#PristineChats: Fifi Mathambo
Every season various youth movements becomes bigger and the go getters become younger. This month Pristine chats with one of the youngest of the crop, Fifi Mathambo, who is breaking walls and pushing boundaries with one of the most powerful but under utilised tools in Botswana. She has already achieved what most twice her age only dream of at 19. Check out what we got to learn about the force that is she is becoming.
1. Who is Fifi Mathambo?
A personality that people relate and vibe with. I’m constantly telling people to live their best life and spend each and every single moment doing whatever it is they can to do so regardless of the circumstance. Happiness isn’t something to be compromised; it should constantly be a goal and constantly be a priority.
2. Your Upbringing?
I was born in Gaborone but was raised in Kasane till I was 7 where I received the best of everything. Living in a tourist town and going to a school as small as Noka Ya Botshelo was cool because I got all the attention I needed. We relocated to Francistown and finally to Gaborone. Broadhurst Primary School was an eye opener for me because I realized how exposed people in the city are as opposed to the previous towns I was in. It annoyed my mum that I didn’t speak good Setswana due to private schooling. She encouraged me to play with my neighbours as much as I wanted. So I learnt most of my Setswana from playing in the streets of Phase 2.
Having completed my secondary school at Maru a Pula I am currently at AFDA, a future motion picture graduate and I couldn’t be happier. I have a Science’y mom who’s pro everything creative so I’m really blessed to be getting the degree I want. My mum is the best.
3. Monumental childhood experience
Definitely losing my dad at the age of 8, it was the first time I’d ever seen my mum cry and even the thought of it now makes me cry. I remember being in denial that he had passed away for about 6 years (my mum still doesn’t know this) I didn’t tell anyone, for years I’d convinced myself and my friends that he was away on a trip in China because I really didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. It really sucked but eventually I told one person, then another, and now it’s something that I don’t keep a secret. It’s still so painful and I never stop crying when I think about it long enough, but it’s an experience that taught me to really fight for everything I believe in because life is too short. Live your best life while you still can. Affirm your loved ones while you still can. Just do everything anything because the life is yours to live or regret, WHILE YOU STILL CAN.
4. Role Model?
My mum and no one else. I didn’t realise it as much growing up as I do now, but my spirit to always want to provide and work hard and do great things now rather than later came from watching my mum raise me alone. The strength of a single mum is God sent and it radiates onto the people around her. She’s such a good mum and she’s so full of love, I wish I could share her with everyone in the world that doesn’t have a mummy because she’s the best!
6. Long term goal?
To be able to inspire and motivate people on a larger scale. I would also like to collaborate with international creatives while still being based here. I really want to show a Motswana child that being in Botswana doesn’t mean you’re trapped and unable to succeed and work with different people outside our small industry.
7. Any support from friends and family?
I don’t have like a squad in a group chat for when I want to go out. I have friends here and there and everywhere around the world. I’ve always preferred it this way because I avoid having my thoughts & actions influenced by anything other than myself. I believe hanging out with a “squad” all the time you end up thinking like them as opposed to yourself and sometimes when things go south you want to point fingers at a friend for giving you misleading advice. I believe everyone has a life to live and a path to follow and we should all stay true to that as much as possible. The few friends I do have are always in my corner though. My family supports and encourages me consistently.
8. What collaborations have you been part of so far?
I’ve worked very closely with Chillstep Sundays since I was 17
I work with Spelling Bee Botswana. This is an initiative that travels the country hosting Spelling Bee contests and giving children an opportunity to broaden their vocabulary. Every year I watch these kids get better and better.
I’ve recently become the brand ambassador for Afrobella Natural Hair Studio which for me was such an honor because I get to be a part of a movement extremely close to my heart and as a black girl I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Sharing my discount code with other Bellas gives me the power to make it a little more affordable to make another woman feel beautiful, it does not get any better than that.
I’ve also started working with Madison (Game City) which I’m enjoying a lot, they have such an amazing team of dedicated staff, and I think it is important to be able to have such great shoes at the prices they do. It very quickly became a new home for me.
9. Who would you like to work with?
I’m very open-minded so my idea of who I want to work with always change. As a fashion & digital media personality, it is very important to me that whatever I do still fits into my main goal of being able to be candidly me.
10. What did you learn when attending the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Jo’burg 2017?
It reminded me that the world is possible to reach. Seeing myself on a best dressed list alongside designer dressed famous people who I look up to was absolutely humbling. At the end of the day the fashion spoke for itself not so much who you are and I really loved that!
11. Social media and how it helped with branding?
It made it easier for me to cement certain things, for example #LiveYourBestLife and #WhatThatMouthDo are hashtags all over my social media. People understand me to be the girl with the happiness movement, and that is always eating. That is what I want.
12. What is the importance of branding?
It used to not be a thing at all for me. I just wanted to post what I want when I want however I want because that is what I am happy doing, until my mentor made me realise the importance of structure and calculating your moves. There’s no point in posting amazing content if no one is interacting with it. Although I’m this carefree bundle of joy, I also have social responsibility that I owe to my followers and some bills to pay so my social media has to be profitable. It’s a business like any other.
13. What drives/motivates you?
My mum and the family. I intend to one day starting one of my own family (yes, I’m already working towards that). I want to give them everything without having to think twice. My mum gave me the world so I owe her the universe; her & my family before me. I really can’t wait to make them happy.
14. Challenges you have faced & how you overcame them?
People used to often hypersexualise my food hashtag #WhatThatMouthDo. At a point I stopped creating that kind of content, but I have now revived it for the target market that understand and appreciate it. I think I’m blessed with the power to overlook the bad and focus on the good.
A challenge I faced after highschool was I wanted to do anything and everything to be as financially independent as possible. Not because I had to. But the problem is after a while I found myself doing everything. At some point I was 17 with 4 different streams of income and barely any of them were enriching my mind. I enjoyed them but what is the point of working and having fun if you can’t put it on your CV as something to back up what your aiming at? I had to learn to prioritise quality over quantity.
By: Masego Mohwasa
Pic Credit: David Billboard