Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe is a Johannesburg based entrepreneur and the executive chairperson of African Fashion International (AFI). A company that owns and hosts Fashion weeks in South Africa. AFI’s mission is to promote and develop South African and African fashion and to bring it into the mainstream. Through partnerships with various companies and government, AFI brings together fashion designers, media, retailers and consumers.
The leading lady is not one to toil with opportunities; she has consciously and tactfully worked out her career path with determination and focus. She started her career in medicine at Wits University and eventually became a medical doctor; she has since then been involved in several health works and organizations. She has also worked in both the public and private health sector as a general practitioner. The progressive rise in her medical career propelled her to relocate to the United States with her family. Upon her return to South Africa she opened one of the first women’s health clinics in Johannesburg.
Few years down the line, Precious left the medical practice to head the Motsepe Foundation, an organization she started in partnership with her dear husband Patrice Motsepe; the former president of Business Unity SA and the Black Business Council. The Motsepe Foundation focuses on Health and Education in the poorer communities in South Africa. Through the Foundation, she continues to focus on a lot of advocacy work around the girl child and Women’s Health Education. Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe has been able to promote her passion for women’s health and her active involvement in the fashion business through projects such as the Design for Life Breast Cancer Campaign, which supports education and diagnosis of breast cancer in Women in rural communities and townships. She hopes to use the fashion industry, which often receives a lot of media attention, to bring focus to health issues in poor communities in South Africa.
What I find really interesting about this great woman is that she has a clear vision of her mission, though the journey was not always smooth, yet she maintained focus and balance, defied the conventional and eventually gained mastery of her calling.
Precious holds a Diploma in Reproductive Health and Child Health. She is a Patron of Birdlife South Africa and also Patron of Child Welfare South Africa. She is a past President of the Cancer Association of South Africa and is now its lifetime member. She sits on the board of Synergos, an organization dedicated to addressing global poverty and social injustice through collaboration with governments, business and civil society, by creating sustainable systems change.
Although precious started off with medicine, she knew that being a doctor was not all there was especially for her. It was clear that she had a higher calling. Her passion for fashion was ever present in and with her, even as a child in Sunday school.
According to her; “as a young girl I always enjoyed the feel and look of clothing. Growing up in Soweto, you socialised at weddings and church – those were times when you could shine and put on your best outfit and I enjoyed that. I couldn’t sew to save my life at school, but when playing with dolls with my siblings and cousins, I had the fashion sense, in terms of knowing what looked good on the dolls. And the passion grew from there. So going into the fashion industry was an easy transition for me, because I felt I could make a difference by investing in the growth of industries that define who we are as a nation. The fashion and arts industry is important in that regard, as well as the way it employs thousands of people, such as fabric makers, seamstresses and beaders”.
Now I lack words to express the extent of the pain I feel when I see young people who have made a duty to restrict themselves in every way, never willing to learn, re-learn and even unlearn; Making mockery of the divine gifts that were freely given to all, Africans especially. That is why I feel exceptionally pleased to share the story of this pacesetter; a woman that started out with a clear picture of her purpose and mission. To her, restricting oneself to a particular career or discipline is clearly myopic and totally unacceptable. She believes that everyone is endowed with great potentials and talents that must be maximized.
In her words: “I never agonised about not practising medicine. I believe you need to find things that you enjoy doing and explore them to the fullest, but don’t get stuck with them. I don’t believe in this myopic view of our careers, where you have to study something and then you have to work in that career for the next 50 years. It’s like buying an expensive hammer and for the rest of your life you’ve got to be hammering in nails. I really don’t believe that. I think medicine, in many ways, prepared me for many other things that I could do. Passion, hard work, honesty and respect for others is something I carry with me wherever I go. I hope that in 10 years’ time I will go into something else. I believe in reinventing myself as a human being. There are people who want to stay in a career and explore it to the maximum, but I like change”.
Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe has also been recently appointed Gift from Africa’s Champion for Africa, a Global Fund Initiative that seeks to mobilize private sector support in Africa in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
I wish I can tell you a secret about this woman of influence…………..maybe I can, if you promise not to tell. Alright here it is, she has an intense phobia for lightning. Hmmmmm.
© 2013, Lovelyn Okafor. All rights reserved.