The legal doctor

Leungo Mokgwathi
FEARLESS: Precious Gondwe

Fearless, formidable, fashionable

From the humblest of beginnings, through hard graft and a relentless desire to succeed, the brilliant Precious Masuku-Gondwe has worked her way to the very top of the legal profession.

The internationally acclaimed corporate lawyer is named amongst the top 30 most influential female lawyers in Africa and came in sixth in Botswana’s most influential women of 2022.

A philanthropist and entrepreneur, Masuku-Gondwe’s law firm, Precious and Partners, is one of the country’s leading corporate legal practices.

In between tight court appearances, the impressive young lady spared a few minutes to chat with LEUNGO MOKGWATHI, providing a fascinating insight into her life as a lawyer and fashion icon…

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Please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Precious Masuku-Gondwe.

I am an attorney by profession and pride myself as a corporate lawyer.

I am the founding partner and CEO of Precious and Partners.

I am also a Pan-Africanist.

Everything I do is really about our people, Batswana and Africans across the globe.

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I am also a trained arbitrator, a notary public [a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters usually concerned with general financial transactions, estates, deeds, powers-of-attorney, and foreign and international business] and a conveyancer [a lawyer who specializes in the legal aspects of buying and selling real property].

I am well vexed in handling corporate law matters generally but also cases of international and public interest.

I also do a lot of other work besides being a lawyer.

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In other terminologies they call me a philanthropist, which means I have a heart for the human race – I do a lot of charity work through the Precious Gondwe foundation.

I am also the founding member and founding President of the Game Changers, which was initially a women empowerment forum but has now incorporated men for the upliftment of our young people across the globe.

We exist in 12 African countries.

Wow, you’re making me feel slightly inadequate! Let’s go back in time, briefly tell us about your childhood and where you grew up.

I like to talk about my childhood because I come from very humble beginnings.

I was born to two amazing parents.

I grew up in Mogoditshane, and subsequently attended my Junior Secondary School in Molepolole.

Towards the end of my High School, we relocated to Zimbabwe and I completed my Secondary School at a boarding school.

I was a very bubbly child and loved my studies – I even graduated my Standard Seven with straight A’s despite attending classes under a morula tree in Mogoditshane!

At the time, my parents could not even afford to buy school shoes for me.

As I said, I came from very humble beginnings; we did not have much but I purposed it in my heart to work hard and push myself up to where I am.

Quite an inspirational rise! So who has been your greatest inspiration?

My late father has been my greatest inspiration and my mother who is based in Molepolole is still a pillar and anchor.

We lived in a two-roomed house, but because my father was a firm believer in education, he pushed all of us and said ‘education will one day be your mother and father’.

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I have carried that through and this is where I am now.

Was it always your dream to be a lawyer?

I wanted to be a medical doctor until my sister and father talked me out of it.

I remember when I finished my Secondary School, I was ready and actually applied for medical school but it was during the wake of HIV/AIDS and my father was like, ‘Are you sure you are ready to do this?

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We think you do well in public speaking; we have seen you win debates at school so we actually think you’d make a great lawyer.

Why don’t you try lawyering?’

So that is basically how I moved from being a doctor of medicine to being a doctor of the people. I could say daddy knew best and my sister played a role in me actually becoming a lawyer.

How do you cope with such a demanding career, what keeps you going?

I am a very spiritual person who believes in God.

As a saved Christian, I draw my strength from God.

I think being in God centers me, it keeps me grounded and focused and also helps me look beyond troubles and challenges.

It also gives me hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

I also come from a very closely-knitted family.

We support one another and pray together and I think that has been the source of my inspiration and strength throughout my journey.

I also cannot take away the fact that my partners, I call my employees partners, the people that make things happen at Precious and Partners, they make my journey and life easier.

What has been the key ingredient in building Precious and Partners into the success it is today?

Dedication, hard work and the mindset that says ‘nobody owes me anything, it is up to what I do to make it happen.’

So the mindset is not one that says I know everything but one that says I am willing to work hard to achieve my dreams, to change my background and my narrative.

That has been the bedrock of Precious and Partners.

Also, I do not look down on myself because I am a firm believer that every woman deserves a seat at the table and I am one to believe that I can positively contribute in any setting.

So the ability to trailblaze and break barriers without being afraid of what people will say has been the fuel and greasing in the engine to keep going.

As an international award-winning lawyer, what does such recognition and acknowledgements mean for you and your brand?

It is humbling and also means that people recognize hard work, which is a lesson that you can be unknown and come from a background of no connections, having to start from the ground and if you are willing to work and get your hands dirty.

The universe is always looking to reward people who are focused and work very hard.

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It is also humbling to see that the impact of the work I do is not only seen in Botswana but within the region as well.

I am so blessed to have received so many awards from across the region because it shows me that Precious and Partners is going in the right direction for the ultimate transformation and change

When you’re not winning cases in court, uplifting youth or making your mark outside of Botswana, you’re also tied up with fashion – tell us about Precious Allure and how it came about?

I think in the wake of Covid, a lot of us had a bit of fear of the unknown. We did not know how long Covid would go on for, we were not sure of where money was going to come from and I said to myself , ‘with the little money I have saved up let me start something that I am passionate about and would also create extra income’.

It was during that period in May 2020, that Precious Allure came about.

People used to admire the clothes I wore and assumed they were expensive.

I am teaching people that you can look good without having to blow out your pocket with expensive clothes.

Precious Allure is very affordable and anyone can buy it.

It is my little baby that is still growing and still struggling but we can get there.

Share some of your 2023 resolutions with our readers?

I don’t really like putting up a cap and saying ‘2023 resolutions’ because I believe that resolutions are supposed to go on for a while.

It is one thing to set short-term, mid-term and long-term goals but for me my resolutions were made about five years ago when I started Precious and Partners.

One of the things I wanted to do was to grow a franchise of professionals.

We have a 5-10 year plan to grow into franchises across the region and the African continent.

Any message you can give to young girls who dream of emulating you and one day breaking glass ceilings of their own?

What is important is not to fear.

Beyond fear, you fly.

Respect people but do not fear them, respect the status quo but do not allow it to dwarf you into becoming smaller and a little less than you should be.

Allow yourself to fly, silence the naysayers, because only you can discover your true potential.

Words to live by! Finally, Thank God It’s Friday, what are your weekend plans?

I have been working very hard with court, so I am hoping to rest a little bit.

I love to have children around so I hope to have my nieces and nephews over for a swim.

I also have a spa appointment tomorrow just to do a facial and a massage and relax a little bit and hopefully get to church on Sunday.

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