This week the Education Ambassadors SA team caught up with Motlatsi and Dimakatso Mofokeng who were both born and raised in the small township near Bethlehem called Bohlokong in Free State. Motlatsi and Dimakatso are owners of Minds Of In-House Media and Communications, a company that was registered in 2015 but is already doing great work for credible brands.
Motlatsi Mofokeng: I started schooling at Nthute Primary School then went off to Bodikela Junior Secondary School and then completed my Matric at Ntsu Secondary School and at this school is where I was discovered. I say this because I never knew that I was a creative until my English teacher, Mr. Lieta Lieta showed it to me. I always got good marks when we were tasked with creative writing and there he put a comment in my book that made me want to pursue filmmaking and storytelling. My family was not wealthy, we got by each day and going to a film school was unheard of but I had great belief that I would get there regardless of the financial standard of my family. My mother was a relentless woman who deeply believed in me and supported my dream even though she couldn’t understand this career I wanted to pursue. I went to AFDA Johannesburg campus and completed my degree despite all the odds that were against me. Going through to AFDA with my background showed me that nothing is impossible and that I alone can stand in the way of achieving greatness. I am passionate about doing more than what I deem best and I always strive to outdo my last work and I always look forward to what I am going to do next.
Dimakatso Mofokeng: I was born and raised in Bohlokong Bethlehem but started my foundation education in Bloemfontein at a school called Sentraal Primary School in the Free State Province. I later moved back to Bethlehem and proceeded with my education and matriculated in 2011 at Thabo Thokoza Secondary School. I was raised by my grandmother who is now late and she gave me the best childhood even though she was struggling financially. The reason I look up to her to this day is because she never showed me how much she was struggling to ensure we ate at the end of each day. She had it all figured out and she never missed a smile on her face. I pursued Mechanical Engineering at Sedibeng TVET College in Vereeniging where I only got to obtain a N3 Certificate. I did not complete it because of the arrival of my son as I had to committed myself to raising him. I am a young woman who is looking forward to becoming a woman of substance that will be an inspiration to young women out there who are discouraged to continue fighting because of their poor upbringing. I am a mother and wife who is devoted to God, my family and my business.
What were the challenges and great things about growing up?
Motlatsi Mofokeng: Wow, growing up was interesting and scary at the same time. My township was notorious for gang fights and to us being part of a gang was cool and what you had to do even though we witnessed many of those we idolised going arrested or dying almost every day, we still wanted to do it. I grew up witnessing violence every day and that was quite different for boys to not be absorbed into that world. However, somehow God had His ways of keeping me sane and focused about being a good example in the community in which I lived and my older brother played a big role in this. He would always remind me of how unique I was and how I need to make a positive change in this world without trying to being a reincarnation of somebody else. He made me realise my importance in the world and how I needed to shape it for the better.
Dimakatso Mofokeng: Growing up for me was effortless because I never had to worry about anything in my life because I had my grandmother to do that for me. I had clothes to wear, food to eat and a home to live in, so for me growing up was just a breeze. However, the greatest things I took from my upbringing was to ensure that family is taken care of no matter the challenges of the world, therefore I learned that no matter the challenge, I have to make things happen.
Your career? What is it that you do? What inspired you to do what you do?
Motlatsi Mofokeng: I am a Creative Director at In-House Media and Communications based in Bethlehem, Free State. We do corporate marketing and photography. After completing my degree, I had an opportunity to work for several production companies and I couldn’t stay long in any of them not because it was a drag waking up in the morning but because I was struggling with being limited to grow. One day I was seated on my desk at work and I had an epiphany that I had to move out of the world of employment and go pursue business. I do business because I love telling stories and though I studied filmmaking and that is ultimately what I want to do, corporate business is a stepping stone to achieving that goal of producing content for TV. There is no TV/Film industry in the Free State as yet and doing business in that space is not financially sustainable therefore our intention is to have this corporate business up and running so that we can venture into filmmaking and producing for commercial TV.
Dimakatso Mofokeng: This is so funny. Okay, so I am the Managing Manager at In-House Media and Communications and I am the boss of my husband, lol. My responsibilities in our business is to ensure that quality work is done and delivered to our clients , to maintain and sustain good relations between ourselves and our clients and I also operate the camera, take pictures and also basic post production. How I got to do what I do now which is a totally different world from what I studied is what most women go through when their partners or spouses’ work demand too much time. I got tired of my husband mostly being away on work or having to call him all the time asking him where he was and how long he would take at the job that I decided to join him. I learned how to work the camera and how to use the post production softwares because I had to understand what I was getting myself into. I could not understand what I was doing at first and I really didn't enjoy it but I must say I ended up loving this world and I continued to learn more and I must say, I am loving it.
What do you like most about yourself and the work that you do?
We like the challenges that come with what we do. It is really exciting and discouraging at the same time. We say this because corporate marketing is not very popular in our region and having to propose what we do to new clients takes a lot of effort in convincing them to buy into the idea of utilising our marketing strategies to get their brands and products out there especially when they are comfortable with print media and their existing methods of advertising. Despite these challenges, we have managed to secure clients and we are moving forward.
What are some of the challenges which you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?
Having to deal with being compared with others who have failed is a continuous challenge that we have to overcome daily because at times we find clients who would dismiss you because somebody before you was given an opportunity and they failed to deliver. We are a relentless company, that much I must say. We do not give up until we believe we should give up. We keep on finding means to convince new clients of our credibility and commitment to build and maintain solid, lasting relationships with them. We believe in making our clients look good all the time. There is no time for giving up here.
What are some of your life highlights for you so far? What are you most proud of?
Look, our company was registered in 2015 and we gave our full attention to the business in September 2017 and we have managed to do work for credible brands and have gained respect beyond our short term goals that we set prior to giving the business our full attention. We are proud of not being afraid of starting small and not remaining small. God gave us a word and said “do not despise your humble beginnings” and we took His word and kept on keeping on and though thoughts of giving up came, we carried on.
What, in your opinion, are the most important factors to keep in mind to make it in your career or life in general?
We should not do business because we want to combat a present problem maybe of poverty or because we want to live lavish, but we should do it because that’s what we are called to do because if you do business for being able to feed your hunger then once you get the money to buy food and the expensive car, the drive and thrill for doing quality business will die then you will recycle the same mistakes.
We believe the most important factor to have in anything is passion and truth about what you do. Even if you are a street sweeper, sweep that street with passion because you know nobody else can hold that broom the way you do and sweep the way you can, you are the best version of yourself you can ever be.
Where would you like to see yourself in the next three years?
We want to see ourselves closing a deal in a boardroom inside a big building which has our big logo on the outside where the business will be having productions on broadcast TV, having a radio station and staff members that will be doing good work that will be sought after by companies within and outside the Free State and the country. Each and every day, we work towards outdoing what we did the previous day and we know that if we do not stand in our own way then all this is achievable.
If there was anything you could do differently, what would it be?
That would be to go into business sooner. What stopped us from pursuing business sooner is because we were bound by fear of failure. We kept seeing our business not making it because of the scarcity of marketing and production companies in the Free State especially the shortage of real sustainable young entrepreneurs in Bethlehem and the Eastern Free State.
Had we listened to the call earlier, 2015, we would have achieved what we spoke about in the question above asking about where we wish to see ourselves in the next three years, however we are here now and there is no turning back.
Are there any specific people or organisations that you look up to and draw inspiration from and why?
Our Bishop, Bishop M.V Dhlamini and his amazing wife Ps.Nozizwe Dhlamini are our role models and the pastors at our church are really a good motivation to keep on pressing forward. They portray marriage as beautiful and a ministry to heal the wounded and revive hope where lost. We also look up to couples doing wonders together both professionally or in their personal lives in general. In this world we live in, it is somewhat a taboo for couples to work together therefore couples who are working together and helping each other to grow are an inspiration to us and we also try to be an inspiration to others by showing that it is possible.
Are there any inspiring projects which you’re involved in?
Every project is inspiring because it is different and requires a different technique and approach so we can’t really single out a particular project and deem it more inspiring or important than others.
Lastly, what advice would you give to others out there looking to follow in your footsteps?
There is something that stuck to us which we heard from an animation called Cars. One car character there said to Lightning Mcqueen “If you take a hard left, you will end up on the right”. We understood that if you rush into something you will end up where you shouldn’t be.
Our advice, stay true to yourself and allow God to take charge in your life because He has the plan. Do not depend on your own understanding or try to outrun your growth, allow everything to happen as it should.
How can the public contact you?
Facebook: In-House Media and Communications