A garden boy’s rise from rags to riches
In the early 90s a teenager watched in green-eyed envy as his peers wearing brand new school uniforms went past his modest homestead for their first day at Junior Secondary School.
He had experienced what many young boys from impoverished backgrounds and families run by poor single mothers go through.
Timothy Sarehiya’s family’s economic status had taken its toll on his education and with no role model he failed to go beyond Standard Seven.
However, unlike most in his position, Sarehiya refused to be defined by his circumstances.
Recently when The Voice team booked a boat cruise as part of the team’s 25-year celebrations, Timmy as he’s popularly known offered his two impressive boats for the expedition.
A Director at Temogo Safari, a company he founded in 2014, Sarehiya’s remarkable rise to the top is an inspirational story of guts, perseverance and plenty of sweat.
“I didn’t go far in school so I had to work at a very young age to survive,” he attests in an exclusive interview with Voice Money aboard his boat.
“I started off as a garden boy working for well-off families in Maun. I later found myself in the tourism industry doing menial jobs in the safaris,” he said of his road to redemption.
Now buffed up and looking nothing like a garden boy, Sarehiya reveals he did everything from gardening, cooking and even working behind the counter as a barman.
“I did it all. I rose through the ranks and acquired so much knowledge that has made me the man I am today!” continued the Maun native from Matapaneng Ward, effortlessly steering through the Tamalakane River’s choppy waters.
Having proved himself a reliable and hard-working employee, Sarehiya was later elevated to Assistant Camp Manager in one of the safaris.
However it wasn’t until he started working for Island Safari Lodge in Sepopa that his life took a dramatic change.
“The water was plentiful in the area and tourists were coming in their thousands. A friend of mine who owned a boat suggested that I should use it for boat cruises in the area, which I was glad to do,” explained the father of two daughters.
It was after sustained periods of operating his friend’s boat that thoughts of branching out on his own began to sprout.
“If I could do it for my friend and other people, I could do it for myself!
“I went out and bought a scrap boat and set out to get a second hand engine. That was the beginning of my business in 2014,” he adds proudly.
Sarehiya, who now employs people on a freelance basis, told Voice Money that the boat served him well for over three years and helped him get established in the highly competitive yet exceedingly lucrative business.
“I recently purchased a brand new boat and my focus has been to build a reputable brand that Batswana and tourists can appreciate. This is a very sensitive industry and competition is high, but one also needs a reputation, a name that tourists can associate with,” he explained.
Sarehiya, whose offices are opposite Crocodile Camp in Matapaneng, said he’s now looking beyond the Botswana market and intends to engage an agent based outside the country to help with the marketing of his business.
“In the last two years I’ve seen real growth, and I want to believe if we can cast our net even further, Temogo Safari can only get bigger!
“We are always ready to serve. Our boats have a parking space at Audi Camp and those wishing to engage us can also go to www.temogosafari.com,” he concluded, his bright smile almost as dazzling as the glow given off by the spectacular setting sun – Sarehiya, however, is a man on the rise!