Botswana Building Society (BBS) Limited, a financial institution financing residential and commercial property, is not new to corporate brawls. Bitter boardroom rivalry was, however, renewed recently when the BBS board chairperson, Pelani Siwawa-Ndai dismissed long time BBS managing director, Pius Molefe and the decorated board secretary, Sipho Showa who have vowed to take the fight to the board chair. In this article, Mmegi Staff Writer RYDER GABATHUSE zooms into Showa’s profile
FRANCISTOWN: As the BBS boardroom hoo-hah rages on, a pertinent question is: who really is Showa? Already there is gossip in the corporate space that the main target in the BBS saga could be Molefe whilst Showa is just but collateral damage.
That aside, who is Showa?
“A very solid person,” answers a former colleague in the corporate world who doesn’t want to be named for professional reasons.
“You can’t take the man lightly. He has a very analytical mind and is a really focused gentleman,” says a colleague who is steadfast that when you work with him, he provides very good support. He is also a loyal person - a very strong character who duly sticks to what he believes in firmly, even when it could be wrong.
“What you see is what you get from Showa,” stresses the former colleague.
Director communications and stakeholder relations at the Competition and Consumer Authority, Gideon Nkala says Showa didn’t stay very long in the media space but his footprint is indelibly huge.
The former Mmegi editor says of Showa: “He had a trailblazing presence at the national broadcaster Botswana Television (Btv) and at the private radio station, Gabz Fm where he hosted a weekly programme.”
“He is erudite and well-read. One of the most focused individuals I know.”
At Btv, Showa was one of the pioneering employees at the station as he was amongst the second batch of recruits.
When Btv was commissioned in 2000, Showa read the first story to go on air.
A former colleague at the state-owned television station, Oteng Mokowe, reminisces about their glory days at Btv under the tutelage of television giant, Chris Bishop.
“Showa was very jolly and had good command of both Setswana and English,” Mokowe remembers vividly. He says Showa grew up in Kanye village, southern Botswana, where he interacted well with people and possibly enriched his Setswana.
Mokowe and colleagues used to tease Showa, who originates from the north-east where villagers predominantly speak Ndebele and Ikalanga amongst other local languages, as to where he learnt such rich Setswana.
Although Showa was based in Gaborone, Mokowe says he was very mobile in terms of his news coverage and he gave his work top priority.
“He interacted very well with the team. I was hurt when he quit the station. His Setswana language is very refined and a lot of the team members learnt a lot from him,” Mokowe further remembers. He described him as a colleague who was approachable and ever willing to learn new things in life.
Apparently, it’s Showa’s writing skills that literally caught the eye of Jacob Sesinyi who apparently poached him to beef up the Debswana communications team when he (Sesinyi) was with the diamond mining giant. The press statements that Showa authored in particular during crises, stood him out amongst his peers.
Andre Gous, a US-based individual in 2006 wrote in the local weekly broadsheet Sunday Standard about Showa: “I am writing to congratulate you on one of the best newspaper articles I have read in a long time- ‘Why Botswana is the promised land for criminals’.
Gous further wrote, “Clearly Botswana needs writers like Showa and we would be grateful to have more writers like that in the US too.”
At the University of Botswana (UB), Showa was an extremely brilliant student of his time. True to his character, he got a first-class in his first degree-English single major. He was in a league with another brilliant mind, Alphionse Moroke (now late) who reportedly recruited Showa to the national broadcaster, Btv.
At the Btv’s The Eye programme, which he hosted, Showa was a marvel to watch with his rich and perfect Setswana and flawless English. Showa would later pass the baton over to Moroke to host the television programme.
At the BBS, Showa is the company secretary and head of marketing and communications. Amongst others, he is the board chair at Old Mutual Botswana. He is part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) communications team that was created to support the government Task Force Team. Showa and his boss, Molefe are awaiting a court judgement due on Monday as they fight their dismissals from BBS.
Showa is a man of many hats as he is a banker, attorney, teacher and also interested in the insurance business. Amongst his qualifications, he has listed BA, PGDE, LLB and MBA.