Mma- Montshonayana Diseko, 72, is one busy businesswoman.
Growing up in an era when pots were a part and parcel of household goods and not just art, Diseko learned pottery from her mother who ran a brisk business supplying Molepolole village with these necessities.
In the 60’s at the age of 18, she set up her own business, which just turned 55.
Affectionately known as Mmadinkgwana, (mother of pots) the award winning potter has continued to refine and hone her skills in pottery until she acquired Botswana Training Authority (BOTA) certificate as a trainer for non-formal education trainees in various places across the country, including Kang, Kasane, Okavango and others.
Her arts and craft accolades include Best in Traditional Pottery, 2013 during the Presidential Competitions, Overall Winner National Basket & Craft Category, 2013 and Best in Traditional Pottery 2016 just to mention a few.
The talented elderly woman however continues to develop her skills from various workshops organised by the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC).
“Despite their weight I used to carry the clay pots on my head going around the village selling to my customers, but now that I’m advanced in age it is difficult for me to continue doing that so I rely on the museum to sell for me,” she said.
Her other challenge is escalating production costs as she has to spend money to pay people to dig clay, which is found in the middle of rocks in the hills and also to dig up the brownish clay soil known as Moraga which gives the pots an attractive colour.
“I also use dry cow dung collected from far away cattle posts,” she noted.
Her main clients are Botswana Craft and individuals. The biggest size pot costs P2 300.00; a medium sized one costs P 1 500.00 while smaller ones cost P250.00 and P110.00 respectively.
The attractive clay pots are nowadays used for decoration although a few people still use them as coolers for water storage.
Part of her humble business expansion plan includes putting up a shade by the roadside to exhibit and advertise her pots everyday.
“ I plan to make three more unique clay pots to beat all competition this year. I need assistance to break into foreign markets.”
She says the old woman showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.