An interview with DIDINTLE LETLAPE, a Commonwealth youth leader, founder and owner of House of D women’s clothing line and the Bokamoso Ba Rona programme. She shares with us how she does it all so well.
1. PLEASE TELL US WHAT YOU DO
I am someone who is passionate about change and making a difference. Currently, I own a label called House of D which designs for career women, we sell clothes and offer mentorship. Women come together to buy. I also have a consultation business and help people with how to improve their businesses. In terms of leadership, I am the Africa Representative for the Commonwealth Youth Council, which is a platform for advancing the youth development agenda and co-ordination of activities and policies of the Commonwealth, and I am particularly focused on entrepreneurship. I also run programme called Bokamoso Ba Rona which has put me in a position to empower both the child and parents to encourage a conducive environment for learning at home. We teach parents of disadvantaged children about effective parenting, entrepreneurship, mentorship, soft skills, leadership training and focusing on early childhood development because it is better to instill certain skills and values in children when they are still young unlike when they are old.
2. PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF, HOW WERE YOU IN HIGH SCHOOL AND HOW ARE YOU NOW.
In high school I used to be a top achiever. Powerful but not in the right way. I was more about nice things, self-centred but now I am all about passion, making an impact in people’s lives and achieving. I now have a clear vision of what I want and I am purposeful. Church helped and showed me how serving can help one grow. When you give, you get-as the scripture in Mathew 6:33 says that “seek yee first and all shall be added unto you”.
3. WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DO THE AMAZING THINGS YOU DO?
My inspiration is passion to make an impact. When it comes to clothing, I decided to make more it than just about dressing up but to influence the life of a woman through mentorship. I want to make money but also change lives. Next year I plan to launch my own clothing line. I am passionate about Africa, when I went to London, I took leadership role to position myself in life, to be part of the change I want to see. That is why I also started the Bokamoso programme to present children an option to learn, to let them know that their backgrounds is not a limit. To pay it back, that is what I wanted and still doing.
4. HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE, FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED TO CONTINUE TO DO THE THINGS YOU DO?
How I keep myself accountable is by writing down what I want to achieve like the scripture Habakkuk 2:2 that says we should write down a vision and make it plain upon tablets so that he may run that readeth it. I also look up to my Pastor, who is very vision driven. Also my friend Kefilwe, I am always in check with her. What keeps her focused and motivated and see if it is also what I want to achieve myself despite challenges.
5. DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR OR ADVISOR?
When it comes to having a mentor or advisors, I spend time with people I want to be like. I have a mentor, rather say a friend who is a millionaire. I ask questions, I learn through others. It does not have to be formal or direct. I have two men and lots and lots of women as mentors.
6. WHAT ADVICE OR WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN HIGH SCHOOL AND THOSE AT UNIVERSITY OR PERHAPS SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN EARLIER?
What I wish I had known earlier is to be fully present in everything I do. You cannot expect results if you are not fully present, either at school or in a relationship etc. My advice would be to fully immense yourself in something you are doing and once achieved move on and focus on the next. Dream, I am a dreamer. Immense yourself in knowledge and through books, that is what I wish I had known earlier in my life.
7. HOW DO YOU LEARN? DO YOU READ, WATCH DOCUMENTARIES, LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOKS OR READ ONLINE?
I learn through reading, I prefer reading hard copies instead of online books and attending seminars, I watch documentaries and I go out and network with people more especially those who are ahead of me. I also learn through my failures and successes.