"I allow myself to feel the fear, that adrenaline is life fuel strength when channeled properly.."

Voices of Positive Change: “You can’t be what you can’t see” – Marian Wright Edelman

Zahara's Dream Interview with Bogolo Kenewendo, Economist and Former Minister of Trade, Botswana

1. What was your first dream? (Where did Bogolo girl-child see Bogolo adult-woman?)

My first dream was to be a leader, help people. The dream evolved into being an Economist, Inspired by former President H.E. Mogae.

2. What does Confidence mean to you?

Trusting in yourself, your abilities and your voice

3. What does Opportunity mean to you?

Space that needs to be taken, assumed. It comes in different forms some direct and some indirect, however, not all opportunities are for you. We all need to learn discernment, pick opportunities that align with your vision and purpose for your life.

4. How do you start your day to achieve the objectives you have set for yourself?

Workout, meditate, plan my day over a cup of coffee and check it off at lunch and end of day. I end the day by reading at least 5 pages of a book or an article.

5. How important is discipline when it comes to building a fulfilling career?

Its everything. No dream can be pursued and realized without discipline.

6. What is the value of a role model?

Inspirational, makes you see what is attainable in life.

7. What would be a piece of advice for young women overcoming social and economic adversity?

You can overcome. Your background doesn’t define you. Believe in yourself and where you are going and find people who can help you in your journey (mentors). FOCUS!

8. How do you manage disrupters/toxicity to your journey?

Reminding myself why I started in the first place. Also meditation helps.

9. How do you turn fear and failure into strength and opportunity?

I allow myself to feel the fear, that adrenaline is life fuel strength when channeled properly. Failure is a redirection, and to quote the cliché ‘when one door closes another opens’ but you have to do something about it.

10. What is the best career advice you were given?

Try to find humor in the difficult situations, it will keep you sane.

11. What is your daily motto?

I can and I will.

12. Name a book that inspired you. Why?

I’d like to name 2: one I read when I was about 14/15 and another around 28.

1) The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell;

2)The Originals by Adam Grant. I think I read them more than a decade apart but they both reinforced the need to embrace originality and belief that I can make a difference.

13. What would your younger self tell you if she were to meet you now?

You are enough! Focus on what you want and be careful of opportunities that aren’t meant for you, use this question to make sure you aren’t getting tempted by what’s not yours; does this help me with my purpose?

14. What would you advise the new generation of activists advocating for gender equality and women empowerment?

Things are bound to get harder before they get better, don’t despair. The baton has been handed over to us, we must start the change from where we stand by creating inclusive spaces and bringing more allies with us. Let’s be bolder and demand the change we deserve, it is our birth right!


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