Friday 13 June 2008

The Voice - Puso Kirby

This is how the obituary for Puso Kirby was meant to appear in The Voice this week.

Puso Kirby, who died tragically and prematurely last week, was celebrated in The Voice in November 2007, along with his company, Creations Of Africa. He was one of Consumer Watchdog’s many Service Stars, those people who inspire us with their drive, their determination to succeed and their care for their customers.

Many people will have known Puso originally from when he was the manager of Mokolodi Nature Reserve. Well known for his passion, his commitment to the reserve and it’s surroundings and his overwhelming enthusiasm he played a hugely significant part in making the reserve what it has become today.

Richard Harriman of Consumer Watchdog said: “I first met Puso many years ago when he was managing Mokolodi Nature Reserve and he was himself a force of nature. His drive, his desire to communicate the beauty of the environment and the importance of conservation were legendary. I had never then, nor have I since, met anyone with his level of passion.”

After serving his time at Mokolodi Puso left to start Creations of Africa which specialises in a range of corporate and tourism-focussed goods.

In his interview last year Puso said: “Our company is successful because everyone working here is passionate about what we do and enjoys our working environment.”

He explained that Creations of Africa is proudly a wholly citizen-owned Botswana operation, which blends ethnic and exotic fabrics and designs with a modern twist accessing local and international markets, and that is the inspiration behind the concept. The biggest challenge has been the danger of becoming stagnant and not moving forward in our concepts.

“My team and I must ensure that we have the systems, personnel, facilities and equipment to ensure that we can handle customers’ orders and deliver the right products at the right time.”

Harriman said that “Puso was a perfect example to us all of how to run a business. Have genuine passion for what you do, never let minor disappointments get you down and always have a vision of what might be. I suspect that Puso never read a single book on how to manage staff, how to sell and market your goods, or even how to run a company. For him it was just in his veins. His love for his business, his family and his team was all he needed.”

Creations of Africa didn’t just supply to local companies but it had significant and growing export sales to places such as Namibia, Madagascar, Zambia and the USA.

In his profile last year Puso said: “We have dispatched our second order to Disneyland in the US and are registered through our sister company ‘Originals from Africa’ in Connecticut with the Fair Trade Federation.

“Local communities make a lot of the products. For example the jewellery is made by women from Mokolodi Village, where the company provides technical assistance in product development, presentation and pricing to ensure success in the market place.”

He told The Voice that in the next two years, Creations of Africa plans to acquire larger premises to bring all activities under one roof, where visitors will have the opportunity to see the artists in action.

Tragically Puso won’t be here to see this happen but the community as a whole hopes that this can still happen.
Harriman said: “For me Puso was a genuine business and personal hero. We need more people like Puso who can inspire, encourage and lead us towards national success. He was the best kind of patriot and our nation is poorer since he left us.”

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