were the challenges and great things about growing up?
As a child, I did not have a voice. I was very soft spoken and often found myself just following the crowd. Voiceless I remained for the longest time and this was a great challenge because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. If the crowd decided to jump over the cliff, I would simply follow. I had very little idea about the career I wanted to pursue right into University and this bothered me a great deal because I thought I would have it all figured out before I graduated from High School. With this in mind, I suffered from a serious case of negative self- image. Breaking off from this negative trait took a lot of time and effort. But when I eventually broke free, I found perspective. Perspective regarding what I wanted and perspective pertaining to the career trajectory I was prepared to follow. More than anything, it equipped me to educate others about self-confidence and embracing one’s core. Interesting thing as shared in the previous question, is the fact that my passion landed on me right into my thirties. It took pursuing three different qualifications before my passion finally found me.
The great things about growing up
I just love that I lived my life. I was a child when I had to be a child and worked my way into adulthood and responsibility. The experiences that I went through as a child moulded my character and I am who I am today. From riding bicycles and being one of the few kids who owned bicycles in my neighbourhood, this classified us as the coolest of the lot. We travelled a distance of about 10 km’s one way to get to school daily. My parents could not afford to have myself and my sister travel using a taxi and they then resorted to this very cost effective strategy of purchasing bikes for us. This was probably one of the best experiences of my life. Racing from home in town all the way to the township called Zamdela remains a priceless experience.
Your career? What is it that you do? What inspired you to do what you do?
I established my own company in October 2015 registered as Angie Mokoena (Pty) Ltd. I am currently formally trading as a fashion designer, Image Consultant, Celebrity Stylist, Personal Branding Coach and Confidence Coach. I also love writing and will officially add to the title of Author on 8 September 2018 when I officially launch my first book titled “Lord, I am broken”. Why so many things you might ask and may even continue to ask how I do it all. It is only grace that qualifies me and more than anything, my ability to juggle more than one thing at a time. I have learned over time that I get bored very easily. My mind needs to be constantly engaged in something otherwise I run the risk of losing my mind. I love challenges and being in this space helps me manage this part of my personality. I still find it very interesting that all of this only landed on me after my thirties. So in essence, I spent the whole decade pursuing studies outside my passion. It is only now that I wish I had started earlier for I would have been really far by now.
What do you like most about yourself and the work that you do?
I love the flexibility that my work gives me from working in Heavy Lifting and Transportation by day (male dominated) and then all in one extraordinaire in the evenings/weekends. I love that I go for what I want and in my world, nothing is impossible. There is nothing that I deem too hard or too far-fetched. I have gone after the things I want time and again and one fact remains true, I am a dream chaser. I don’t only sit and fantasize about what could be, I make my dreams come true. From being an intern to running my own company, I have been consistent in living the dream and not hoping that things will just land on my lap
What are some of the challenges which you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?
When thinking of starting a business or pursuing a venture of sort, it is often a reality of many that resources pose as a challenge. It is easy to birth a concept but never really easy to implement such when resources especially funds are limited. Throughout my career, I have always been fortunate to find people in my space who believed in my vision and as a result assisted in seeing my dreams through. The book launch as an example is the result of people closest to me believing in my vision enough to fund the project. When other limitations presented themselves to me, there were those in my reach that stepped in to assist. What helped me overcome the odds was believing in myself and in my abilities. The belief I had made it easier for others to buy into my vision.
What are some of your life highlights for you so far? What are you most proud of?
The last three years have been filled with so many milestones that It would be hard to pick just one. In December 2015, I launched my first ever clothing line which opened an opportunity for me to work with the cast of Getroud Met Rugby on DSTV and was offered an opportunity to style one of the actors for that season. It was a huge moment in my life and I still celebrate that even today. In the same year, I entered the Media 24 “How to get online in 24 hours” competition which was a platform for young designers/business individuals to finally take their business online. Being a slight pessimist then, I entered again with the attitude that “How would I even win something this big”. After a series of interviews, I was the ultimate winner and won R75 000 to have my own online store www.angiemokoena.com . This was huge and I kept the online store running for a good year but later bailed due to the administrative intensity this proved to be. I am still planning to go back but I just need a platform that will not demand too much of my time and attention.
What, in your opinion, are the most important factors to keep in mind to make it in your career or life in general?
I would not be where I am if not for God. Yes, we can thank my parents for the brains and the good genes but ultimately, God has been my solid rock throughout my career. I can stand on top of the mountain and make noise about this Angie Mokoena but truth be told, it is not my doing. For everyone observing me from a distance, the one thing I would enforce, is for individuals to follow that which God put inside them. To never be afraid to pursue things even when they seem far-fetched. God will never give you a dream and refrain from giving you the resources to accomplish it. Go for what you want. Don’t wait for anybody to do it for you.
Where would you like to see yourself in the next three years?
I am busy writing two books now so they will definitely be long published by then. I will probably be on my twentieth book actually. I will definitely be international so I am going to work hard in the next few months to get on international platforms especially as a motivational/public speaker. My biggest desire is to become one of the most influential women to ever tread on planet earth and I hope that I would have accomplished bigger milestones to place me on that pedestal.
If there was anything you could do differently, what would it be?
Nothing. I wouldn’t trade my background or career trajectory for anything in the world. I am where I am supposed to be and I Have travelled the route I was meant to travel in. I wouldn’t be who I am if not for the mistakes, the good experiences and the disappointments I faced along the way
Are there any specific people or organisations that you look up to and draw inspiration from and why?
I loved reading books from a very young age and I specifically followed Pastor TD Jakes and grew to love his craft which I landed on as well. Very recently I fell in love with her Daughters work (Sarah Jakes) who is one of the phenomenal women that I look up to today. I draw a lot of inspiration from her as a motivational speaker and she remains one of my highly respected individuals by far. What draws me to her is her authenticity and realization that she went through life like most of us. She learned from the things that she went through and bounced back from situations that knocked her along the way. There is nothing that I find more attractive than ambition and she is one ambitious person that in return sparks up my ambition.
Are there any inspiring projects which you’re involved in?
I am planning to start a programme where I offer opportunities to the upcoming designers and talented individuals to assist in ushering others to their dreams. I still need to figure out the details but this is definitely something that I will be pursuing in the coming months. I want to make a difference and I seek to be part of the journey for those who may be less fortunate than I am.
Lastly, what advice would you give to others out there looking to follow in your footsteps?
Simply put, dare to dream and dare to pursue your dreams. It is one thing to have a gift but it is another to pursue it. With that in mind, it is also important to have a strategy for your gift. Find constructive ways to make your dream work for you. Nothing is too hard if you believe and if you can see it, you can be it. If you can visualize it, you can very well accomplish it
How can the public contact you?
Facebook: Angie Mokoena (Miss Angie)