Public Forum Quarterly Series
2018: Public Forum on Gobe Matenge
The Botswana Society and the University of Botswana (UB) hosted a significant event in honour of the late Gobe Matenge, leading civil servant and long-standing board member of The Botswana Society. The event, held at the UB Conference Center and attended by a large gathering, paid tribute to Mr. Matenge and his myriad contributions to the nation. The guest speaker was Richard (Dick) Werbner, Professor Emeritus in African Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester. Werbner is an American anthropologist who specializes in the Kalanga-speaking areas of Zimbabwe and Botswana. He has authored many books and numerous articles and is the author of Reasonable Radicals and Citizenship in Botswana, which highlights the life of Gobe Matenge.
Prof. Werbner led the audience in evoking many anecdotes and reminiscences of the legendary Gobe Matenge.
2017: Public Forum on Caring4Girls
“Caring4Girls Botswana” strives to keep girls in school and to overcome the obstacles they typically face. Its aim is to ensure the development, growth, and dignity of young Batswana women. Providing free sanitary towels is a key point of this initiative, as is ensuring equal access to textbooks and other educational materials.
Ms. Matshidiso Masire, Executive Director of The Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation, stated that “We are very happy to join forces with The Botswana Society on this important initiative. This partnership will raise awareness of the challenge faced by many young girls and to ensure that those in remote and difficult-to-reach areas have a fair chance at attending and succeeding in school.”
2016: Public Forum on Botswana’s Pioneers
This year's Forum Series celebrated Botswana's 50th anniversary with the theme “Founding Ideals and Modern Principles”. The aim was to connect current achievements with efforts of the nation's pioneers since independence.
We opened the series by celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. “Mma” Chiepe. Not only was she a pioneering educator, but after independence became the country's first female ambassador and cabinet minister. Members of the Botswana Students’ Network explained how their work was inspired by Dr. Chiepe.
Other pioneers honoured included the late Alec Campbell, who founded the national museum; Imelda and Athaliah Molokomme, who were among the country's first women's rights activists; the late former president Quett Masire, and Gobe Matenge, one of Botswana's most celebrated civil servants and society figures.
2015: Public Forum Series on Human Trafficking
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 4 million people left their countries to establish new homes to new in southern Africa in 2013 alone. Of these, 60 percent settled in South Africa, with 150,000 arriving in Botswana. How many of these migrants were victims of trafficking is not known.
This series of four forums explored the definitions of human trafficking, the systems in place to measure and prevent trafficking, hearing from victims of trafficking, and understanding the extent of trafficking in the region. Speakers included Ms. Kegakgametse Malete, Senior Superintendent and National Crime Prevention Coordinator, and Ms. Veronica Dabutha, Executive Director of Masiela Trust Fund. Ms. Dabutha has first-hand experience assisting trafficking victims re-integrate back into society and providing them with psycho-social support.
2014: Public Forum Series on Water
This Public Forum Series presented three sessions about Botswana's precious resource. Topics covered included: existing water infrastructure, storage, conveyance, and treatment. Experts in the field included Mr. Boikobo Paya, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources. The Forum Series was supported by the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, the Department of Water Affairs, Livingstone Kolobeng College, Botswana TV, and the Sunday Standard, Weekend Post, and Mmegi/ Monitor newspapers.