Gone are the days when a woman’s capability was limited to the kitchen walls and being house wives. The narration has changed over the years and women have made their voices heard, taking up space in all spheres of influence.
Today women can serve as Presidents as Members of Parliament as well as Chief Executive Officers. Offices which were only dominated or deemed fit for men. Whether or not women who hold powerful position are a threat to men, no one can say for sure but there are a handful of men who can’t stand a woman’s tenacity, zeal and power. So much so that they end up trying by all means to pull them down.
While that is the case with some men, some find powerful women smart and mostly attracted to them. While some men may find it a bitter pill to swallow that their women bring home the bread, there are a few rare bred men who go over and beyond for women in powerful positions, helping them in any way they can.
In a study led by Ekaterina Netchaeva, Ph.D., at Bocconi University in Italy, Netchaeva concluded that from an unjustified manhood theory, that when a woman occupies a superior organizational role, men in subordinate positions experience it as a threat, which leads them to behave more assertively towards her and advocate for themselves.
Status is not the only thing that make men feel threatened and inferior; gender and status kills their manhood. This also because they prefer to be pushy in the work place. “Clearly, this is problematic for the many talented, determined women trying to break through the glass ceiling — or simply earn a living,” said the study.
In an interview with WeekendPostsome women have admitted to have experienced being pulled down by men. Makgato Malesu is one of the most powerful women, who said that at some point men questioned how she made it to the top. But that did not stop her from soaring. Today she serves in the highest position in international community.
Being a leading Creative Entrepreneur, Masego Manyaapelo said she had experienced intimidations by men who were her clients. Which she said it was a bizarre combination of sexism and chauvinism.
“More women are holding positions of power and influence in the workspace. This is something that has become the new norm. Men are finding it exceptionally difficult to accept the reality that women are just as competent and sometimes even more than they are. Women climb the corporate ladder faster because they have a lot more to prove and a lot more to lose than their counterparts. For this reason, men are intimidated by the ‘new normal’ in the workplace,” Manyaapelo said.
While some men have evolved with time and are now at ease with the dynamics about women in leadership some men have come to esteem women who hold strong positions. Currently leading as Communications Manager at MassMart, a holding company for trading brands like Game Stores, Builders World, Jumbo, Makro, Cambridge and many more, Tinabo Majaye highlighted that she had never been intimidated by her male counterparts.
“As a young hardworking and ambitious woman who was born and raised in Botswana but working in South Africa’s highly competitive corporate world, gender based power imbalances in the work place have never been an issue for me. I personally have never had judgement in my areas of expertise, questioned nor have I ever had to provide more evidence of my competence than my male counterparts,” she said.
“This is largely attributable to having worked with modern, liberal and progressive men who believe in the advancement of women in the workplace based on their credentials, capabilities and work ethic.” Senior Human Resource Manager at De Beers Matlhogonolo Mponang, has served in different leadership roles which she has executed with utmost excellence and without batting an eye. Mponang begs to differ that men are intimidated by women in powerful positions.
“I think it is unfair to single out men within a general population of varied people. I think I have made people uncomfortable, not because they were male and I was female but simply because I have such a strong personality and I have never had a problem with speaking truth to power, as long as I believed the truth served a greater good and represented my values. As for intimidation. I think people in general are intimidated but anything different from them- especially if the person in question is generally not comfortable with change,” she said.
“I have definitely at some points in my professional life felt that there were waves of subjugation but it was not from any one demographic and it wasn’t always from my superiors. Being radical and transformational means that you will sometimes meet with violent or non-violent opposition. It is not so much a construct of gender or more specifically about men being intimidated by women. It is a human and universal reaction to anything that challenges the status quo.”
MEN’S OPINIONS ABOUT POWERFUL WOMEN
“Truth is women in leadership positions or even those who are just doing well for themselves intimidate men. We say it’s not so and we want our women to do great things but one thing that shows the intimidation is how men fear approaching such women to ask them out. Men question their abilities when they see such, if they are their types, if they can maintain them and if her independence won’t degrade their masculinity,” Joseph Pharatlhatlhe said, a teacher by Profession.
“I don’t know the statistics but I’m pretty sure a good number of women in leadership stay single for a long time lest some male superior to them comes into the picture or the lady herself brings herself down to point of asking a man out or even dating younger men. Ladies most of the time are like slay queens, they are very choosy and when they let you down they hurt your ego big time because it would have taken a lot for you to approach.”
Transformational Speaker, Uyapoh Letus also attested to the fact that some men find it hard to stand a woman who is powerful and have her game together. “It is really about cultural background and our upbringing. In our society almost every person grew up knowing that men kind of hold the high position. Men are considered most powerful and that he comes first. Everyone grows up in this believe. As we grow in this cooperate spaces. We take these believes to our work place,” he said.
“It is so difficult for some men accept having a lady leading them in an organisation. They find it very difficult to take instruction from them. They also find it difficult to believe that a woman is leading them. Lawrence Ookeditse an independent researcher and Convener of the Botswana Jobs Summit, also a former Director of Youth/Policy Specialist for the Government of Botswana in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture Development when quizzed said, it is an issue of power itself.
“The power dynamics have been shaped in a very realistic, survival and self-preservation orientated. Meaning everyone who wants power, they go out for the kill because they also want to survive. It is about being in the position to take over. The problem is power itself, because power is public good. I don’t think it is a case of men intimidated by women particularly. Men are also intimidated by other men. Human beings are naturally self-interested,” he said.
“Women who hold powerful positions usually perform well. That I think we could look into a comprehensive study. The key thing also is we must create space for fairness, competitiveness that it should not matter whether you are a men or a woman.
It should be about merit and it should ensure that artificial barriers are removed for women to be able to participate to reach their full potential. The problem is there are often barriers for entry for women. That limit them from participating like men. The system has been rigged and the system needs to be fixed.”
Mpho Donald was undoubtedly the IT girl of the then tedious beauty industry. She loved looking pretty and smelling good. Of course, this is every girl’s dream, but making a living out of it doesn’t flash into many of these girls’ dreams.
Besides, it used to be a lot more common for the majority of entrepreneurs to be male in the past. However, in recent years the number of female entrepreneurs in the world has been on the rise. She is from a family of business-minded people. Both parents were entrepreneurs, but that is not why Donald is a powerful woman in this entrepreneurial space. At one point, life threw lemons at her, and she made lemonade.
At the age of 38, Donald has been to South Africa more than once. These frequent hazardous trips at the time were to acquire secret elements into being a real hustler. She would get robbed, risk being raped or hijacked, but she survived.
“At one point, life got too difficult to an extent where I found myself doing piece jobs for other people just so I earn something to buy toiletry, food and clothes even. I did laundry, and in the entire process, I got tired. I had to think about business, and it was easy because I come from a line of people who believe in trading. Somehow I got motivated, but I never wanted to work for anyone in life.”
Before embarking on shadowing missions in South Africa, Donald would go around the capital city, hunting for customers. Kgale Mews, Commerce Park are urban offices for various companies, but this did not restrict her from knocking, selling makeup, jewellery and accessories.
She was known for this particular hustle in all the offices. Some people will get exhausted because of her irritating products, but that did not stop her from acquiring a tiny spot in Main Mall. She pitched her gazibo, and her next items on display were plus size women’s outfits. These women are often overlooked, especially on beauty pageantry. The controversial Miss Plus Size Botswana pageant never saw the light of the day ever again.
“I guess that was after I saw the pains of plus-sized women when it came to shopping for something to wear. Being a plus-size woman made it easy for me to penetrate this space. I modelled all my clothes and advertised them on social media.”
Social media opened many doors for so many entrepreneurs. Donald can attest to that. She told Weekendlife that “People started coming in to buy both makeup and the clothes. Then, later on, I started selling second-hand clothes and while at it, I moved to my first shop. I think for me taking risks has never really been any scary because I convinced myself that in any case, I fall, I will rise again.”
“So I went boldly into everything that I could do at the time. I would travel to South Africa to places I never knew. I got my stock there, and even when I got robbed, I knew I would eventually reach my destination. It surely wasn’t an easy walk in a park, but I persevered,” she said.
From her mini boutique, Donald went full force into buying and supplying second-hand clothes. “As the COVID-19 lockdowns hit us, I was busy at work pushing the idea on mini bails and second-hand clothes. So it came down to my mind that I have to know what to sell in which season. It was a trial and error kind of hustle, but once you get a grip of it, you begin to sail smoothly.”
Donald currently supplies small businesses across the country. She gets to enjoy a good relationship with her customers, who are in other countries even. “It took me much effort, commitment and loyalty to be where I am today. I guess I could now boldly say that hard work is beginning to pay off. I have started knocking on bigger doors for partnerships, and I believe that if I can get them, beauty plus size clothing will be elevated to the next level.”
Mpho Donald is originally from Serowe. She studied her O and A-levels in Zimbabwe at the Specis College. Still, in Zimbabwe, she enrolled and qualified as a Travel and Tourism expert. She said in an interview that she will be venturing into other hustles too but couldn’t reveal which ones now. Donald is optimistic that everything will be ready and served in 2022.
After being announced as the next Miss Global Botswana, social media was ablaze, and curiosity was flown all over on whether Sakshi Bhargava is a native Motswana or the crown has incongruously been given to a non-citizen. Many Miss Global Botswana fans were breakneck in assuming that the queen is Indian, probably because the parents are of Indian descent and she looks Indian.
In a similar incident early this May, Miss Universe Canada Nova Stevens was chastened for being black. The beauty queen admitted that she’s disappointed with the behaviour of some pageant fans from other countries, noting that their hate takes away from the fun and enjoyment of the pageant.
“Is it that difficult to spread love instead of hate? No one is saying you have to support all contestants. All we’re saying is that you support your delegate without bringing others down,” she said. She called out racist comments on her Instagram criticizing her appearance. Stevens is of Sudanese descent. The remarks included: “Akala ko engkanto (I thought she was a mythical creature),” and “Hindi naman sa hinuhusgahan ko siya pero natatakot ako, promise. Parang hindi siya tao.” (I’m not judging her, but I’m terrified. It’sIt’s like she’s not a human being.)
Miss Global Botswana Bhargava told Weekendlife that she was born and brought up in Francistown, 19-years ago. She started her primary school in John Mackenzie and did her A-levels in Francistown, where she served as Deputy Head girl.
Her parents, she said, moved to Botswana from India in 1988. Technically, they have been in Botswana for 33 years. That then means they are Batswana by citizenship. According to data from the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration, and Gender Affairs, for a citizen of another country to qualify for Botswana citizenship, that person must satisfy few conditions.
The applicant has been resident in Botswana for a continuous period of 12 months immediately to the date of their application for a naturalization certificate. They should have been resident in Botswana for aggregate periods of not less than ten years during the 12 years immediately preceding the 12 months prescribed above. The applicant shall renounce the other country’s citizenship.
“Being born and brought up in Botswana, I have grown up learning Botswana culture, understanding Setswana, and I pride myself in being a Motswana by birth but Indian by race. We were lovingly welcomed into a very diverse nation. They fell in love with Botswana, and from then, they knew that this was the place where they wanted to birth and raise their children such that we grew up knowing this peaceful nation to be our home.”
“Our national flag, the black and white colors symbolize collaboration between people of diverse races and culture and a belief in racial cooperation and equality. I am proudly one of the first representations of the diversity our country has especially in the pageantry industry and I am fully equipped to represent our country.”
Bhargava further indicated that the Botswana culture is more of her identity than anything else as she has always known Botswana to be her home. “One should not be judged by race but should rather be embraced by character.”
BEAUTY WITH A PURPOSE
Having started pageantry at the age of 16, Bhargava has been a beauty queen with a purpose. She has worn two crowns too. In 2016, she was crowned Junior Miss Botswana 2nd princess and Miss Teen Hope 1st princess in 2017. During the past few years, she has also been pursuing ambassadorship with few companies.
“I became the brand ambassador of three local brands: the Diamond Pageantry Academy, BushT Fashions, and Em’s beauty Spa. She founded a non-governmental organization called Able Hearts Foundation. This is an NGO that strives to create equality for people living with disabilities.
“It runs with a slogan dubbed ”We are all equal in the fact that we are all different”. I believed that I am a true representation of what a beauty queen can help the community and how we have the ability to make the world a better place,” she told WeekendLife in an exclusive interview this week.
She started Able Hearts Foundation in 2017 after she realized that people faced with disabilities were ridiculed and made fun of, and, “I knew that as a teenager, I needed to stand up for this community and educate my peers on how to treat people faced with disabilities as equal in the society. For over 4 years now, I have worked with the Francistown Center for the Deaf Education, the Lephoi Center for the visually impaired and the Mochudi Resource Center for the blind.”
The newly crowned queen said she has worked with many more children living with disabilities and made it her mandate to nurture their talents and empower them to the point where they know and trust that they are equally important.
ATTENDING MISS GLOBAL IN INDONESIA
Miss Global organization has announced through their Instagram account that the competition is back, and a new edition is set to be held this September in Bali, Indonesia, with more than 80 delegates expected to participate.
Bhargava will be representing Botswana at the beauty competition, and she is ready to bring the crown home. “I entered the pageant industry at a very young age and my biggest dream was to represent Botswana on an international stage.
I applied to Miss Global organization as Botswana’s representative to hope that I would get a chance to truly showcase all of the hard work I have been putting into my ambitions of putting Botswana on the global map in allowedy. I am very excited to have been given the opportunity to live one of my biggest dreams.”
Botswana’s entertainment industry is finding it hard to survive the COVID-19 uproar because it has been shut for, literally, two years now. Artists are bankrupt, their marriages are dwindling, and misery is kicking them to the last drop. The country is bored to death. There is no delight as social events have been given rain check.
The country’s preeminent entertainers, too, are finding it hard to make ends meet. Keeping their heads above the water is grim all because of the contagious contagion, COVID-19. It is survival of the fittest, and only a few strong ones are surviving.
Team Distant, our very own Afro/Deep house duo, too, felt the heat. The Kave Ngoma hitmakers, who initially were four, and now cropped to two, went international before COVID-19. The duo decided to spread their wings and learn different cultural music to explore more diverse cultures and probably have fun. The ‘I believe I can fly’ dream was cut short by the devastating pandemic.
In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife this week, one of the group members, Aron Motlhabane, said COVID-19 has utterly affected their music plans for two years, leaving the duo crashed. “We are travel enthusiasts, and in 2019, we made it upon ourselves to travel abroad and gain more experience music-wise. The tour was cut short by COVID-19, and in the entire process, we lost so many international gigs. There is absolutely zero income coming in,” Motlhabane said.
However, that did not deflate the duo, and attention shifted to creating more music and trading it online. Team Distant is one particular band that sells music on digital platforms (iTunes, Spotify, and Deezer).
“We created more content so that by the time they lift the ban on entertainment, we have something to feed our followers and entertain them. COVID-19 affected us severely, but somehow we picked few lessons. We hope for the best, though, with time, and that’s when our aspirations will resume,” he said.
Motlhabane told Weekendlife that the duo has been releasing Extended Plays (EPs) with international record labels. Team Distant worked with Nngondona record label in Kenya, Aluke records in London, and local music producers.
“People have been downloading our music on digital platforms such as iTunes, and of course, we got something from royalties. It is tough to survive now as an artist, but we are grateful that the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development came to the party. It was little monies but better than nothing,” Motlhabane said.
Team Distant has a robust and consistent relationship with La Timmy, a Kasane native DJ. However, the duo identified yet another talented vocalist, Jinger Stone, whom they featured on their latest release, Colder than water.
Her record label recommended Jinger Stone to work with Team Distant on Colder than water, which is currently number one on iTunes. She is relatively new in the music industry, having made her debut appearance a year ago. Aged 19, this young woman is destined for more incredible things in life, and she pounded the song from the hook to the chorus.
THE MAKING OF COLDER THAN WATER
When talking to Weekendlife about the making of Colder than Water, Aaron said the song was created from just two minds getting together to combine something people can dance to. “When I heard this beat, I was shocked. I took a short video using my phone, and I felt something could come out of it. Choosing the vocalist was not hard because the song is sad.
We wanted someone to pour all the emotions into it. I sent the song to Jinger Stone and told her to write something sad that people will all relate to. She did exactly that,” said Aaron. Colder than water is a poetic song with a lot of metaphors that talk about life. It is a feeling. Team Distant was amazed by the demo she sent a day later. “We felt she has that thing that we have been looking for.
She has that powerful energy in her, and we believe in her so much. All hands down for her,” Motlhabane said. La Timmy told Weekendlife that: “It is a bang. A beautiful piece of art. The first time I heard it, I realised that Team Distant is taking a different route which is quite different. I’m impressed.”