What do you do when you stay six years without a job?

Lebogang Matsetse turned to what she knew best – cooking – to keep the fires burning at home.

With the rate of unemployment in Botswana at 20%, the 32-year-old is one of many young women who have turned to passion and entrepreneurship.

Matsetse started a catering company.

“I was literally tired of staying home doing nothing. It demotivated me and made me lose hope in life,” says Matsetse.

In September last year, she launched ChillieMama Catering Services. Operating from her home kitchen, Matsetse seems to have surely appealed to the taste-buds of her many different clients.

She may be rustling up the delicacies out of her kitchen stove, but Matsetse says her cuisine is classy.

“We take pride in the way we present it because we realized that is where most catering companies fail. Customers love well-presented food.”

Having grown up in an extended family in a township called Phiring in Broadhurst, Botswana, Matsetse learned it all from her grandmother.

“She was the extended family cook and nurtured me from as young as age five. By then I felt I was being overworked, little did I know she was preparing me for greater things as now cooking is what puts food on my table.”

The Bachelor of Arts Degree graduate with a major in English once tried teaching, but said she never enjoyed it, so quit.

“When I am cooking, I never feel tired. I literally cook every day and find joy in it and it somehow helps me unwind.”

Matsetse credits Facebook for most of her exposure and success.

“I never went around dropping my company profile to different companies and organizations. Every morning, I just upload pictures of the food I cooked on Facebook and will then receive calls from different companies requesting quotes. I believe the hard work I put in what I do speaks for me,” she says.

In March alone, Matsetse was able to make over P35,000 ($3,400) in profit. She believes it is not every day start-up businesses get big tenders and do well.

“My passion motivates me to put in more effort and I know this impresses my clients.”

With the business growing, Matsetse plans on finding a bigger space to operate from. She hopes to hire five more employees and intends taking her business to different parts of Africa.

“I want Africa and the rest of the world to know that great chefs can emerge from Botswana and I am the one to set that record and penetrate the international industry.

“Cooking is a craft that improves every single day and I plan to go to a culinary school to refine my skills,” she says.

Passion is the fire that keeps her dream alive, and her world of pots and pans busy. – Written by Gofaone Makhaya