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A Woman Of Many Firsts Premieres At Maitisong Festival

GOITSEMODIMO KAELO
Dr Gaositwe Chiepe's granddaughter Moduduetso Lecoge wrote and acted on the play PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The story of Dr Gaositwe Chiepe, one of Botswana’s most celebrated women returned to Maitisong festival last Friday.

Premiered at Moving Space at Maruapula School, the story is written and acted by Chiepe’s granddaughter, Moduduetso Lecoge. The story about the Botswana’s icon was first played at Maitisong festival during the country’s 50th anniversary of independence.

In what was a powerful one hour long drama, the 27-year-old Lecoge tracks Chiepe’s progression from a young Motswana girl from Serowe, who aspired to be the best and the first black woman to achieve in what was then the preserve of the whites. The actor evokes emotions when she also reflects the challenges Dr Chiepe had to go through such as when her uncles wanted her to quit school and get married and the time when her sister passed away in a car accident just days after she arrived in the United Kingdom.

The story chronicles Dr Chiepe’s education path through secondary school at the then prestigious Tigerkloof College in South Africa during the apartheid era.

Dr Chiepe has created a legacy by being grounded on selflessness, respect, tenacity and hard work, characteristics of a typical Motswana matriarch.

Thereafter, with the help of the government of Botswana (then Bechuanaland Protectorate) scholarship, she proceeded to Fort Hare University where she completed as the first black African female graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology and Botany. The play also depicts how the 91-year-old

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Chiepe achieved a lot of firsts from being a young girl in school to a working woman and in politics hence the title of the play, A Woman of Many Firsts.

Furthermore, Lecoge reflects the time her grandmother went to study for her Master’s Degree at the University of Bristol in the UK in the 1950s. She was the first Motswana female to attain a Master’s degree. Dr Chiepe’s illustrious career in education, administration, diplomatic service and politics spans over five decades from 1948 to 1999.

She was the first Motswana female Education Officer during her time.  She climbed the ladder until she became the first female Director of Education.

Lecoge portrayed Dr Chiepe’s vision to see Botswana become one of the most developed nations by benchmarking from developed countries such as Japan where she went for a holiday before she was recalled as ambassador to become an MP. Dr Chiepe later became the first female African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom after Botswana’s independence. For a long time, she was the only female in the Botswana Cabinet; first as a specially elected Member of Parliament (MP) and later as an elected MP for Serowe South.

Directed by Moletedi Ntseme, the story was played in the audience of Dr Chiepe accompanied by family, friends and members of the public.



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