This week the Education Ambassadors SA Team caught up with Gontse Modipane, originating from Hebron, North-West. Gontse is the co-owner of Butcher@0414 situated at Pankop, Mpumalanga. She also works full-time as a GIS Technician as she possesses a BTech in Surveying from Tshwane University of Technology.
My name is Gontse Modipane, born and raised at Hebron (North West). I am the last born of the family (as my name says). I attended primary school at Lerato Primary School and then matriculated at Hebron Technical and Commercial High School. Growing up I’ve always wanted to study Engineering and so I did, I went on to study National Diploma: Surveying and BTech Surveying at the Tshwane University of Technology. To be honest, I loved the fact that as a female, I would work in a construction industry which was pretty much still male-dominated at that time. Needless to say, that never happened. Life has a way of placing us where we are meant to be through what may seem like obstacles.
What were the challenges and great things about growing up?
I had a normal childhood, we did not have everything but we had most of what we needed. One thing I do remember and has stuck with me is that my father would make all my birthdays special, he would buy me a gift on my birthday. Both my parents worked so they could afford to give us a comfortable life. I was lucky that my parents were able to pay for my studies, but I paid for my BTech as I was employed at the time.
Your career? What is it that you do? What inspired you to do what you do?
So I own a business with my partner who is also my life partner Kamogelo Maloka. We are both Directors and it's 100% black-owned. We own a butchery at Pankop, Mpumalanga Butcher@0414 situated at USave Complex. We sell fresh meat, which is your beef cuts: Chuck, Short rib, Ribeye, Mince, Brisket and Boerewors. We also sell Lamb, Chicken, Tripe and OX liver. We have two permanent staff members.
What inspired me to start a business is my day job (I work as a GIS technician Monday to Friday), I realised that I want a better life for myself and my family, and I won’t attain that life with just a salary. I really do not want to work all my life building someone else’s dream. I want to live my dream. Also, I struggled to get a job after graduating so I don’t want my kids to have to look for a job like I did.
What do you like most about yourself and the work that you do?
I’ve always been a risk taker; I love that spirit about myself. What I love about my business is that you meet different people with different personalities each day. There is no greater feeling like being your own boss. It’s such a fulfilling feeling doing what you love, it does not even feel like work.
What are some of the challenges which you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?
Firstly, this is the first business I’ve owned, so for me, it came with a lot of challenges. There were planning and research done before opening the business but when we started getting the ball rolling we realized that actually there are other things we did not think of that came our way. At that moment I realised that the fighting spirit in me had to come out because I will not give up until I win. People not believing in what you want to do, especially those close to me, that was hard for me but I realized that this is my dream, God did not give them this vision so it’s okay even if they don’t believe in my hustle, my success will prove them wrong. Also, I’m finding it hard to balance work and family time. Finding time to spend with my family is hard, lucky for me I’m in business with my partner so we get to see each other on weekends as we both work at the butchery because during the week we have full-time jobs.
What are some of your life highlights for you so far? What are you most proud of?
Graduating is one of my life highlights, When I was doing my BTech final year, I fell pregnant, that did not stop me. I managed to complete my studies on record time. Opening the butchery business with my partner, for me, it signifies growth not just professionally but on a personal level too. We’ve been through a lot as a couple and to come out much better like this, for me is a highlight.
What, in your opinion, are the most important factors to keep in mind to make it in your career or life in general?
Always treat people how you would also want to be treated. If you don’t try you won’t know, do not be afraid to try new things and never give up on your dreams. Respect everyone, I’ve never seen a successful person with no respect and always give 100%.
Where would you like to see yourself in the next three years?
Definitely, I would like to open more butchery branches. Also, I want to venture into farming, own a livestock farm.
If there was anything you could do differently, what would it be?
I would have started business earlier in life than now, however, I do believe that everything we go through in life has a purpose. It took being employed to show me that I do not want to be an employee for the rest of my life. I want to build a legacy and I strongly believe I was born to do more than just being employed.
Are there any specific people or organisations that you look up to and draw inspiration from and why?
I don’t have a specific person that I look up to. I draw inspiration from many different people in different industries. I look up to everyone that is a go-getter, hustling, following their dreams or just hustling to put money on the table. From people that sell tomatoes on the streets, the guys that wake up early in the morning to sell newspapers and to women like Farah Fortune who is the founder & director of African Star Communication company. The reason they inspire me is their will to do something against all odds, you know when you are determined to make it in life despite all the challenges, not just giving up without trying first, that to me motivates me.
Are there any inspiring projects which you’re involved in?
My butchery is one I’m involved in now but besides it, there isn’t any at the moment. I’m very Pro-women, I would love to sponsor a girl child and pay for their varsity fees one day.
Lastly, what advice would you give to others out there looking to follow in your footsteps?
Personally, my experience has taught me that Yes you can dream, but you have to put in the work and there are sacrifices that will be made …and if you are passionate about what you do and you are in it to win it, you will prevail. When an opportunity comes, grab it with both hands and give it your all.
How can the public contact you?