My name is Moipone Sekola, a 23-year-old Civil Engineering graduate. I graduated from Lerotholi Polytechnic in 2021. My life’s mantra is ‘If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it’ – Michael Jordan.

Since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted to be a woman in construction. I believe this inspiration was from an engineering TV series I used to watch or craps computer game I used to play when I was younger. In this series, the lead actress was an engineer, who despite opposition from her father that engineering is a male-dominated sector, went on to succeed and exceed all his expectations.   What also inspired me to become an engineer, was the fact that my lifelong role model; my father, was working in the built environment. 

After a year of graduating, I had the privilege of learning about rise, through a post I saw on a friend’s page, that the organization was holding a design & build entrepreneurship training program for graduates in the built environment. Without any hesitation, I swiftly applied. Little did I know that my entire life would be changed forever, for the best. 

I am originally from Nazareth but was raised and brought up in Tsoapo-le-bolila AKA Tsoapos. I attended my primary and high school locally in the neighbourhood schools. My driving force was the fear of stagnation and hunger for financial freedom. Hence I grew up willing to get dirty from working and helping my dad in his concrete works, which in turn made me physically able to carry ‘men’s stuff’, pushing me further in the ‘men’s world’ of the built environment. The path has not always been smooth and friendly, but I’m happy to say though I’ve been knocked down a couple of times, I’m still going because I’m not where I want to be yet. 

After completing my Civil Engineering course I was set on starting my own family company in construction and thanks to rise’s entrepreneurship modules and guidance, that goal is soon to be achieved. From the first weeks of orientation, the fellows have been equipped with the necessary skills for venturing into successful entrepreneurship through business training sessions; from generating a business idea to conducting market research and compiling a business plan. This has helped me a lot in growing my business through conducting market research for my business idea to determine how efficient and viable it is. 

As a fellow in rise’s in loco program, our 2023 cohort is responsible for designing and constructing Kick4Life’s Stadium of Life. It is an ongoing project that entails structuring stands around the pitch and designing a container city and social enterprise. However, for a period of 6 to 8 months, our cohort will be working on stands, fencing, home and away container changing rooms, fencing, retaining walls, levelling and paving of the parking lot among others. I am the Site Manager of this fascinating project which is set on using only gum poles in its construction. This is to attain and maintain the already existing timber language features. Kick4Life’s staff members, players, and youth were involved in the design stages of the concept through what we call Participatory Design Workshop (PDW). This is a very unique approach which I felt privileged to have been part of.

In the in loco fellowship we work as a team, and this is helping me a lot in improving my personality and people relations skills. Everyday interaction and working from one space is benefiting every single one of us in personal development from shared hard and soft skills to blending with everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. We tackle challenges together and come up with creative and forward-thinking solutions. I’ve experienced first-hand that indeed no man is an island. 

Although we are still at the initial stage of the project, I can already visualize us sitting in the audience stands one day celebrating our successful project. I am very honoured to be part of this amazing project and I hope it becomes a success.