In her memoir, which will be released on Wednesday, 31-year-old Kefilwe “Kefiboo” Mabote shares how she used her Instagram profile to make multiple income streams.
But brace yourself, she does not talk about the man in her life – or anyone from her previous relationships.
“I don’t like to reveal the details of my personal life to the public, simply because I want to keep my personal life personal. We all have personal boundaries, I assume. I have drawn a very clear and solid line that separates my public and private life. I feel comfortable with the parameters that I have set.”
Born in Moletsane, Soweto, Mabote was raised by her mother, grandparents and aunt. Her mother gave her a Setswana name, Kefilwe, meaning Given, because she believed her daughter was a gift from God.
One of the morals and values her mother instilled in her was to respect everyone she came across in life.
“Growing up, we were taught to give every elder the same respect as we would our biological parents. This also meant that if they wished to send you on an errand, such as to buy bread or milk at a local tuck shop, they could do so and you could not object.”
She said her childhood was not glamorous but, because she was a big dreamer, she worked hard to live her dream and she had always wanted to prove the point that nothing was impossible.
“Anger was my biggest driving force when I started out on my journey to success.”
She shared that from her past she had learnt that tough times did not last, but tough people did.
“I also learnt that rather than waiting for someone else to come and save you, you have to save yourself. Be proactive, go out there and make things happen. Only you hold the key to your success.”
She said she would not have wanted to change anything about her past, because everything that she went through, both good or bad, led her to where she was today.
‘I was being bullied for no reason’
When she was a little girl in primary school, she was constantly bullied for no reason. As a result, she had low self-esteem while growing up.
“You know how bullies have a way of picking out the vulnerable and those who don’t know how to stand up for themselves? Well, I was the kid on the receiving end.
“There was this girl who, almost every day, used to take my lunch. My mum used to wonder why I always came home hungry from school, but somehow I couldn’t tell her that a bully was eating my lunch.
“One day my mum bought me a new box of crayons. When I came home from school the next day without them [because the bullying girl had taken them], she suspected that something wasn’t right. She went to the school to try to sort it out and, after that, the bullying subsided a little.”
She admitted that bullying was a big deal for her to this day.
“Because I suffered a great deal from it throughout my childhood, it got to a point where I started getting irritated with myself. I hated the fact that I was naturally a softie. I hated the fact that my introverted nature and personality made other kids at school think they could walk all over me.
“I thought that, when I became an adult, I would no longer come across bullies – but sadly, that was not the case.”
She said there were still many out there who hid behind their smartphones.
“Fortunately, I’m grown now and it doesn’t affect me as it used to when I was a school kid – but the scars remain. I can confidently say that all those who bullied me were a blessing in disguise. They are the reason I’m where I am today. They gave me a precious gift which propelled my growth and evolution,” Mabote said.
‘I don’t regard myself as a slay queen’
She said one of the subtitles she considered for the memoir was: How to slay your way to financial success, but she settled for Influencer De Luxe.
In her memoir, she describes the word slay as, “to kill, murder by way of hair, make-up and dressing exceptionally well”.
“I’m in the slay business called fashion, but I don’t regard myself as a slay queen. I think the term slay queen has negative connotations.
“For instance, in the South African context, a slay queen is the term that is used for women who lead extravagant lifestyles on someone else’s budget and women who acquire lavish material possessions in exchange for sexual or related favours.”
She said: “Unfortunately, we live in a society that still tends to undermine women’s capabilities and puts us in boxes.
“If you are beautiful and love the finer things in life, you will be judged, regardless of how hard you work. Somehow my love for luxury made me a perfect target for the whole stereotypical ‘blesser’ profiling.”
Her response “is to use all of that negative energy to advance my life rather than act in a nasty way, which would have been counter-productive”.
When asked how she dealt with admirers who sent her DMs – direct messages – asking her out, she said: “I just ignore them and go on with my life. It’s as simple as that.”
‘Becoming a successful Instagram influencer’
Mabote said one of the questions she was frequently asked was how to become an Instagram influencer.
She said that was the reason she wrote the memoir, so that she could inspire and educate people who wanted to make multiple income streams through their social media platforms.
She said if people were serious about using Instagram as a business platform, she had advice for them.
The first thing was to choose a niche market. “Make your bio pop – remember one of the first things that a brand or potential follower sees on your account is your bio. So you’ll need to differentiate yourself from a plethora of influencers fighting for your spot. Also, start posting high-quality content consistently and, most importantly, don’t think just about making money – think about creating a long-term relationship.”