Botswana: Jwaneng - Town Led By Women

Jwaneng — As the world celebrates International Women's month, the tiny town of Jwaneng, host to the world's richest diamond mine by value, also has a lot to celebrate.

The town has made strides in as far as women in leadership empowerment is concerned. In December 2019, Jwaneng elected its first ever female mayor in Ms Olga Ditsie, and prior to being elevated to the top position, she held the responsibility of deputy mayor.

Ms Ditsie, however, is not a lone woman in the leadership position in Jwaneng.

The town has two customary courts of the same level, both headed and deputised by women. One of the courts, Raphalane, has Kgosi Motlhatswi Pule as court president assisted by Kgosi Cynthia Piet, also a woman.

At the other kgotla, the reigns are in the hands of Kgosi Maleshwane Bakwena as court president, while the position of deputy court president is held by Kgosi Salang Khumalo, a woman.

The four women are tasked with bringing order through the traditional way to the residents of the town, who come from all corners of the country, considering that most came to Jwaneng as working class.

In different forums, they have noted that dealing with people from different cultural background was a challenge, as most felt that a town should not put to much emphasis on traditional ways, but to their credit, the quartet has been equal to the task.

Away from the hallowed kgotla, the town, because of its high population has a number of Village Development Committees (VDCs), and the practice is that where there are many VDCs in a village or town, there should be an umbrella one to oversee and coordinate them.

And at the helm of the umbrella one is none other than a woman, Ms Sheila Mlazie!

In an interview, the township mayor, Ms Ditsie said for the first time since the establishment of the township, there was some success in as much as women leadership issues were concerned.

"I am proud to tell you that I am the first ever female mayor since the establishment of this township, and I hope this will pave way for other aspiring women leaders," she said.

She said the fact that she was at the helm of the township with other women makes her role in the mayorship even sweeter.

Ms Ditsie, however, said that women inclusion in government and parastatals has improved by about 50 per cent, but that there was still a lot to be done in the area of politics.

"In politics women inclusion is still a challenge.

Take this previous elections for example where the numbers have even dropped. Although I am the mayor, the salty part is that I am the only female in the council," she said.

On working relations between her and the other women in key positions in town, Ms Ditsie said their support and teamwork had been tremendous, especially that they shared a similar vision and mission of taking Jwaneng forward.

She said in that light, Jwaneng should be taken as an example that women could be tasked with the same responsibility as men, and still deliver.

Source : BOPA

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