A glowing success

Leungo Mokgwathi

Beauty, brains and history

In 2021, Dr Wedu Tose Somolekae took a huge leap into the unknown, quitting her secured position as a Medical Officer in Masunga to start the country’s first full time Medical Aesthetics Practice.

It proved an inspired decision.

Two years later, Dr. Somolekae has been listed amongst the newest self-made young innovators and leaders scripting a new vision for Africa: the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30.

The 29-year-old entrepreneur is the first Motswana female to be listed and to be featured on the cover of the Forbes Africa magazine.

Here, Dr. Somolekae tells the fascinating tale of how she turned what at first felt like a pipedream into a beautiful reality.

Kindly introduce yourself.

My name is Dr Wedu Somolekae, Medical Doctor and Founder of Medi-Glow Aesthetics Botswana, also a Forbes Africa 30 under 30 lister and cover star.

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I’m the first Motswana female to be featured on the list and be on the cover of Forbes Africa magazine.

That’s pretty impressive, you must be on Cloud 9?

It is a complete honour to be considered as part of the young innovators and wave makers on the African continent.

I feel encouraged and affirmed about the path I’ve chosen, which is not often taken.

The recognition gives our field credibility, amazing exposure and has introduced me to a global network of people that I would have otherwise had difficulty accessing.

You took a huge leap of faith in 2021, resigning from a permanent post to start your own practice in the midst of a pandemic that shutdown many industries and businesses. What inspired that bold move?

I am extremely passionate about aesthetic medicine, I love what I do and I had to find a way to do it every day.

Even though it is an industry that’s in its infancy in Botswana, I looked to a lot of aesthetic doctors that I’ve met in South Africa who gave me a bit of guidance.

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I had resolved that if it didn’t work out for me here, I would go and seek out opportunities elsewhere, but I was never going to give up.

Have you always wanted to go into Aesthetics medicine?

Not at all! My initial dream going into medical school was to be a pediatrician.

On a trip to Johannesburg with my friends, we visited a Medical Aesthetics clinic and I was introduced to aesthetics medicines; after much research, my head was turned away from pediatrics.

Tell me about the defining moment when you knew that it was time for the shift.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, our worlds were rocked to the core.

I watched patients die and their families suffer.

I feared for my own life and the lives of my loved ones.

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I also realized how short life is and how important it is to live a fulfilling life, one that you are happy and proud about at the end of the day.

What was your biggest fear about starting afresh?

Failing, it comes hand in hand with any risk you take.

However, I held onto the hope and excitement that I would succeed.

One of my favourite quotes by Erin Hanson goes, “What if I fall? Oh, but darling what if you fly?”

What services does your practice offer?

Skincare services including; chemical peels, micro-needling, dermaplaning, facials, anti-wrinkle injections, fillers and medical grade skincare products.

We offer hairline restoration.

We use platelet rich plasma to do vampire facials, for hair growth and the O-shot for sexual dysfunction in women.

Body services include medical weight loss and lipolytic injections.

We also offer vitamin drips/IV nutrient therapy.

What qualifications do you hold that certify you as an aesthetician?

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Botswana, and a Certificate training from Medskills academy and the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine.

Who is currently your biggest clientele?

Our client database is really growing.

However, right now our biggest clients are Batswana females aged between 25 and 55 years.

What is the local demand for aesthetic medicines?

As people begin to understand what the services are and how they can benefit confidence and wellness, more and more people are seeking our services.

The response is positive and becoming popular especially among modern, corporate women.

How do you respond to the notion that your line of work promotes unrealistic beauty standards?

That’s simply untrue!

Our procedures are minimally invasive and meant to enhance your physical appearance.

They don’t make any major alterations to the face or body but rather optimize your looks and boost your confidence.

Starting your own enterprise must be extremely stressful?

It has been physically and emotionally draining, it’s definitely not easy.

There have been many challenges and setbacks that can be quite discouraging throughout the entire process.

How did you cope?

Spending time with family and friends helps me a lot; surrounding myself with people that have positive energy.

I travel when I can get time away and try to stay fit and clear my mind by exercising

Tell us about your family and how supportive they have been?

They have been extremely supportive.

I had to move back home when I resigned and they welcomed me with open arms.

I also lived with my aunt for some time and she allowed me to see my first few clients in her living room.

My mother is one of my biggest clients – from the very beginning, she has probably done almost all the skin treatments that we offer and she always pays the full amount for whatever service or product.

Besides helping us to look and feel our best, what else are you into?

I love to travel.

It’s always great to meet new people in different environments.

It opens your mind and you get a fresh perspective on the world

What’s the ultimate goal?

To expand my business, to have more branches throughout Southern Africa.

To create more employment opportunities for Batswana and diversify the economy and to also provide training and help grow the industry in Botswana.

What hopes and dreams do you have for Botswana’s beauty industry?

That we’ll develop our skills and expertise to the point where we attract people from other countries to come in for our internationally marketable services.

Mention three things in your bucket list?

To go on a Euro tour, including the south of France.

To go on a hot air balloon ride.

To take a painting class.

Finally, Thank God It’s Friday, what will you be up to this weekend?

I’m a homebody these days.

I’ll probably chill at home and spend time with family.

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