The U-40s to watch

SHARE   |   Monday, 07 December 2015   |   By Keitebe Kgosikebatho
Rapelang Rabana; Tech entrepreneur Rapelang Rabana; Tech entrepreneur

STAFF WRITER KEITEBE KGOSIKEBATHO samples out some of the emerging women leaders, insisting the future of the country lies in their shoulders. 

[Rapelang Rabana: Tech entrepreneur]
Rapelang Rabana (30) is the CEO and founder of Yeigo Communications, an innovative Cape Town-based company which develops software for telecoms-related services including Voice over IP, Instant messaging, SMS messaging and push email services. In 2008, Telfree, a Swiss mobile telecommunications firm acquired a 51% stake in Yeigo. Having started her education in Botswana, Rabana later moved to South Africa where she graduated from the renowned University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Business Science with Honours in Computer Science. Instead of using her highly rated degree to get employment like any other graduate her age, Rabana chose I different path. “I genuinely didn’t think that getting a job made any sense. It was not out of trying to be rebellious or brave. Getting a job scared me on many levels. On one level, I was scared about who I would become,” she was quoted saying in an interview with Forbes magazine.


Featured on the cover of Forbes Africa before the age of 30, Rabana has a string of other accolades that not only places her way ahead of her league but proves she is really a young Motswana woman to watch out for. She recently founded technology education company ReKindle Learning, which delivers learning solutions on mobile devices grounded in the leading and most effective learning paradigms and methodologies for both school-goers and corporate employees. She was invited to present ReKindle Learning at the World Economic Forum meeting on Africa. Rabana has been appointed to the Advisory Board of Grindstone, a new business accelerator for post-revenue high-growth technology-enabled SMEs in South Africa to become sustainable and fundable. She also serves as the Chairperson for Ubuntu Africa Child Healthcare, an NGO providing lifesaving health and support services exclusively to children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Rabana was selected as a Global shaper by the World Economic Forum and invited to join the Annual Meeting in Davos in 2012 where she shared a panel with Mohammed Yunus and Klaus Schwab. She has also been listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 – Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs, the Oprah Magazine "O Power List", Mail and Guardian's 200 Young South Africans 2013 list and spoke at TEDxCape Town. She is an Ambassador and Juror for the United Nations World Summit Awards, a Harambe HEA ’13 Associate and also an Endeavour ‘high-impact’ entrepreneur.


[One Modisane: Young Chefs Academy]
In August, One Modisane walked away with two awards at the WIBA annual awards, one for the best innovative business of the year and the other one for the young entrepreneur of the year. This and many other accolades bestowed on Modisane before and after not only proves she is doing something right in the field she is in, but that she is a force to reckon with too. The young creative entrepreneur from Colane influenced the academy to franchise outside the USA. Besides Botswana it now has outlets in Mexico, Thailand and the Dominican Republic. The academy teaches children important cooking skills at a tender age, a practice which bonds families and instils responsibility at a young age. She is a University of Botswana graduate in Special Education and Home Economics and besides running Young Chefs Academy, Modisane is involved in charitable functions and activities for children with special needs.

[Gaona Tlhasana: Media personality]
In her recent online interview Gaona declared that “she is ready to take on Botswana and the rest of Africa as a media practitioner to be reckoned with” and rightfully so as the pint-sized media personality has recently left her job at the Mass Media Complex (Botswana Television and Radio Botswana] in order to spread her wings wider. Tlhasana started her job as a radio presenter at the government commercial radio station RB2, later venturing into TV presenting. As she grew professionally, Tlhasana will later also do corporate event emceeing. She recently went on a three-month internship to Nigeria where she trained as part of the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship programme hosted by the government of the United States where she had travelled in 2014.


[Gogontlejang Phaladi: Philanthropist]
Gogontlejang was introduced to Batswana at a tender age of five as a philanthropist - a rare occupation for a child that age. Even though most people dismissed her as an attention seeking child, Phaladi has proven them wrong.
She is now 18 years and still running the Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope Project which she established in 2000 when she was just five years old. The project has been running successfully for the past 13 years. Phaladi brands herself as a Philanthropist, Motivational Speaker, Human Rights, Child and Gender Activist and Advocate, Patron, Writer, Poet, UN Campaign Facilitator and a Youth Ambassador.  She is also a student at the University of Botswana studying Political Science and has just been nominated into a committee of leading individuals who are designing Vision 2036.

[Samantha Mogwe: Songstress]
At just 27 years, Samantha Mogwe has a crispy jazzy album under her belt, has opened for international artists like South African songstress Lira and R&B legend Joe Thomas and was recently part of the Re Batswana music ensemble which toured Europe.
The soft spoken says she was exposed to music at an early age and was also encouraged to tell stories (both her own and those of others) through music and poetry. She was also an AFRIMA (African Muzik Magazine Awards) 2015 award nominee. Mogwe made the top 24 of African Idols as the only representative from Botswana in 2008. She won the 2014 Yarona Fm Music Award for Best Female and her duet with Zeus Transitions continues to receive a lot of air play both locally and across border.


[Tracy Chaba: Volleyballer]
Botswana’s young volleyball export last year took a bold move when she earned a place to play for Algeria’s Berjaya. The 22-year-old wrapped up her seven month stint with the club in May and returned home. In October the Kutlwano Volleyball Club’s star reportedly moved to United Arab Emirates to continue with her career of playing professional volleyball in a team called Al Wadha in Abu Dhabi.

[Tshegofatso Raditlhokwa: Politician]
Tshegofatso Raditlhokwa has become the first woman to run for the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Youth league presidential seat. Although she lost to the incumbent MacDonald Rakgare, Raditlhokwa it would seem had left quite an impression in her fellow party members so much that she was nominated to stand for the BCP’s Deputy Secretary General post and won it. 


[T J Dema: Poet]
In her blog TJ Dema ( describes herself as a poet who favours reading her work out loud and has done so in countries including but not limited to Germany, Zimbabwe, India, USA, Scotland and France. TJ participated in Lancaster University’s Crossing Borders programme and later mentored the all-female team of national champions for the British Council’s Seven Country Power in the Voice initiative. She is an honorary fellow of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Programme (2012), former chairperson of the Writers Association of Botswana and runs Sauti A&PM - a Botswana-based arts administration organisation. For her work within Botswana’s literary community she was named an Arise Magazine African Change maker (2013) and a St Louis Top 40 under 40 catalyst (2014). Her chapbook Mandible (2014) was published by Slapering Hol Press for the African Poetry Book Fund as part of the Seven New Generation African Poets.

[Keenese Katisinge – Sports administrator]
At just 29, Katisinge is doing well in the sport industry which is dominated by men. Katisinge is currently the Publicity Director of Botswana Chess Federation and has been in the executive committee of Botswana Chess Federation for five years. Her passion saw her breaking into international structures at FIDE. Her determination and hard work also earned her the 2015 BNSC Sport Administrator of the year award. The youthful administrator believes that given support women can make a difference in local sport. She is entrusted with the responsibility of enhancing the image of chess in Botswana and judging by the fact that Chess is currently rated as the fastest growing sport in the country, Katisenge is on top of her game. “I enhanced the game’s look, the society’s interest in the game and its visibility through the help of BCF EXCO, media and the chess membership,” she says.


[Gatsh Fros: Fashion design]
GaTsh Fros is unique and gash fashion, image and lifestyle consultancy owned by Tsholo Dikobe and Gaone Mothibi. The two fashionistas makes sure they keep on top of the latest trends in haute couture and figure out ways to translate the looks into more affordable and less extreme business, casual, and social wear. They, among other things, ply their trade as fashion Stylists, fashion Journalists & Bloggers and creative directors. On their Facebook page they state that they have an extremely good eye for fashion, and are in tune with the latest trends, styles, and looks that are making a splash in the world of high style.

“It is important for us as GaTsh Fros to be sensitive to others, respectful of people's individual tastes, body types, and lifestyles. We are tactful as well as tasteful, and excellent communicators. The road to a new you, starts in your closet!” said Gatsh Fros. Apart from the fact that they are in the public eye already and attend international functions and events now and then, the two recently attained international stardom when they featured in the CNN’s style section. The pair won the Innovative Designer of the Year award at Africa London Fashion Week 2014. Plans to launch their own version of ‘Vogue’ magazine locally are on-going.


[Tebatso Lekalake: Politician]
Despite the embarrassing numbers of women in politics locals, Tebatso Lekalake is one of those few who are making their mark and are having their presence felt. Though still in her thirties, Lekalake is actively involved in party structures within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). In 2013 Lekalake was nominated to the BDP Central Committee as an additional member. She would be nominated to chair the BDP’s Appeals’ Committee subsequent to much troubled and controversial party by-elections. She again showed interest in sitting in the Central Committee this year by contesting the Deputy Secretary General position during the party national congress in July. The position was, however, won by the Minister of Defence Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi.

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