Photography by: Thabo Mohloboli
Writing by: Linda Zhangazha
Lerato Dube is an entrepreneur who has been running Cafe Mojo restaurant at Morija Museum since April 2013. Cafe Mojo offers international cuisine and is renowned for being the first pizza-making restaurant in Morija.
In 1999, Dube started working as a waitress at Mimmos Italian Deli in Maseru. She worked her way to the top through hard work and dedication. It was during her time as an employee at Mimmos that she decided she wanted to go into business and be her own boss. She started running a self-catering business. The desire to succeed pushed her to expand and that is how she started Cafe Mojo. Getting started was not easy. “I had to save up every cent in order to get the start up capital that I needed,” she explains.
Dube says that it took a long time for people to get used to the kind of cuisine that Cafe Mojo offers. At first, customers were surprised to see food such as pizza and lasagna being sold in Morija. However, things have now changed for the better. Her business is enjoying great success and her customers range from locals to the tourists that visit Morija. She does her best to keep her customers happy. “I always try to deliver the best service,” she says.
Another factor that led Dube to open Cafe Mojo was the lack of restaurants that provide international food in Morija so she decided to fill that gap. Her famous pizza is made the Italian way in a traditional oven and, according to her, tourists enjoy pizza made this way more than fast-food pizza.
A challenge that she faces is the ups and downs of business because during some seasons business is slow, and during others it is very busy. “When you run your own business, you have to be self-motivated, so you have to work harder,” she says. She believes that one has to be daring, fearless and confident if they want success. Having grown up in a poor family, she had to take part-time jobs as a student in order to make ends meet. After high school she worked at a clothing shop and then later obtained help from a Canadian man to work as a waitress. She emphasises that people should not make excuses about their backgrounds because a person can make it in life regardless of where they are born or how they grew up. Her background taught her how to handle challenges and inspired her to be who she is today.
In the future, she hopes to see her business grow as she believes that there is room for expansion. Her greatest desire is to see other Basotho women aiming high and succeeding. “Basotho women should strive to improve their nation and environment,” she says. “Women should not be afraid to take risks. Always follow your dream, no matter how hard it is. Always stay wide awake and be ready to take any challenge that comes your way.”