The rise and rise of Kenewendo

She is passionate about development; poverty eradication, reducing inequalities and empowering women and youth.

That is none other than the newly specially elected youthful Member of Parliament, Bogolo Kenewndo.

Asked what drives her, Kenewendo, 29, says she is ambitious about becoming the best person she can be, emotionally, physically and mentally.

Until recently, the little publicly known Kenewendo lived and worked in Ghana as a trade economist in the Ministry of Trade and Industry in the Government of Ghana.

“I absolutely loved living and working in Ghana. Ghanaians are warm people and I appreciated their hospitality. Working there opened my eyes to industries that we aren’t strong in such as agriculture, I admire Ghana’s diversity and potential. I learnt to be strong in a new environment, to be more bullish and assertive in my stances. I also learnt to listen and understand others in order to be understood,” She says.

Concerning her chosen career path Kenewendo says she is clear on her mandate but also keeps an open mind on directions to take.

“My paths have kept changing as my life changes and as I see new opportunities. The consistent undertone is to impact development through policy in one office or the other. I am passionate about youth and women empowerment. There is so much more we can accomplish by ensuring we invest in these resources. There is also a need for economic development especially through private sector growth, “says the young MP who holds an MSc in International Economics from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and was a recipient of a prestigious Chevening Scholarship in 2012.

The rise and rise of Kenewendo

She completed her BA in Economics at the University of Botswana where she also had the unique experience of taking part in the exchange programme at Pitzer College and completing the regional integration programme – Tor Vergatta, Jean Monnet Summer programme.

How did she react to the news that she was nominated? “ I was a ball of emotions upon receiving President Khama’s phone call.” She reveals

“It is a call one doesn’t expect but when it comes through, you feel grateful and honored that you are not only doing well but you are being noticed too. I now get to serve my country and look forward to being a voice for many more young people out there, “ She says

With la smile she goes on to reveal that the first people she shared the news with were her parents.

“I kept my lips sealed until I told my parents when the time was right. In the last week I have taken the oath of allegiance and gave my maiden contribution in parliament. My phone has never been busier. I am really humbled by all the well wishes.”

Although it might seem like the young woman burst onto the political stage from nowhere, Kenewendo’s journey has included admirable work through Molaya Kgosi, a women leadership and mentorship programme which was inspired by the young African women leaders’ forum which was hosted by Michelle Obama in 2011.

The programme seeks to address intergenerational issues through mentors and mentees engagement.

The initiative was initially recognized and assisted financially by the American Embassy to which Bogolo says; gave it a push to materialize faster than had she not received help.

The programme brings together seasoned professionals and young learners to exchange ideas.

The rise and rise of Kenewendo
POWERHOUSE: Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon meets Kenewendo

The mentees then go on to share their experiences with others. Molaya Kgosi has been rolled out in schools and continues to be a valuable tool to learn from.

“Behind every county there are great women and I celebrate women. There are so many people I admire, Dr Gaositwe Chiepe is phenomenal. Everyone has a unique story to tell and they all inspire me. I am hoping and know for sure that through my work I will be meeting many more people to learn from,” says the warm spirited Kenewendo.

Before her appointment, she had had the pleasure of meeting President Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama, she reveals.

“I’ve had several interactions with His Excellency the President, both professionally and in more social spaces like at the Lady Ruth Khama family events.”

Away from work, Kenewendo enthusiastically says; “I spend my downtime working on Molaya Kgosi and other initiatives. I also love travelling; seeing and tasting the world. Exposure is good for the soul and I enjoy interacting with people from all walks of lives. This adds spice to life.” She quips!
5 things you don’t we know about Kanewendo

1. She went to 11 schools in 7 years of my primary education, finished STD 7 ko Phikwe Primary

2. Contrary to popular belief she went to government schools

3. When she’s out of out of the country she miss seswaa the most

4. She is freer and at peace at the cattlepost

5. Her favorite tourist spot is a tie between Meno a kwena in Boteti and anywhere in Kasane

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