There are many untold stories about African women who have lived extraordinary lives of national service. One of those stories can be found right here at home. It is the beautiful story of none other than Dr Gaositwe Keagakwa Tibe Chiepe.
Her granddaughter, Moduduetso Lecoge, wanted to be the first to finally bring her story to the public, by writing about it and acting it out. The play will premiere at this year’s Maitisong Festival. The play promises to give a glimpse into the life of Mma Chiepe and her many accomplishments, something that has never been done before despite the fact that she has achieved a lot of milestones.
The play premieres at the Moving Space (at Maru-a-Pula School) on April 14th at 1900hrs, and on April 15th and 16th of April both at 1730hrs. According to a press release penned by Lecoge, A Woman of Many Firsts chronicles the life of Dr G.K.T Chiepe from her childhood as a young Motswana girl growing up in Serowe, the same village where Botswana’s founding President Sir Seretse Khama and his family originates from. It tracks her education path through secondary school at the prestigious Tigerkloof College in South Africa during apartheid era.
Thereafter, with the help of the Government of Botswana’s (then Bechuanaland Protectorate) scholarship, she proceeded to Fort Hare University where she became the first black African female graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology and Botany. Furthermore, she went to read for her Master’s Degree at the University of Bristol in the UK in the 1950’s. She was the first Motswana female to attain a Master’s degree.For those who might not know about Dr G.K.T Chiepe’s illustrious career in education and administration, her diplomatic service and politics spans over five decades from 1948 to 1999.
“She was the first Motswana female Education Officer during her time. She climbed the ranks until she became the first female Director of Education. Then she later became the first female African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom after Botswana’s independence. For a long time, Dr. Chiepe was the only female in the Botswana Cabinet; first as a specially elected Member of Parliament and later an elected Member of Parliament for Serowe South,” says the release. During her life, she achieved a lot of firsts as a young girl, as a working woman and in politics, hence the title of the play A Woman of Many Firsts.
“Botswana needs to know a bit more about this icon. She has created a legacy by being grounded on selflessness, respect, tenacity and hard work, characteristics of a typical Motswana. She will go down in the annals of history as one of Botswana’s pioneers, championing unparalleled quality education for every Motswana child,” says the press release. “Her legacy and character must live on and be emulated by young women in Botswana and Africa to always become the best that they can be.
As Botswana celebrates her 50th anniversary of independence, it is also fitting that a story of the daughter of the soil is told,” the release says.