What’s a Pula?

May 2, 2024

When we moved from Botswana to the USA, I wanted to change the name of my company. Phaladi Design needed a name that better reflected what the company was becoming.

I liked my logo (P) and wanted to find a name that reminded me of my company’s Botswana roots. I looked for Setswana words that start with P, and kept drawing a blank.

Until we thought of using the most ubiquitous Setswana word out there. Rich in meaning, but overused in Botswana.

PULA

Rain. Which in a semi-arid country is synonymous with life. When it rains the ground magically transforms from loose dry dirt to green meadows. Animals go from skin and bones to healthy and strong. It feels like it happens overnight.

Money. Pula is the name of the currency of Botswana. It’s a nod to the importance of rain for prosperity. Using the word for rain totally makes sense if you’ve lived there.

Agreement. This is one of my favorite meanings. When someone gives a speech, the people yell “PULA!” together, in agreement, in the end. I think the Spanish use “¡Olé!” in a similar way.

All of these layers of meaning made sense for what I want my company to help my clients to do. Good business is life-giving. I’m glad it leads to prosperity. And how we work with our clients is to help them build agreement with their clients. To communicate in a way that builds consensus.