For a couple of years her golden voice graced Radio Botswana. Charity Kgotlafela nee Santagana is no stranger to many.
After 11 years in the broadcasting genre, Kgotlafela took a break and notched a Masters Degree in Journalism at the University of Wales, Cardiff.
And thereafter she changed her career and became a Public Relations Officer.
She cut her teeth into the PR profession when she joined the United Nations Development Programme – Botswana Office (UNDP).
Thereafter, her life as a PRO began.
She joined Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) as a Communications and Public Relations Manager and was also the Publicity Manager for Vision 2016, promoting the Vision through Vision 2016 Awards and annual activities around Botswana.
Currently she is at the helm of Botswana’s 50th Celebration, the golden jubilee themed BOT50.
The Voice caught up with Kgotlafela at the BOT50 in the ever busy Ministry of Youth and Development offices in the CBD to find out more about her.
Q: Tell us about your job
I coordinate and formulate strategies and policies for BOT50’s communications and public relations portfolio as well establish and maintain effective communication structures for the BOT50 campaign.
This includes enhancing and maintaining BOT50’s image to all its publics and to promote and increase public awareness of the BOT50’s activities, products, services and social responsibility.
Q: Talking about BOT50 activities., what should we expect?
This is where as a nation we are celebrating our successes/achievements.
Therefore it calls on every Motswana to objectively appreciate where we come from as a nation and where we are.
There is so much that we have to celebrate as Batswana and thank God for continuously blessing this nation.
Currently we boost of schools across all the country both primary, secondary and tertiary.
We are now proud of various Universities that we have including the medical school.
When we talk of provision of health, we have good accessibility of health facilities to Batswana.
Think of democracy, we still remain the shining example of democracy in Africa.
Of all the elections that we have had as a nation, blood has never been shed, no wars.
Infrastructure is of state of the art, we are even developing spaghetti roads.
All these calls for celebration!
Q: There are people who feel there is little to celebrate and that Botswana is no longer that shining example of democracy in Africa, what do you say to them?
Its very unfortunate that we have people who think like that when there is so much to celebrate as a nation.
I can only pray to God to open their eyes to see the paradise that they are in, the land that flows with milk and honey.
Q: Ok, back to activities what more do you have planned to celebrate BOT50?
A lot, the roving torch, music festivals, church service and partnering with major activities across the country under the theme BOT50.
We will be having a production on the 29th September and choreographed activities on the 30th September 2016.
The production will be depicting Botswana Story from 1966 to date.
Q: What else?
We have the roving torch which is traversing the whole country and creating the desired hype across the country.
We are witnessing an overwhelming participation of the youth around the torch.
Districts leadership is using the torch to share their heritage and history with the youth.
It is called Molelo wa Kgolagano.
Q: Last year you were under attack for bringing foreign artists to celebrate Botswana independence?
Yes, we did. But we have learnt from that. I have closed the borders for Independence celebrations entertainment.
We really want to celebrate our talent in Botswana. Some of us used to think that for us to fill up the stadium we need to have a foreigner artist.
Our recent activities in Lobatse and Phikwe where we had all the stadia filled up was a clear demonstration that indeed we were wrong to have had those thoughts.
Q: You have kicked off with entertainment. Tell us more?
As a way of creating national hype, we have a lined up activities that are build up to 30th September 2016.
The whole intention is to cater for all the target age groups through various genre of music such as traditional, contemporary, poetry and comedy, dikhwaere, setapa etc.
Q: You were popular as Charity Santagane, one of the female voices of Radio Botswana.Tell us about that era.
Wonderful era indeed. This was the time where we had only one radio station RB1.
More interesting was the fact that Radio Announcers were mostly men, the likes of Mogatusi Kwapa, Mogorosi Baatweng, Pako Teita, Mokgankgara(Philip Moshotle).
We had our older sisters Bo Motshegetsi Phemelo(Gasennelwe, Banyana Keddy(Segwe) Monica Mogotsi (Mphusu) etc.
Then in 1988 came the New Kids on the Block (Charity Santagane (Kgotlafela), Keitirele Wakwena(Mathapi), Kobotsampa Raditladi(Mdluli) and Montlenyane Baaitse.
Q: Why did you choose Public relations?
Communication has been my calling.
I have been in this field for 28 years.
I enjoy packaging and distributing information to the masses.
This gives me an opportunity to interact with people from all walks of life.
During Vision 2016 activities I was humbled by the great talent our people have.
I met women who made jam from wild fruits to youth who did innovative projects that will serve our country.
Q: You were spearheading the activities of Vision 2016.
As a true patriot, spearheading activities of Vision 2016 and now our golden jubilee celebrations humbles me the most.
It makes me deal directly with ordinary Batswana across the country.
Q: What were the challenges in achieving the Vision 2016?
The main challenge has been unrealistic targets such as having no more new HIV infections by 2016, poverty eradication and full employment etc.
We have learnt from it and it will be better to implement the new vision and make it more realistic.
Q: Now back to Charity Kgotlafela, where were you born?
I was born and bred in Lobatse and had a normal Motswana childhood from a Christian family.
Q: Why did you chose journalism?
Like I said it’s a calling.
Q: What is your favourite food, car?
Not really particular about food and cars.
Q: Some women are said to be shopaholics, do you also fall under that category and if so what do you like buying?
No madam, far from it.
Q: What makes you a proud Motswana?
I consider myself a pure Motswana breed who is proud of being a Motswana.
I received all my education paid for by the government.
All that was needed from me was to study hard and pass, which I did.
Q: What do you want to say to Batswana?
Let us count our blessings and celebrate our successes! Other nations can only wish for it.
Let us unite as we celebrate our milestone.
Q: And how do you chill on weekends?
Home with my family then church.