Last week Issues looked at Molaya Kgosi led by Bogolo Kenewendo and a collaborative of a dozen Boyuna Team members. The project was discussed and the first of four HerStory profiles of Dr Gaositwe Chiepe presented. The other three profiles are of Professor Selelo-Mogwe, Dr Margaret Nasha and Judith Sefako.
Professor Selelo-Mogwe began her schooling under trees in Bobonong. She was fortunate to be able to advance to Standard Four at Hope Fountain. She was attracted to nursing because the studies came with a stipend and she could help to educate her siblings. When she was honest about this she was told, "We don't admit people who are after money". Her bigger struggle was the image of the profession-a career for failures as only people who had failed the Junior Certificate were admitted. She wanted nursing to be for people with brains. She demonstrated that by passing the school certificate and going on to be the first black instructor at the McCord Zulu Hospital in Durban. For her first university degree she had to go to Ottawa, Canada.
Her skills and aspirations were not welcome back in Botswana, so she found work in Zambia where she founded the first institution to train African registered nurses at Kitwe. In 1969, back in Botswana, she became the first Motswana to be made a Chief Nursing Officer. During her 10 year tenure she was able to implement many improvements. She went on to earn a doctorate from Columbia University, New York, in 1987 with a dissertation, A History of the Evolution of Nursing Education in Botswana 1922-1980 (508 [pages), and eventually to become a professor of Nursing Education at the University of Botswana. This was a first for women in Botswana. She published An Uneasy Walk to Quality: The History of the Evolution of Black Nursing Education (1993). She also served as a member of the second commission on education chaired by P. K. Kedikilwe (1993). As a teacher she was strong at mentoring. Her students called her a "visionary".
Judith Sefako is from Molepolole. She is a grassroots person and cultural activist. She is known for the cultural ensemble she established, Ditholwana, in 1993. Along with Mogwana it was one of the premier dance companies in Gaborone. Mma Sefako's route to promoting Botswana culture and traditional dance is grounded in her own schooling. She became a primary school teacher and the advisor to students' traditional art and drama performances as an extracurricular activity. The schools where she taught always excelled in traditional dance, so she decided to focus on that.
Ditholwana Cultural Ensemble has survived for 20 years. It has links throughout Botswana, has remained eclectic, while trying to learn, perform and present dance and music from various parts of the country. Ditholwana has since performed in various parts of the world, including the United States, UK and South Africa in 2010 at the FIFA World Cup.
Dr Margaret Nasha is a politician with a history in delivering education in its broadest form to the public. She is from Kanye. She was also raised by her mother after her father died when she was six. Following secondary school she worked for three years at Radio Botswana. Next she earned a Bachelor's in Humanities from the University of Botswana. She returned to broadcasting for a few decades, and then served the Botswana Government in London as High Commissioner. When she returned from this post she worked as Deputy Permanent Secretary in Foreign Affairs. In 1994 she entered politics as a specially elected Member of Parliament. In 1999 she was elected from Gaborone Central. She has served in many ministries including Local Government, Lands and Housing and Presidential Affairs and Pubic Administration. She likes debating and has served as chair of the BDP Women's Wing. In 2009 journalists began calling her "The Iron Lady".
She says in the movie that, "Politicians and journalists are not good bedfellows ... they love to hate". As a politician she feels she has nothing to hide. Her message to young people is: "Hang in there ... don't give up".She is the first female Speaker of Parliament.
Her doctorate is an honorary one from UB. The HerStory team's interview with Dr Nasha was made in her office.She had limited time, but became fascinated once she started talking and the camera was recording. The result was a three-hour interview that has been edited down for the premier showing.
A common theme that runs through all four interviews for HerStory is the importance of believing in yourself.