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Selling Setswana

Tshepo Kehimile
CONFIDENT: Keikotlhaile
  • Online Setswana lessons gain international interest

For the last eight years, a young Motswana woman has made it her mission to take Setswana to the world, making a tidy income for herself in the process.

32-year-old Reitumetse Taboka Keikotlhaile, offers online lessons in the local lingo.

Her ‘students’ are scattered all around the world, with her business attracting custom in Europe, America, Australia and throughout Africa.

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As well as teaching foreigners the language, Keikotlhaile, who hails from Mochudi, also helps locals perfect their Setswana.

“My company is called Aene Collective! as in ‘Pula!aene’, and it started operations back in 2014 but was fully registered in 2020. We are a practical, everyday spoken colloquial (Setswana) tutorial service dedicated to the promotion of the Botswana language and culture to Batswana and Non-Batswana. That is mostly done through one-on-one or group online tuition,” she tells Voice Money in an interview this week.

Courses run for nine months and include weekly one-hour lessons as well as ‘a whole lot of homework’.

Tutorials take place on Zoom, with solo sessions charged at P750 a month while group lessons are slightly cheaper and cost P680.

Keikotlhaile also carters for those based in Botswana who want a more intimate, tangible approach to their learning.

“Other activities offered that bolster lasting learning experiences are cultural excursions around the country and weekend camps. These are for Setswana speakers, foreign or local, who have interest in rekindling their love for Botswana culture. In addition, we break down jargon from any industry, whether it is finance, insurance and medical just to list a few,” explains the Social Sciences University of Botswana (UB) graduate.

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Selling Setswana
RUNNING A CLASS: The teacher doing her thing

Currently the Aene Collective! team is made up of four fulltime workers.

“It is me as the Managing Director, doubling also as a teacher and taking care of the business aspect of the company; a specialized Setswana teacher; client relations manager and a graphic designer,” reveals Keikotlhaile, adding if there is high demand for the course, they engage another teacher.

Going forward, she intends to offer lessons in other local dialects.

“We would like to collaborate with others in different projects in order to expand. We hope to add Kalanga, Shekgalagadi and Thimbukushi to the play,” says the woman whose interest in business dates back to childhood, when she wandered the neighbourhood selling nightdresses she had made out of her parents’ pillow cases.

“I used to roam the streets of Block 5 selling house to house with my best friend. When other kids were playing house, we were playing business! My grandmother in Mochudi used to sell ice pops or ice lollies and I was so good at subtracting 25 Thebes from the 50 Thebes and the 1 Pulas the neighbourhood kids used to buy with. Business has always been my thing. The fact that I could make my own money fascinated me.”

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Those interested in taking online Setswana classes can contact Keikotlhaile on info@aenecollective.com

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