In Conversation with: Ephraim Modise

An Image of Ephraim Modise- Mostwana Entrepreneur - blogger

Ephraim Modise is a 24-year-old Motswana Computer Science major, startup entrepreneur and blogger who recently won the World Bank #Blog4Dev prize. He is passionate about reading, writing and in general, anything that can positively impact other people’s lives.

Where did your passion for writing come from?

Haha it’s a funny story I mentioned on one of the posts on my blog. Back in junior school there was a girl I had a crush on and she was part of the school’s poetry and creative writing club. So, I joined the club to impress her and then I fell in love with writing from then on. The other attributing factor to my passion for writing is, growing up I had a speech impediment. Because talking was not really my strongest virtue, reading and writing were my ways of keeping myself company and expressing myself. You can say the passion for reading and writing was ignited from that time.

How did you get into blogging?

Like aforementioned, writing had been my go to way of expressing myself since I was a kid so last year I just decided to start doing it on a regular basis so that is how my blog site, ‘Some Black Guy’s Thoughts’ was conceived. It was a way for me to stop talking to myself so much and instead put what I was thinking about on a platform that people can have access to.

What do you hope people will get from reading your blog?

What I hope people will get from reading my blog is knowledge. Whether its knowledge about dealing with emotional issues, tech knowledge or knowledge about Afrocentric issues etc. I want people to always say “hey, I spent a few minutes on this blog and I learnt something from this guy’s writings” because like Ernest Hemingway said in his autobiography, “everything that we go through, there is a probability that someone else went through the same thing and wrote about how they dealt with it”. I hope to be that guy whose writings help people deal with whatever they are going through.

What opportunities has blogging brought your way?

Because of blogging, I was able to win the 2019 World Bank #Blog4Dev prize and now I have the opportunity to travel to Washington DC. Also, whilst there I get to meet other bloggers from all over the world and nurture relations with them and build my brand. So haha, my first time traveling outside Africa, my first time being on the radio etc are all because of blogging so it’s clear that blogging has opened quite a few doors for me.

What advice do you have for someone getting into blogging?

Being an African blogger can be quite challenging and not exactly motivational because our people are not really appreciative of blogging so you will put up a whole lot of content and get minimal traffic which can really dampen your spirits. My advice to someone who is starting or wants to start would therefore be, persevere. Write not for an audience but because you want to express yourself and get something off your chest. The traffic should just be a bonus not your source of inspiration because if it is your sole inspiration, it’s going to be very difficult to find that inspiration. Let your passion for writing be your main source of inspiration.

As an entrepreneur, what would you say are the most important tools to help you reach your goals?

Like with blogging, the most important tool is passion because when you are passionate about what you are doing, no matter how many times doors are slammed on your face. You should always keep knocking until you are eventually let in and that goes a long way in entrepreneurship because a lot of doors are going to be slammed in your face, both literally and figuratively. A good network also goes a long way in entrepreneurship because it’s hard for people to give you a seat at the table when they do not know you. If they know you through someone you know, it becomes a lot easier.

Who inspires you the most in life and why?

Mac Miller (rest in peace) was and still continues to be a big inspiration of mine because of not only his work ethic but always remaining true to himself even in his art. His ability to grow as an artist whilst still remaining true to himself in an industry where most of the time, the executives and audience’s perception seem to matter more than the artist’s vision is an inspiration to me. He was one of the inspirations for me to start my blog, so he will always be my muse.

What is the one thing you cannot live without?

Haha probably my phone because that is where all my books are and I need them to keep my sanity.

Of all your work, which one is your favorite?

Everything on my blog is my favourite because what happens is that, every time I finish a post I’m always like “wow, this is definitely my best work up to date” haha.

What has been your biggest achievement?

An Image of Ephraim Modise- Mostwana Entrepreneur - blogger

Becoming a father really had a profound impact on my life because it really set me on a path to be a better person. It was a life changing and the most important achievement in my life so far. On a professional level, winning the #Blog4Dev competition and also being selected as part of the 10 young Batswana to be a part of the Okavango Diamond Company Youth Entrepreneurship Programme were immense achievements.

What have you learned about yourself through writing?

Saying that I rediscovered who I am through writing would be an understatement. It is through writing that I realised how much having a positive impact on other people’s lives means to me. It is through writing that I learned how much passion, work ethic and writing has contributed a lot to my self-discovery.

What song is the soundtrack to your life?

Haha I have a lot of songs by Mac Miller (surprise, surprise) that are soundtracks to my life so choosing one is a hard task, but I would have to say Get Up comes out on top. “Life goes on, days get brighter” is my favorite line from it.

Which bloggers do you follow and why?

I mostly follow Afrobloggers because it’s a unique platform for African bloggers to come together which I think is such an amazing thing. It has given me the opportunity to learn about the work of other African bloggers like myself.

How did you get into startup entrepreneurship?

Well it really started during my primary school days when I used to sell biscuits to football spectators at the stadium haha. I realised that it was something I wanted to do during the Okavango Diamond Company Youth Entrepreneurship Programme because I was around such inspirational people during the course of the Programme.

Why did you choose the diamond industry in particular?

The diamond industry is Botswana’s food basket and there is very minimal citizen participation. I figured why should we leave the industry that contributes so much to our country’s economy in the hands of non-citizens? That was the main motivation, to be an active part of an industry which has such a large impact on the lives of my fellow citizens. Nothing can be for us without our participation.

An Image of Ephraim Modise- Mostwana Entrepreneur - blogger

What is your favorite thing about being Motswana?

It’s an amazing country to be in but like everyone else, we have our own issues we have to deal with like corruption in public service offices but my favorite thing about being from this country is the food. We have amazing traditional food in this country.

How has the journey been so far?

It has been challenging because with the diamond industry in Botswana, especially when you are a startup, it is very hard to be offered a seat at the table. It is such a closed industry but with perseverance and passion I have kept going and I will keep going until something eventually gives.

What advice would you give to upcoming young writers/entrepreneurs?

Make sure that whatever you pursue resonates with your values because if it does, you will consequently be passionate about it and hence not give up easily. Also, in whatever you do remain true to yourself. Never change yourself in order to fit in somewhere or achieve something. Being yourself is the one thing you are automatically good at so always do that.

How would you like to be remembered?

As the guy who tried to have as much of a positive impact on as many lives as he could whilst also living his best life at the same time.

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