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The rising star that is Kagiso Madibana

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The rising star that is Kagiso Madibana
AUTHOR: Kagiso Madibana

Kagiso Madibana is currently the Monitoring & Evaluation, Gender & Communications Analyst for the Kgalagadi & Gantsi Ecosystems Project at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Tsabong, an occupation she describes as her dream job.

Armed with a BA degree in Environmental Science and English and Masters degree in Media & Communications from Cardiff University through the Chevening Scholarship Courtesy of the British High Commission in Gaborone, 30 –year- old Madibana is not only a high achiever but also a trailblazer.

Although she is modest about her accomplishments one doesn’t miss the spark that lights up her face when she talks about her life journey.

“I have learnt over the years that I can communicate and express myself better through writing which explains my career choice including writing a book, teaching and community development. I have an obsession with sharing and creating stories about experiences that could change lives or make an impact. I grew up reading a lot of books and none of them sounded like my story or that of my neighbour so I wanted to write a book that the ordinary Motswana /African could relate to in addition to all the other work I have been involved in,” She says

At her tender age, Madibana’s resume is impressive.

Working within the same hours of days like everyone else, she has managed to achieve more than many young people of her age.

In January 2017 she was selected as Botswana representative at the African Union’s Youth & Gender summit.

Then in December 2017, she was shortlisted for the Africa Youth Award under the Social Entrepreneur of the Year category whilst still celebrating being named as one of 50 change – makers under 40 by Mail & Guardian Africa and Gabzfm in September 2016.

As a print journalist she was selected to join the International Journalist Programme (IJP) and placed with the Deutsche Welle in Germany, which cemented her contribution as a mentor for the Startupboot-camp Cape Town Accelerator Programme for the Top eight startups in Botswana.

As though that was not enough, Madibana is also a mentor for 12 months under a program called “Now for them” that matches students in secondary schools with people in the industries they are interested in and is also guest Lecturer at two local universities; the University of Botswana and AFDA to teach students about building social movements and creative entrepreneurship.

Outside the communities she has worked in, Madibana was further thrust into the public domain through her notable work as founder of Nayang Association and MD Africa Communications.

Part of Nayang Association is to drum support for underprivileged communities and thus far the association has managed to donate school shoes to local primary schools.

“Nayang Association has put in massive amounts of work for it to be where we are today. Our goal is to keep donating school shoes, sanitary pads, food and clothing to kids in remote areas. We have been doing this since 2014 with the help of the SA High Commission, Fedics Botswana, BACUCT, Engen, Liberty Life, PEP, CB Stores, MTN business, Tsa-Badiri Consultancy, Health Generations and various individuals from the community and Batswana in the Diaspora.

Speaking passionately about her motivation Madibana said, “I look up to strong women like our dearly departed mother; Mme Beata Kasale. She brought the Women in News Programme; WAN-IFRA (that I personally benefited from) to Botswana and she continually used to check in on me for years. She used to call me Baby WINner because I was the youngest on the programme at that time. I believe in celebrating her legacy as she made her mark. She made a long-lasting impact in her community and I am inspired to keep doing more because she did.”

From journalism, Madibana ventured into teaching. She says, “Teaching was such an interesting and learning experience for me. I formed professional bonds with staff members and some of the students I was teaching. It was hard to leave but I knew that it was time to take off because I had plans to write and self-publish a book I had been working on and also to work on improving Nayang Association’s profile .I also opened my company MD Africa Communications, which has been contracted by Ministry of Youth and British High Commission to train beneficiaries of the youth fund on branding and marketing. We have also worked with companies like Chain of Events and Old Mutual Botswana.”

Part of her success is due to her work as Lead Researcher (Mo-Ibrahim-Global Integrity study, Research Assistant).

She is also the author of ‘Tales from the heart of Botswana: Baareng’s journey.’

Despite her busy schedule, Madibana is determined to ensure her book is accessible to all.

“I am working with the disability Librarian at the Botswana National Services to transcribe the book into a braille version so that we take an all inclusive approach in terms of promoting the culture of reading in our country.”

The book is doing very well lately. Private schools, especially some Debswana primary schools have included it as English Literature set book under their syllabus.

It is also available at Botswana Book centre and Sebilo Books as well as all Choppies Hypers in Gaborone, Molepolole, Francistown and Orapa Public Library.

It is also available at bookstores called Bridge Books (Maboneng & CBD) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Those who prefer e-books, can get it on Amazon as well.

Hard as it may sound, Madibana says, “All work and no play will certainly make my life dull. It’s very important to me to find a balance for the sake of my sanity and ability to give all I have to my job and all else I do.”

Madibana lists, giving back, travelling, hiking across less known travel destinations across Botswana to places like Old Palapye in Malaka, Mogonye and Masimo Getaway resort, quad-biking and writing as her favorite indulgences.

Nothing about the demure young woman gives away her penchant for adventure sports but she says,“I have already done sky-diving and paragliding.”