If people grew younger, she would be the country’s next first lady but unfortunately age is catching up with her and her husband, best friend and soulmate, the country’s vice president, Ponatshego Kedikilwe.
“We have made up our minds, there is no going back about it. Come 2014 we will pack our bags and head back to Sefhophe. We have done our part,” she says when I ask her about her inching closer to being the mother of the nation.
Despite the fact that she has been a pillar of support and a great woman behind Kedikilwe, 71, as he climbed the political ladder, Elizabeth or rather Mma Kedikilwe, 65, like many politician’s wives has over the years taken a back seat, never wanting to bask in the success of her man.
And even though she was active in politics during her heydays, she was never in the spotlight, the name Kedikilwe was only synonymous with the now VP.
It is on a Thursday afternoon when I arrive at the VP’s residence in Extension 9, without any hassle from the army guards I get into the yard and eventually into the house where I am met by a rather skeptical Mma Kedikilwe.
“I am a very shy person who doesn’t want publicity and I am really wondering why I am doing this, maybe it wasn’t a good idea to agree to be interviewed after all.
“Anyway what do you want to know about us,” she says after a moment of silence with a radiating smile that brings out her beauty that could have drawn Kedikilwe and made him choose her as the one.
My first question was how and where the two met and when they eventually had their nuptials.
“We met in Serowe in 1970 where I was working as a secretary at the Tribal Authority while he was job hunting as he had just arrived from overseas where he studied. A year later we were married and after that I quit and followed him to Gaborone. I couldn’t stay away from him as I was afraid other girls would take him as he was such a handsome young man,’’ she says with a smile and laughter asking “ are you going to write that.
I tell her yes I will include that as we continue laughing, meanwhile what goes through my mind is: wow! here is a woman who 41 years later still seems to be so much in love with the man that she fell in love with four decades ago, love which seems to be so scarce nowadays considering the high divorce rate.
“Love, trust, respect and adoring each other has kept us together all these years. We are now more like best friends who are very comfortable with each other. We consult each other when decisions have to be made and we always stick to our decision,’’ she says.
While Mma Kedikilwe had been an active member of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party as a councilor and holding various positions in the party, she chose to be more supportive of her husband.
“I gave him a million percent of my time and I am happy to have been there for him to give him all the support he needed. I am happy for him that he has come this far,” she says.
Even though he would be retiring from active politics in 2014, the couple will still be involved in party politics one way or the other for as long their bodies and soul can carry them.
What kind of a man is Kedikilwe?
“He’s a loving, easy to approach and very straightforward man who does not like taking short cuts. But him being a loving man does not mean he does not get angry, when his temper is high I keep my distance and my mouth shut,’’ she adds.
What makes him: “People who don’t listen when he tells them he does not like something, if he doesn’t want something he means it and if one goes against him he gets really upset.
Considering that he is being described as a loving man, my interest in that grows and seeing that the couple has been together for 41 years I ask if he still has the romantic flair, if they still kiss goodnight and if they still remind each other of their love.
“Ah (smiling) we still do that but not everyday, we are old now, those things are for you young ones.”
With very little running around to do, Mma Kedikilwe spends most of her time looking after her only grandchild, eight- year- old Atlegang, the daughter of her only child Ruth.
“She keeps me on my toes because when she is not at school we are together. I can’t keep up with her pace but what can I do, that’s what it means to be a grandmother,’’ she says.
As we say our goodbyes, the two pass by the kitchen to see what can be prepared for dinner. Even though I left without knowing the type of dinner that would be served that night, I learn that the VP loves his traditional food.