Veteran Communications and Public Relations practitioner Esther Kanaimba-Senai has retired from Debswana Diamond Company after 10 years of service. Speaking during her farewell party on Tuesday, various speakers who had worked with Senai at Debswana hailed her as a hardworking individual, whose experience and professionalism have contributed positively to the development and smooth running of the diamond company during her tenure. “She managed Debswana ‘s affairs truthfully and factually,” said Debswana Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo, adding that he hopes those left behind have a leaf out of Senai’s book and will in future emulate her impeccable work and deliver positive results just like she did. He, however, also stated that should the need arise in future Debswana will not hesitate to engage Senai’s services part time. “Where there is a need for you to be called to come and assist you shall be called, after all you will forever remain a part of the Debswana Family,” Bonyongo said. The veteran media practitioner thanked her soon to be former colleagues including the Managing Director for working well with her and for the support and guidance. According to Kanaimba-Senai, she spent the best years of life in the work environment at Debswana. “I wouldn’t have wished to retire from any other company,” she said. Below is her Q and A interview that was conducted by the Debswana Corporate Affairs team. It captures her professional life in the 43 years of service in the industry and highlights
Q: Can you kindly share your brief Educational Background?
A: I am a journalist by training, a radio journalist to be exact. I trained at the Tanzania School of Journalism back in the early 80s and then went on to the Carleton University School of Journalism in Ottawa, Canada as a Commonwealth Scholar where I completed my Master of Journalism degree. So I was always an in-service student which was quite easy back then.
Q: Please also share your brief career profile?
A: I started work at Radio Botswana in 1974, attended a basic radio production course at the BBC World Service Training Centre in London in 1978. I rose through the ranks until I became Assistant Director, News and Current Affairs, which basically means I was responsible for the production of news and all current affairs programmes. I was also responsible for starting and launching RB2 back in 1992 as its inaugural Assistant Director. I then left the public service and joined the Botswana National Productivity Centre at a Promotions Manager, then moved on to the Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community as the Head of Public Relations. My next stop was the Botswana Export Development and Investment Agency from where I moved to my current job.
Q: Can you give us an overview of what your role has been as Debswana’s Head of Corporate Affairs?
A: My role in Debswana has been both rewarding and challenging. Being the spokesperson of the biggest company in Botswana and the most watched is not an easy job.
Q: What has been your most proud moment in Debswana?
A: There have been several, but the delivery of the 45th anniversary commemoration is one. Back in 2005, Debswana partnered with the Botswana Embassy in Japan on a diamonds for development promotional tour which lasted two weeks. The event featured traditional dancers at the Botswana pavilion, which also featured diamonds as well as a diamond gala dinner. That was a brilliantly executed project.
Q: Do you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are? Tell me about the one who influenced you the most?
A: I really don’t have a mentor. I am guided by the Almighty in everything I do.
Q: You oversaw a series of community projects as Debswana’s Head of Corporate Affairs. Which one would you say was very close to your heart and why?
A: Not a particular one but my heart always goes out to projects that touch the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalized people.
Q: What career lessons can you give to someone who would like to accomplish what you have achieved?
A: Be humble to everyone you encounter and learn as much as you can.
Q: How has the field of communication changed over the years?
A: The biggest change in the field of communication is in the digital and social media space. Communication is now instantaneous and it is the era of public journalism, i.e. news can be communicated by everyone, it is no longer the preserve of journalists.
Q: What has been driving you to success all the years you have been working?
A: The love of what I do despite the numerous challenges.
Q: How are you intending to spend your retirement?
A: The first couple of months I will take it easy to soak in the reality. Then I will embark on a couple of projects. I am not lost to the industry. I will be doing some consultancies here and there.
Q: What do you do in your spare time and how have you been dealing with work/life balance?
A: Lately, I have not had much of spare time, between church, dipatlo, manyalo and funerals. But I like unwinding with friends as well as spending time with my family which includes five granddaughters. Christmas is always at the farm with my family usually numbering around 100 for the Christmas lunch.