Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Silently breaking barriers…

A teacher, sports administrator, Botswana Under-19 National Netball Coach, Oreeditse Marakakgoro is a woman of many talents.

Now you can add an author to the ever-growing list of Marakakgoro’s burgeoning credentials.

One of the country’s respected sports personalities, the Women’s Sport Leadership Academy (WSLA) graduate is the author of a yet to be released book entitled ‘Breaking Barriers… a woman in sport’. The book, which is scheduled to be launched on the 26th of this month (September) at Mahalapye Cresta Hotel, details Marakgoro’s journey as a woman in sports.

‘Breaking Barriers’ is Marakakgoro’s crowning moment, a legacy she intends to leave for the girl child finding her feet in sports.

In the book, she seeks to inspire the Motswana and African girl child and women in general to find courage, resilience, confidence and determination to break the proverbial glass ceiling in sports.

According to Marakakgoro, while she always knew she had a story to tell, she had no intention of penning a book.

It was only after an encouragement from one local author Mompoloki Makwana and fiery gender and sports activist and administrator Game Mothibi that she took a decision to put her life in a scroll. The two, she says, encouraged her ‘to write a book and share her story.’

“I knew I had a rich profile but never thought of turning my life story into a book,” she says.

“Had it not been for Makwana, this book would not exist. He saw my profile and encouraged me to write a book. I took his words since I once took Game Mothibi who is my mentor for granted when she said I could write a book about my life,” she reminisces.

Marakgoro’s book offering will come with a total of five chapters, being; Know yourself, Stay in the Race, Keep Pushing No Matter What, Growth Is A Personal Choice and lastly, Impacting Lives, a topic close to heart.

“My story is about courage, faith and hard work that eventually manifested in a personal dream. The book is about my journey from being an athlete to being where I am right now,” she says.

“I stand here doing what I do because I want to inspire not only athletes but also young people in general,” she highlighted.

Marakakgoro says every chapter is different and carries a different message. She says to achieve anything in life knowing one self is the first step.

She notes that ‘we all have different strengths, weakness, gifts and talent and they can only be unlocked after self-introspection.’

“If you know yourself you will always avail your self for your dreams, be there for yourself no matter the circumstances. If you know yourself and what you are about, you will surely stay in the race of your journey and nothing will derail you.”

“I remained in sport because I knew obstacles will come my way and try to kick me down but I empowered myself more in order to remain relevant. This led me to do the right thing not only for myself, but for Botswana sport and athletes who depend on me,” she says.

Marakakgoro noted that as the local sport space is male dominated, it is hard for women to have a breakthrough.

She says in order for women to get to that stage to be on equal standing with men, they should learn to surround themselves with positive minded people who add value, see one’s capabilities and talents and encourage them to grow.

“Life on its own is hard and to win, one has to push a little bit extra and break barrier themselves,” she says.

She says to achieve what she has achieved, she had to be forceful and she also invited herself to places she was never invited.

“Opportunities do not just come. You have to go out and get yourself opportunities,” she says adding that “I was trained to be a commentator and the was one time I did commentary for free during netball world cup games. People thought I was stupid because I could have been paid in Euros or Dollars. They did not know the skills I got from there will forever be with me and I can use them anytime to get money. We should learn that money is not everything.”

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.