A men’s call to action

Boitumelo Maswabi
EVENT HOST: Maipelo Rakwadi Madibela

Pitso ya Borre – Leadership Excellence tackles GBV with Borre ka Dijase

November 25th marked the beginning of the annual 16 days global campaign to end gender-based violence, which ends on 10th December, Human Rights Day.

In 2008, the United Nations Secretary General set in motion the campaign ‘UNITE by 2030 to End Violence against Women’ as part of the activism.

Voice Woman speaks with Maipelo Rakwadi Madibela, Behaviour Change Specialist and Founding Director of Leadership Excellence and 4Points Wellbeing, about her upcoming event, aptly called ‘Pitso ya Borre ka Dijase’, which is in line with the 2022 theme ‘UNITE!’ whose key principles include a multi-sectoral approach where everyone in society has an important role to play in ending violence against women and girls.

The event, slated for December 3rd at The Venue in Mokolodi, will seek to engage men from all walks of life to effectively address the scourge of GBV and seriously introspect on ‘whether we are indeed united in our fight against gender-based violence.’

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Four speakers will lead discussions, which will include the abused men experience, breaking the stigma of men reporting abuse, and identifying triggers and character traits which may cause men to become abusers, among others.

Firstly, bravo to you: you’ve gone against the Setswana adage, ‘Ga nke di etelelwa pele ke dinamagadi’. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Ke leboga go menagane. My name is Maipelo Rakwadi Madibela. I’m a proud mother of the most amazing 16-year-old girl. I love people, I’m an empath and I can truly and proudly say I’m blessed to live my purpose everyday, even in a small way.

You’re a Behaviour Change Communication Specialist, what inspired you to go into this field?

It was quiet literally a ‘one thing led to another’ situation.

It started out with my brief radio career at RB2 after the station had just started; I hosted a talk show, which ignited my drive to learn more about broadcasting and psychology.

So, off I went, abroad, where I embarked on studies of both.

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It didn’t take me long before I learned about this other offering called behavior change.

Now this was exactly what I wanted.

So, when time came for specialisation for my Masters, it was a fairly easy choice.

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Tell us a bit more about the work you do at Leadership Excellence.

Leadership Excellence is leadership think tank.

We offer leadership training, including Franklin Covey programmes as well as design organisational culture programmes.

We also offer tailor-made team buildings to suit the needs of our client.

Leadership Excellence focuses a lot more on training, whereas its sister company, 4Points Wellbeing, provides psychosocial services; offering a comprehensive employee assistance programme.

Our services are both virtual and face-to-face.

We accept: Pula, BPOMAS, BOTSOGO as well as BOMAID.

Let’s turn our attention to this year’s 16 Days campaign to end gender-based violence theme ‘UNITE’ and your upcoming event ‘Pitso ya Borre ka Dijase’ to be held next weekend. Why have you elected to engage men specifically?

Usually, when we speak gender in Botswana, it refers to women.

It’s about women and the events are for women.

In the case of GBV, I’ve honestly always felt that we are dropping the ball.

We cannot continue to talk about ending GBV without engaging the men.

We must make borre (men) our allies as opposed to our adversaries.

We need borre to be the ones to stand in the gap for us with other men.

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This is simply not done.

Instead, we continue to perpetuate a ‘them versus us’ mentality when it comes to GBV.

It shouldn’t be that way; no one wins that way.

And, you’ve selected the 4 gentlemen to lead discussions. What informed this choice of panelists?

I wanted to get as diverse a group of people as I could.

I would like the people in the audience to see themselves in at least one of the speakers.

Dr Moetapele is a psychiatrist.

He will speak on men’s mental health.

He will also guide us through a conversation on stress, and breaking the stigma of reporting about men’s experienced abuse.

Perhaps Dr Moetapele is the one person who was specifically chosen for who they are.

That is because men’s mental health is so critical.

Despite being so critical, it does not get the attention it deserves.

So, he was chosen with his expertise to speak on that.

Barolong Seboni is an author.

He will share with us about his book ‘The Devil You Know’.

This book is a collection of stories from a number of authors about GBV.

Jo’Speaks – Dr Kgomotso Jongman, is a social worker at the University of Botswana.

He is a motivational speaker.

He will be speaking on the evolution of the unemotional man.

Business Development expert, Buca Matenge, who is also an entrepreneur, speaker, mentor, problem solver and moderator, will speak to the importance of choosing the right partner, for all seasons, and on mentorship, et cetera.

You describe it as “a groundbreaking event of brotherhood”; do you intend to make it an annual event?


As we know, changing a habit and replacing it with another is a process; it takes time.

I would very much like to see this become an annual event with more and more companies coming on board to partner with us.

One of the main points of the discussion encourages men who’ve previously been abusive to come forward and seek help. Do you believe that’s likely to happen? What sort of help can these ‘former abusers’ hope to receive?

Yes, I do believe that it can happen.

I’ve already put it to the test.

I was a guest on one of the evening programmes on RB2 and I actually invited men who have perpetrated abuse, have come close to or perhaps thought about it, to call me the following day.

They did, in numbers.

Through 4Points Wellbeing, where we offer psychosocial services, we can identify what kind of help the gentlemen need and provide it to them.

Who should attend and where can one buy tickets?

This event is for gentlemen.

Any man is highly encouraged to attend – employed or unemployed, government or corporate, above 50’s or younger than 30.

Tickets are P1 000 for two.

I encourage men to bring along a younger man who they believe would benefit from the discussions.

Contact: 73 112 393 or Email: mai@leadershipexcellence.cc

Last words…

I strongly believe that if we want to see a dent in the GBV rates we will have to change as a collective society.

We will have to come to terms with a lot of our social construct, which continues to normalise the rape culture, the violence culture.

We need to assess the things we find humour in, which inadvertently give a nod to GBV.

We need to make it our goal to learn how to, so that we can model healthy ways of expressing disappointment, sadness and anger.

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