On the surface, Neltah Mosimanegape appears to have it all.
With her radiant good looks, searing intelligence and bubbly, outgoing nature, as well as a high-flying career in real estate, the 28-year-old is the envy of many.
However, despite her cheery demeanour, Mosimanegape has struggled with both psychological and physical demons for much of her life.
From crippling depression to a debilitating digestive disorder, her mind and body have suffered more than most.
“Growing up was both fun and challenging for me. I grew up with two older brothers and a sister. I always knew I was different. People always said ke ne ke rata go ngala (you are short tempered) but I had no control over it. I managed to make it through Primary with straight As for my PSLE. I was also gifted in high school without any major problems until Form Two when I slipped into the deepest depression,” Mosimanegape tells Voice Woman, her alert brown eyes alive with emotion.
Casting her mind back to those difficult days, she explains her depression was not caused by any single event.
“I cannot say it was triggered by anything. That’s when I started realising that mental illnesses are really due to chemical imbalances in the brain in most cases.”
In spite of her problems, Mosimanegape completed High School with good grades earning a place at University.
However, the step up in education proved too much for her fragile mental state and finally, in the company of a friend, Mosimanegape sought professional help.
“I saw a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and anxiety.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t consistent with my medications. In hindsight I realise I was afraid of being rejected by my family and others and so I hid my illness. I only disclosed my illness to family about five years later. To cope I resorted to self harming and I still bear the scars.”
To add to her woes, Mosimanegape was later diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the digestive system. The main symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and often leads to weight loss.
The precise cause of Crohn’s disease is not known. The disease can cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as rashes, arthritis and inflammation of the eyes.
“It has not been helpful that the disease is less known in our community and this compounded my challenges. I get regular excruciating flare ups and though I am careful with my diet I cannot control falling ill. I have lost friends, relationships as I was not always available and have had to put off things like commencing my doctorate because of this.”
Mosimanegape reflects on this and adds quietly, “It’s been rough for my loved ones and me!”
Undeterred and spurred on by a fierce spirit to succeed, Mosimanegape’s commitment to realise her dreams remains unshakeable.
“I have come this far and will continue to work towards the dreams I have had disrupted along the way. I am confident and strong enough to overcome!” she stresses, a steely edge evident in her tone.
The painful journey she has endured makes her rapid rise in the Estate industry all the more impressive.
“My journey in the property industry began when I was just 21. The opportunity to be part of the managing team of Masa Centre in the CBD, a first of its kind, while still studying for my BA in Economics and Accounting at the University of Botswana was truly phenomenal. I got to learn so much as the assistant Centre Manager and as part of the project management and operations team that launched the centre,” she reveals proudly.
“I was then head-hunted by another estate company giant to manage one of the iconic buildings, still in the new CBD. This experience was a lot more challenging than my tenure at Masa Centre as it is a sectional title development, which has not gained popularity in Botswana yet,” she continued, adding that she enrolled for a Masters Degree in Project Management in 2014.
“I then managed to find yet another facilities management position with Exponential Investments, which is a property crowd funded development made up of citizens of Botswana. Working in a predominately male dominated industry has not been without challenges but I have proven to be able to perform just as well, if not better, than my male counterparts.”
It was this experience combined with her unrelenting drive to do more that motivated Mosimanegape to set up her own business, Tempest Gold Property, which she is currently trying to grow.
Refusing to see herself as a helpless sufferer but rather a healed survivor, Mosimanegape chooses to live her life with a positive outlook.
“Though some days are harder, I honestly feel blessed and driven to be a great example to others. Everyone has their share of challenges but with a positive outlook one can achieve anything they put their mind to,” she stresses, adding that she is actively involved in community work with the hope of inspiring young females to aim higher in their pursuits.
The bubbly Mosimanegape is full of excitement as she shares her latest quest, a property listings mobile app, which she has developed and plans to launch this Friday on Google Play Store.
“This app will basically be a listing app in the palm of a consumer’s hands. It will be offered absolutely free and gradually monetized once we have reached a certain number of downloads. We are looking at servicing the general public seeking to sell, buy, rent or invest in property.
“We will be rolling out more features but for now we will have a feature for real estate companies and independent realtors to list as well as an articles section to sensitise the public on all matters related to real estate. Clients include property companies with agency departments, individual agents as well as individuals who wish to be listed on the mobile application to buy, rent, sell or lease properties that may be theirs or on behalf clients,” she explains.
Mosimangape hopes her story can inspire others suffering from mental disorders to overcome their problems.
“I am hopeful though that by sharing my journey others will be encouraged. It is not popular to openly discuss mental illness, hence many sufferers are ostracized not only by society but family, friends and acquaintances making it harder for patients to seek help. Though mental illness can strike at anytime and no one is immune, it is still an uncomfortable subject for many people.
“I want to be an ambassador of hope for those suffering with mental illnesses and show them that they do not have to give up hope,” she concludes brightly.