Ms Sefhako: Cultural Activist, Ditholwana

botsicons_bots2_bogadijudithsefhakoSefhako born in Molepolole, a passionate poet is a formidable force in the cultural sector. The term “cultural activist” appears to fall far short of adequately describing what Sefhako has achieved in terms of developing, lifting and promoting the various Batswana cultural, audio and visual arts over several decades.

Best known for establishing Ditholwana Cultural Ensemble which associated with the dizzy heights of cultural artistic performance locally and internationally- through their numerous global tours, awards and successes. She started off as a Primary School teacher who had great interest in 4B, the traditional arts performance extracurricular activity in schools; her schools excelled and she eventually decided to focus on what she loves best, promoting culture.

Ditholwana took Botswana by storm in the mid-1990s with their repertoire of colorful performances encompassing the music and dance from many local tribes. The “starburst” nature of their arrival on the local scene was proved by their international tours including countries like Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom, USA and South Africa- during which they picked up several awards and also conducted workshops for fellow traditional musos.

Led by Sefhako, the group continued to climb the scales internationally, receiving one of their biggest honors with an invitation to perform at 2010’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Dance groups mushroomed all over the country in varying degrees, eager to emulate the Ditholwana success.

phpE81.tmpBeyond Ditholwana, Sefhako has successfully developed and launched the Molaletsa cultural village, which offers visitors a variety of cultural activities and traditional foods for a more holistic Botswana experience. With Sefhako and her group having created demand for traditional music, the international community began eagerly keeping an eye to the ground for the latest from Botswana. Today, shrewd entrepreneurs are pioneering cultural tourism as a more sustainable alternative to Safari and Okavango Delta- based activities, leveraging off the international goodwill generated by Sefhako and Ditholwana.

“I love going on tour with my group, it opens them to many opportunities.”  Sefhako

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Molaya Kgosi Team

 

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Prof Khupe- Mogwe: Pioneering Health Professional

phpA3F.tmpMogwe born in Bobonong, Central Botswana is arguably the most respected name in the nursing profession of Botswana, but it was not an easy journey. Her name is a proud statement on the board of excellence at the Durban-based McCord Zulu Hospital where she became the first Motswana woman to earn a PhD and later become a full professor.

Selelo- Mogwe’s performance at McCord’s training institution was so exceptional that immediately after she earned her diploma in nursing and midwifery, the hospital took her on as a teacher, even though she did not have the qualifications. After completing her first degree in Canada, she tried to return home but found that there was no planning position available for a black woman. So she applied to Zambia and started that country’s first school for registered nurses in Kitwe.

In 1969, Selelo- Mogwe became the country’s first Motswana Chief Nursing Officer and the situation she found in the nursing profession was bleak. In order for one to be accepted to study nursing, they had to have failed their Junior Certificate Exam; as Selelo- Mogwe puts it: “In order to be accepted to become a nurse, you first had to prove you were a failure!” Selelo- Mogwe would make momentous changes in the nursing education system in Botswana during her 10 year tenure as Chief Nursing Officer. First, she restructured the nursing course so that the material could be taught in three years rather than four, facing strong opposition from her counterparts in the Nurses Examination Board for Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland (NABLES). Once again, Mogwe defied all expectations when students of the newly restructured course in Botswana consistently outperformed students from Lesotho and Swaziland.

She then went on to pull Botswana out of NABLES altogether so that she could establish Botswana’s own National Health Institute, and go on to restructure the course further so that it suited the needs of people in Botswana. The institute now has five campuses and has educated more than 3000 nurses. Professor Mogwe has also been inducted in to the Nursing Hall of Fame at Columbia University, USA.

“…not someone giving it to me but earning my own (PhD)!” Mogwe

Molaya Kgosi Team

Dr Magaret Nasha: 1st Woman Parliament Speaker

nashaNasha; affectionately known as “Nanamyana” was born in Kanye, South East Botswana. She is the first female speaker of Parliament in Botswana.

Nasha is a shrewd politician who has advantage of exposure for having served the country as a civil servant in her heyday. This gives her extensive knowledge of the government systems and procedures. She has worked at the department of Broadcasting for 20 years and has served as the Botswana High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and then Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. She later joined politics and has first entered Cabinet in 1994, serving at some of the powerful ministries of Local Government; where her relationship and appreciation of the traditional courts and chiefs was marveled. She has also served as the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. She is very outspoken and she has attracted sobriquets like “The Iron Lady of the BDP” mainly because of her firmness. At political rallies and parliament debates, Nasha never ceased to amaze. She has chaired the powerful BDP Women’s Wing with aplomb as well as chairing the part’s sub-committee of Political Education and Election Committee (PEEC). She has received several awards including President’s Order of Honour, Botswana.

Nasha is a Children’s rights activist; she is one of the people who encourages Botswana government to create laws and institutions in line and accordance with the convention on the rights of the children.

“You think just because you are wearing pants you are better than me…?” Nasha

Molaya Kgosi Team

Dr Chiepe: Educationalist: The 1st Woman MP & Minister

php7D.tmpIn the quest to adequately describe and capture the true description of Ms. Gaositwe Keagakwa Tibe Chiepe we looked to various sources, see below for what some of them had to say. We hope this is a fitting introduction to a woman who is all of the mentioned and more.

“an intellectual educator, diplomat, politician and cabinet minister of external affairs” – Whos Who SA

“…..luminous career, spanning decades of dedicated civil service…pan- African peace mediator and anti- apartheid campaigner”- Proudly African

Ms. Gaositwe Keagakwa Tibe Chiepe was born in Serowe in 1925. She attended primary school in Serowe then pursued her secondary education at Tigerkloof (South Africa). Following which she completed a Bachelor of Science Degree and Post Graduate Diploma in Education at Fort Hare, and later on attained a Masters of Arts at the University of Bristol (England). She holds a number of honorary Doctorate degrees from various institutions including Fort Hare and the University of Chicago and has received several awards such as the Commander of Royal Order of Polar Star, King of Sweden and President’s Order of Honor, Botswana.

Among the firsts accomplished by Ms Chiepe, she was the first woman education officer of Botswana from 1948 to 1953, as well as the first woman to be appointed a cabinet minister. Ms. Chiepe was instrumental in developing Botswana’s education system and is known to many as the woman who fought for the free education in Botswana. She was the Minister of Mineral Resources and Water Affairs in 1977-1984 during the crucial Debswana negotiations which saw the Botswana Government become a great player in the diamond industry and benefit immensely fromthe diamond revenues; 35 years later, the debswana deal contributes about 30 percent to government revenues.

“I won 5pounds, it was a lot of money at the time…I bought a pair of shoes, a jacket for my uncle and tukwi (head scarf)” Chiepe

Molaya Kgosi Documentary

Molaya Kgosi HerStory Documentary

images-2Welcome to the first edition of Molaya Kgosi Herstory, The making of. It has been an amazing journey from the day we decided to go ahead with this project and every day since has been an adventure.

Molaya Kgosi Leadership and Mentorship Program filters from the Young African Women Leaders Forum initiated by the First Lady of the United States of America Mrs Michelle Obama and is led by young Batswana women who are alumni of the forum. The purpose of this programme is to re-define women leadership; to empower young women through exposing them to seasoned women leaders (mentorships and networking) and celebrating successes of women in Botswana and the world over.

When we started the program, we wanted to reach young women across the country; however, the breadth of Botswana tends to make it very difficult for us to penetrate to inaccessibility to the youth in places like Xere, Motopi and Nzwenshambe; the rural areas. We did not want to continue with this geographical discrimination and we were looking for ways we can reach out to the prime youth of Botswana, recognizing that young women in the rural areas are more vulnerable and need more exposure and motivation. The Molaya Kgosi HerStory series seemed like just the best mode for achieving our goal. The goal was to inspire and empower the younger generation through the works of the older, pioneering women who have been influential in the development of their sectors. Also equally important was to celebrate women leaders of Botswana.;we are fortunate to be living in a time when we can still converse with the ground breakers of the development of Botswana while in other countries, they have to read history books to understand the work that went into developing their countries. Given such an opportunity, it would have been such a shame for us not to use it and our grandchildren would shame us for such a failure.

So much history has been made and the baton is being passed to us as the youth. We won’t be the generation that will fight for independence, that will sign some iconic mineral deals with Debeers, we won’t be the ones to establish a whole nursing system but we are that generation that will improve on what has been made, the generation that will build industries, the one that will find a cure for HIV/AIDS, the generation that will end extreme poverty. There is still so much more for us and generations to come to achieve, many innovations that are awaiting that first step. We hope this documentary film meets expectations, is thought provoking and will give someone, somewhere a push they need to lead their community to greatness.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to immensely show our gratitude to Dr Chiepe, Prof. Selelo Mogwe, Dr Nasha and Ms Sefhako for opening up their offices and homes to us to share their lives with everyone. Its safe to say without them, the first series of Molaya Kgosi HerStory would not exist.

A big thank you to our sponsors; The United States of America Embassy in Botswana, The Department of Women Affairs, Sauti Arts and Performance Managing Company, Gaborone Sun Hotel and Cresta President Hotel without their financial, technical and moral support our ideas wouldn’t be a reality. We thank the Ministry of Education, Secondary Education Department Guidance and Counseling for finding great interest in the project, enough to distribute to secondary schools. Lastly, a special thank you to all individuals who believed in this projects and who provided advise pre, during and post production.

All the best

B. Kenewendo (Executive Producer)

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