A brilliant mind

Kabelo Dipholo
BRILLIANT MIND: Koziba Malibala

Psychologist means business

She’s one of the youngest movers and shakers.

At the age of 38, Dr Koziba Malibala is a proven leader and entrepreneur.

A mother-of-one from Matshelagabedi, Malibala’s passion for education has taken her around the globe, with stints in USA, Italy, India and Australia.

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As the founding Director of KDM Global, a Management Consultancy in Francistown, the Psychologist now has her mind set on the competitive world of retail – and as we find out in this week’s Big Interview, once Malibala sets her mind to something, great things happen!

Let’s start from the beginning, as former South African President, Jacob Zuma would try and say! Who is Dr. Koziba Malibala?

Dr Koziba Catherine Malibala is the second born child of Matthews Baleni Sechele and Agnes Malibala.

A mother to Tinashe and sister to four brothers, I was born in Francistown in the year 1984, as a resident of Matshelagabedi village in the North-Eastern part of Botswana.

I partially grew up at Matshelagabedi, Gungwe and Francistown, then later various places across Botswana attending different schools.

For Primary, I went to the then Ipopeng Primary School and later finished at Zwenshambe Primary School.

I completed my Junior Secondary education at Tashatha JSS and did my Senior Secondary at Mater-Spei College.

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As for Tertiary, I schooled at the University of Botswana.

Later I went to Turin, Italy, then the University of Virginia in the USA and finally University of Texas – Austin also in the USA.

I have studied Psychology, later specialising in Youth Development, then Business & Entrepreneurship.

In addition, I have acquired several professional courses across different institutions internationally, including in Australia and India just to mention a few.

I have worked with several organisations: the National Assembly of Botswana as Protocol Officer; American Embassy in Botswana as a Behavioral Scientist; University of Botswana as a peer counsellor; UNFPA as Youth Consultant, just to mention a few.

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Wow, sounds like you’ve packed a lot into your 38 years on the planet! What motivates you in life?

I am one of the young women who served this country and the world from a young age of 14 years; as a member of the Presidential Task Team for Vision 2036; the Botswana Commonwealth Youth Ambassador; Executive Board Member to different Ministries appointed by Hon Ministers including Tati-Landboard and African Women Entrepreneurship Programme.

I am motivated by seeing change, by being an agent of change. I believe in transformation and serving others to their betterment in life and ultimately to the betterment of the country.

I believe I am on this earth for a purpose and that is to transform lives.

I am happy when I see a life change or transformed.

So what exactly do you do for a living?

I work on a full-time job on a five-year contract.

In addition to that I do business.

I am the founding President of KDM Global Group, through which we have several Business Entities running under this umbrella company: Management Consultancy; Supplies & Distribution; Food processing and packaging; Farming and Executive Catering & Event Management.

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Apart from the business and my full-time job, I am a seasoned Motivational Speaker who has graced a number of international conferences and forums at the invite of The UN, the Commonwealth; SADC, AU, Oxfam just to mention a few.

I am an author and a columnist who focuses more on Mindset.

You’re also one of the Youth Development Fund’s (YDF) success stories, kindly take us through that?

I was funded in 2015 for my Management Consultancy, which by then was the only business I was involved in. We have changed the lives of many through our Coaching & Mentorship programme, which helped many get employment or climb the work ladder.

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Through the Management Consultancy, we have helped over 30 companies get funding, either through MYSC, CEDA, NDB or even commercial banks.

To date, all those companies are successfully running!

In 2018, we were nominated the Best Youth Consultants in Botswana at the Botswana National Youth Expo.

What challenges did you encounter as a young entrepreneur?

Being a young woman in business, that’s the first challenge.

Although society has made great strides over the past decades, women in the business world still run into roadblocks that men don’t have to deal with, having to balance between family and business.

But my belief is that no matter who you are, male or female, there will always be obstacles to achieving success.

It’s true that women are faced with specific gender-based hurdles, and that can be frustrating enough to want to quit, but none of these barriers are insurmountable.

In December, you took another big step in the business world, opening a Sefalana franchise, Saveway, in Dukwi. Kindly shed some light on your journey with Sefalana.

As indicated, we decided to turn our company into a group of companies with several business entities operating under this holding mother company. Supplies and distribution is one of the entities we added.

Through it, we embarked into tenderpreurship, where we happened to be getting some of our items from Sefalana Hyper.

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This eventually led us to become one of Sefalana’s biggest customers – that’s how they offered us a Saveway franchise.

I must say this is another lesson for me.

I have been in business for a while now, but I have since learnt that retail is completely different from the rest; it needs a certain level of understanding and humility.

That is how I am managing to survive.

I have supporters, whatever I don’t understand I ask – and the Sefalana Hyper Team is always there to assist where possible.

All I can say for now is that I just started my practical Degree in Retail, and the journey continues.

Or in short, I am a student who is looking forward to her future in the retail sector as one of the industry giant’s movers.

How does your background in Psychology help you in your everyday life and business interests?

Psychology is very helpful in our everyday life – improving communication skills, making it easier to understand how human beings think and behave while communicating with others.

With the help of my educational background in Psychology I can comprehend gestures and actions, which makes my business communication much better and easier.

Psychology is a scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior.

In other words, Psychology examines why we act the way we do.

To extend the definition, one may say it examines the way that we behave in each situation.

Therefore, in business, this should trigger an ‘a-ha’ moment, as business employs certain ‘tricks’ to tap into our psychology.

For example, marketing campaigns are essentially created and funded with one aim in mind – to get people to buy a product or service.

I can say being a psychologist helps me with being innovative and being an understanding leader who understand the behaviour of her clientele.

Many youth that benefited from government programmes such as YDF, have had to close shop after their businesses fizzled out. What is your advice to aspiring young entrepreneurs?

Mindset is everything. The main reason behind starting the business in the first place is key.

One shouldn’t apply for YDF funding because he or she needs cash, but should have the objective of job creation for him or herself and the others; to have the objective of contributing towards the economy of this country; to grow and project into the future of where one wants to see their business in the next five to 30 years from now.

Dream big! See yourself leading an international company as one of its founding Directors.

My advice to those applying for YDF is that it is just a start-up capital.

You should have plans for how you are going to grow your business and sustain it beyond YDF.

Sound advice! So, away from the strain of work, how do you relax?

I am an introvert.

I enjoy my own space or spending time with my loved ones, that is my partner, son, siblings, relatives, and my associates, mostly indoors.

Then adventure – I love travelling, both abroad and locally to see the beauty of our country.

It always refreshes my soul and mind leading to a relaxed and rejuvenated body.

Apart from my travels, I love reading and writing.

I spend most of my time either reading or writing anything towards mindset transformation.

I am a Christian and spend part of my time worshipping and praising God, either at church or at home.

On that note, Thank God It’s Friday, what do you have planned for this weekend?

Saturday is the time for me to spend time in my businesses, doing the assessments, doing audits, and getting in touch with the company.

That is the time for me to bond with my colleagues.

Sunday morning, I go to church and then come back home and relax with music and braii in my backyard.

In short, Sunday is my family time therefore that is the plan for this weekend and golfing in the evening.

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