A courageous woman’s journey to self-discovery
She has moved from confusion to clarity, from chaos to order and purpose in life and she wants to inspire others to know that with help, it is possible to heal one’s life.
Lebo, Mamapilo, the recently graduated dentist was once a wayward and self destructive child who gave her parents sleepless nights worrying about her future.
Although she grew up quite a beauty queen, winning titles such as Little Miss Francistown, Miss Lesedi Primary and Miss Isang primary; Mamapilo is the first to admit that the innocence and novelty of it wore off, as she got older.
“I could not focus on anything and although I was smart, I failed exams countless times.”
This self-destructive behavior resulted in Mamapilo being shunted from one school to another in search of stability.
She counts the capital city, Gaborone Francistown, Zimbabwe, Mochudi, Namibia and in the last few years, Russia as some of the places she has called home in the past.
Her seemingly vast travels stemmed from hardly ever being able to keep out of trouble at the schools she attended.
Her family was at a loss as to how to deal with her.
Then as though an answer to their endless prayers Mamapilo turned a new leaf in Gaborone Secondary School with the help of her guidance and counseling teacher; Moses Kgosibodiba.
“Together with my parents, he helped pave change my character, ” She says
I was keen to learn and be a team player in my development. My character blossomed and I started to enjoy school and did way better than I had before.”
Upon completion of secondary school Mamapilo went on to do “A”levels in Zimbabwe.
Returning home two years later, she found herself faced with challenges of fitting in and finding her footing.
“I enrolled to study Bachelor of Laws at the University of Botswana. This is also around the time my child (sunshine) was born. I had a lot going on at the time and I struggled to juggle all the responsibilities I was faced with.”
A young confused mother who also had the pressures of student demands, a bride to be, Mamapilo lost herself.
“I was under too much pressure and I was not ready for drastic changes, I fell apart! I drowned myself in alcohol and in no time, I failed and discontinued my studies.
I got small jobs, secretarial jobs and I was not happy and so I was not consistent.” Mamapilo’s life was in disarray.
“Friends left and my relationship failed. I was told I was a failure and I totally fell for it. I had no one but my family. The tribe of women in my life (my mother, my aunt and my grandmother never gave up on me. They prayed day and night to see me get up, dust myself and go back to school.”
Finally, Mamapilo had a breakthrough. As the eldest child she wanted to be exemplary and also ease her family’s worry over her wayward life.
“I came to my senses and wanted to do something with my life. I knew I could do and be anything I wanted if I put my mind to it.”
However, Mamapilo wanted a fresh start, where no one knew her so she prayed for a change.
“I wanted to go somewhere no one would care to judge me. I would be a stranger with a chance to start afresh. So in 2010 I applied to study cosmetic dentistry in Russia and I got my admission letter the same year. Truly dreams are real. I was ecstatic but soon the beaming stopped as my search for sponsorship was futile. I knocked from door to door looking for sponsors conversely, I was turned down. It was a blow to my plans but my mother decided to pay my tuition and upkeep.
I left for Russia and so my journey on the right path began. It was not easy, some days were better than others but I kept my head above the waters. I wanted to succeed with every fiber of my being so I pushed myself.
Six years later, here I am, standing tall and loving my journey. In these six years I grew wiser, I taught and learned, I became patient; I became a leader and most of all a hard worker. I taught myself discipline.
I am more appreciative of the people around me. I became a better person.
On June 29th 2016, Mamapilo took her Doctor’s oath. “Please, allow me to re introduce myself; Dr. L.M Mamapilo (BDS).
Graduating from Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy in Russia. I have learned to trust my journey and not compare myself to anyone but rather compete with who I was yesterday. Surely this is whom I was meant to be.
The most important thing is to pick yourself up and keep moving. It doesn’t matter when you get there, forward is forward! I am editing my life story. We all can.” She quip