This week’s Celebrate Women Wednesday features Lebogang Maruapula (27), a new-age digital trailblazer. Lebogang noticed the potential that social media has to revolutionize Africa and she decided to get involved. She is the founder of EBAT Media, the first social media consulting and management company in Botswana. A social media boom is spreading through many parts of Africa. Social media is influencing everything, from the a chief in Kenya, who uses social media to warn villagers of crimes in the area to citizens of Egypt who used social media to organize and rally during the Arab spring. There is no doubt social media is a force to be reckoned with as mobile penetration and mobile internet usage increase throughout Africa.
- Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born and proudly bred in Botswana, this is where I live now.
- What do you do for a living? I am the founder of EBAT Media, which is a Social Media Consulting & Management Company, the first of its kind in Botswana.
- How and why did you first get involved in what you do? Just as everyone else, Ive always been fascinated by social media, from the Hi5 to the My Space days Ive always been active in social media. There was a time i thought to myself, “The amount of tweeting i do feels like a job!”, I started doing research about new-age careers and Social Media Consulting and Management was a part of the list. Of all the new age careers it caught my eye because this is something Ive often wished that companies in Botswana could be more active in! I really want to see Botswana doing better with internet penetration rankings and businesses taking an active role in doing online marketing and being more intimate with their customers. After all, the internet is where the world meets! I figured that perhaps the buck should start with me.
- What is EBAT media and what does it stand for? EBAT is an acronym which stands for Environment Business Agriculture and Training, it started as a family business which does training in areas of business, agriculture and environment, over time, the acronym turned into a name and more businesses came up on the name, there is EBAT Guest Lodge, EBAT Consultants, EBAT Marketing & Communications and i just solely set up EBAT Media.
EBAT Media does social media consulting and management for organizations. We help companies maximize their online presence by using media that is cost effective, readily available, impactful and technologically forward.The world should have information about your services readily available and we help businesses position themselves with potential and existing key persons.
- What is the significance of social media in your opinion? Social Media is the future. And i mean that literally! Social Media has been steadily building its position for the past decade or so. It has now gained so much momentum that everything you need to find out about, you can find it on social networks, whether its news, business contacts, friends..etc. Social Media is significant for businesses because conversations are taking place on them with or without your participation and as a result, opinions are being formed. That to me is POWER! Social Media is Powerful!
- Where do you see social media/the Internet taking Africa in the future? Recently we learnt that Stellenbosch in the Western Cape will be the first South African Town to have Free Wi-Fi everywhere! That is moving Milestones especially for an African Country. I see African leaders also taking note of the power of social media, Presidents and Chiefs are on twitter, governments are on Facebook and Twitter. So I believe that though we are catching on a little later than the rest of the world, we are definitely moving in the direction that makes Africa accessible. We are no longer seen as that far-off continent whose people don’t know that a mouse is not just a furry rodent, people around the world are learning about us, our cultures, we are shooting down mis-conceptions about Africa and we are indeed breeding the next generation right here in Africa through social networking and the internet.
- What advice would you give young woman who want to start their own business? JUST DO IT! Collect all the Armour you need; business contacts, mentors, learn something new about the type of business you want to do everyday, start talking to people and always mention your business whatever chance you get and go for it! The truth of the matter is if you are looking to build wealth and true success, you can never really get there by working for someone else and fulfilling their vision while yours lies dormant.
- Do you think enough is being done to develop and train women and girls in Botswana? Though Botswana does a lot to develop women and girls and there are systems in place to uplift women, i wish that there was more done to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship in young women. Our government is very supportive to women and there are programs and NGOs which are created solely for the support of women, so i believe that in the near future more will be done for women entrepreneurs.I think this is also the responsibility of citizens, we should also insist on setting up organizations to help women entrepreneurs and not just count on the government.
- Last book you read by an African author? In a Ribbon of Rhythm by Lebo Mashile
- Top 3 African countries you want to or have visited? Nigeria is Definitely first on the list of countries i want to visit! It seems like the kind of place one would never want to come back from! Just amazing! I would also love to visit Ethiopia and Egypt.
- Finish this sentence: “I love being African because…” I love being African because as an African i have the world at my feet! No other continent is as rich in culture, values, music and color as we are. As an African i am born with warmth, love, rhythm, strength and beauty! How can i not love being African?!
Thank you Lebogang for sharing your story! We wish you all the best!
To keep up with Lebogang you can follow her on twitter @MrsMapSocialyt