LEADING A MEANINGFUL LIFE
One thing that stands out when entering Percy Raditladi’s office is a bold sign written; Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.
Below it are his business cards which basically sum up the story of his career life from starting Yarona FM to holding high positions at KBL, G4S Botswana and Nigeria, Botswana National Sports Council and being a Verimark franchisee to being the director of Rep Office World.
Looking at his life thus far, Raditladi lives true to the saying as he has created himself as a no ordinary man but a man who leads and leaves a mark.
However his life has not been without the controversy as his sexual orientation has once been a talking point.
In this candid interview, Raditladi talks about the subject with ease while imploring society to leave judging other people to God.
Q. You left the corporate world and you are now your own boss, enjoying the change?
Of course, I love the flexibility as it gives me time to be constantly in touch with my society and family.
I am able to visit my mother anytime I want, attend gatherings and meet with whoever without worrying about anything.
I feel happier now that I am self employed than before because I can be stubborn.
In the corporate world I didn’t have the latitude to fully express myself about certain issues.
I may not be driving the latest range rover or earning so much money but I am happy.
Q. And you’re still a shareholder at Yarona FM
Yes I am still a shareholder and actually work there every Friday.
I am excited because soon we will be having a new station manager and it’s a lady.
I have always wanted a lady to run the radio station as I have great respect for women.
I was raised by a single mother and have always been inspired by women.
Q. Who is this new station manager?
No no I can’t tell you because she is still working somewhere.
But what I can tell you is that I am very much looking forward to working with her as she is a very talented young lady.
She’s under 30 and will actually be the first female station manager since the birth of the radio station in 1999.
Q. How does it feel to listen to Yarona FM knowing that you are the brains behind it and the fact that it’s now brand?
I feel very proud and happy that there is a legacy that I will leave.
I never thought we would come this far but here we are.
I am actually very happy that I invested in the business as I have enjoyed the dividends.
I bought my first house from Yarona dividends and even used part of the money to buy this stationery business.
Q. And how is the stationery business doing?
The business has been in existence for more than 30 years and I bought it in 2013 from a British family.
We have a huge clientele so business is good.
Sometimes demand exceeds supply so we are worried about getting more orders than being desperate for them.
Q. Before you became a businessperson you were a high flier corporate gentleman, any chances of going back to that world?
I don’t see myself going back to fulltime employment but then again you may never know.
Opportunities always come and the economic environment might change but for now I am happy running my businesses and offering my services where I can.
Q. What drives you?
Contributing to the development of other people especially young ones.
It gives me great pleasure to mentor someone and see them grow.
There are young people that I have mentored who are now CEOs or holding high positions in their work places.
Q. And who are some of these people?
Larona Makgoeng who is now working for SabMiller in South Africa, Dumi Lopang joined while he was from school and is now a successful entrepreneur and Gape Sebonego who is in the Mascom management team to mention just a few.
Q. Now let’s get a bit personal, your personal life became a talking point during your stint at BSNC before you resigned, can we talk about it?
I was stabbed, though it was not related to my work and I was accused of raping my security guard.
There were people pursuing something which was a lie.
So I left because I didn’t want to drag my employer into some unnecessary reputation damage as there was a lot of talk and issues regarding my sexual orientation.
I volunteered to leave but I enjoyed my time there and I believe I positively contributed to the growth of the organisation.
Q. Your perceived sexual orientation, you mean being gay?
People have this perception that if you are in the corporate world you cannot be yourself.
But look, whatever someone does in their bedroom with whoever is their choice.
I am not worried about what people think about my sexual orientation and I am not going to stand up and tell the world that oooh I am gay or whatever.
I believe that as a people it should not be our duty to judge other people.
People have spread rumours and talked about my sexual orientation but it has never affected my life, my career or business.
People have said Percy is gay but they are still working for my businesses.
My radio station employs 32 people so shouldn’t they be proud that there is this gay guy who is running the business.
At the end of the day it’s God who chooses our lives and he is the one who will judge us at the end of our lives.
Q. Ok I hear you…..
People must just stop judging. What if as a parent you give birth to a gay child, are you going to reject or judge that child.
What if your brother, sister or cousin is gay, are you going to reject them.
Society shouldn’t worry about such things because today it will be gay people, tomorrow albinos and the next another group, so should these people be killed or harassed because they are different, certainly not.
And tell you what, gay people are very talented and look after their families very well.
Q. Do you have a family, are you married?
No, I am not married and I don’t have a child, I don’t have cat, I don’t have a dog, but I believe I have a family as I have my sister and a niece that I love dearly.
She’s at university I make sure I take care of her.
Q. But do you have plans to have your own family.
I would love to have children one day, even if I might not be biological father I can adopt.
If I die before I have kids whatever I have should go towards children.
I love children, I love the youth and that’s why I went for a youthful radio station.
Q. At the moment are you seeing someone?
No, I am not dating. But I used to date, my longest relationship was with a lady in South Africa but she left me.
One thing I have learnt about life is that you will never get everything you want.
God always has a way to do things. You can have everything but there are certain things that money cannot buy.
Money cannot buy you love, it cannot buy happiness.
Still on dating, I realized that back in the days I was busy with my career and building the radio station so much that I deprived myself of relationships.
That has contributed in my inability to find a partner.
Maybe now that I am self employed I may find a partner who I will make time for.
Q. Who do you stay with and don’t you feel lonely at times?
I stay alone and tell you what I am never lonely.
Most of the time I am very busy and when I get home I just sleep then in the morning I go to the gym as I am trying to cut on weight but it’s not working (laughs).
Q. When you are long gone, what do you want to be remembered for?
That I cared about humanity, that I was humble, someone who respected and treated people with dignity.
I want to change people’s lives and make it more meaningful.
Q. Anything you are doing now to change people’s lives?
I made sure I got involved in sports again through Miscellaneous Football Club, my contribution there speaks for itself.
I am also part of the African Entrepreneurship Award where I am a mentor and judge and I am glad that 14 Batswana have made it to round 2.
That for me makes me happy. Even if Batswana don’t win I am glad that out of 401 business ideas that have been recognized from across Africa, 14 of those are from Botswana.
Q. What about politics, likely to see you in freedom square?
(Laughs) Politics no, no (laughs again).
Q. How do you spend your spare time?
I like driving around, going out of town and seeing different parts of my beautiful country.
I don’t like going outside the country and haven’t been beyond our borders since 2014.
I have travelled the world before so now it’s time to spend time home.