Friday, December 2, 2022

Charity Kgotlafela; the driver behind BOT50 secretariat

Fresh from secondary school, the young Kgotlafela came to Gaborone from Lobatse for an interview as a radio presenter and news reader at the then only radio station in the country, RB1. She impressed the panel and was offered the job at the same time with the likes of Keitirele Mathape (n├®e Wakwena). From radio, Kgotlafela occupied many positions in various institutions until last year May when she joined the BOT50 Secretariat as Coordinator. With preparations for the country’s 50th Independence celebrations fast approaching, Kgotlafela has become one of the busiest public servants in the country. She is in her office, housed at the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture in the CBD, as early as 0630hrs every day of the week.

Sunday Standard arrive in her office at 830am and she is busy behind the computer, talking on the landline while her cell phone rings endlessly on the other side. Representatives from companies that have been tasked with provision of services for the independence celebrations are queuing to see her. Her juniors keep reminding her that they have some updates to run by her. She drinks Jacobs Kr├Ânung coffee and according to her, only such a strong coffee with the best aroma can keep her sane in the midst of her insane work schedule. 

As BOT50 Coordinator, Kgotlafela is tasked with the overall supervision, facilitation and implementation of all activities geared towards the celebration of Botswana’s 50 years of independence which according to her, will be a “historic moment for the country”. Her office has come up with what they call ‘Structural Flow of our Campaign as we create a celebration mood/hype’.  Through this structure, various initiatives are being put in place to “ignite, excite, activate, promote, execute and finally celebrate” the country’s independence. The BOT50 secretariat is currently busy soliciting input and ideas from various stakeholders in order to achieve ownership of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations by the whole nation. Kgotlafela says their intention is to encourage Batswana to demonstrate their patriotism through various ways of “telling the Botswana story”.

She said it is time for Batswana to count their blessings and celebrate their success as a country. The build-up activities for the independence celebrations started last year and will continue until September 30. A lot of activities have been planned across the country, along with the roving torch which is moving from village to village and is expected back in Gaborone on Independence Day. BOT50 will also stage a Golden Youth Music Festival on April 30 in Lobatse where the target audience will be the youth. The elders will be catered for through Golden Oldies Music Festival in Selibe-Phikwe on the 14th of May.

Everyone wearing Botswana colours on the day will be allowed free entry at these festivals. Kgotlafela said the intention is to unite Batswana in one uniform. Kgotlafela has also revealed that from the 25th to 30th September there will be church services and Gospel concerts at Kgotlas in all villages and at stadiums where they are available. Kgotlafela has a rich curriculum vitae which perhaps makes her the right person to steer such a historic event. She has worked for UNDP as Public Affairs Officer between 1999 and 2000 where her roles among others were to advise UNDP on development support communications to enhance the effectiveness of programs through information, communication and technology. She was also tasked with developing a working relationship with the local and locally based international media (radio, print and television) including facilitating coverage of UNDP supported events, and building the profile of UNDP through the media.

In 2002, Kgotlafela was a Communication Consultant in the Office of the Facilitator for the Congolese Dialogue where she was tasked with advising the Facilitator with regard to communication. She joined CEDA in May 2002 as Manager, Communications and Public Relations. Her measures of success at CEDA included production of the organization’s Communications Strategy. In addition, she pushed massive publicity and public education on CEDA through effective use of the media and presentations both in Kgotla meetings, Councils and other institutions and the establishment of a Call Center.

She later joined Vision 2016 Council where she was hailed for being instrumental in ensuring that awareness of Vision 2016 is achieved by the nation through various activities such as mobilizing districts to host the launch on alternative basis with full participation of district leadership and the communities. She also introduced the monthly pillar commemorations that brought together all the pillar stakeholders from the public sector, private sector and civil society. Kgotlafela has been in the Communications discipline for 28 years. Professionally, she holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.



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