Tribute to Beata Kasale

Tribute to Beata Kasale

Date: June 22, 2018
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My dear Sister

You are one year younger than me. When I heard the news of your passing, I asked: Why?  Why Beata?

Yes, you loved a good smoke, and I often joked that you should exercise more, but your Joie de vivre, love of life, would have been enough to keep anyone alive for many years, and that memory will fire us as we soldier on.

Like many good friendships, ours was born in controversy. The year was 2001: the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration on Media Freedom. A small but energetic group of gender and media activists braved it to a male dominated launch, to make our first pitch for gender equality in and through the media.

In our arsenal of arguments we had an article from the Voice newspaper: “have you had sex with this woman?” The woman was HIV positive. She had died. The editor, Beata Kasale, said it had been the woman’s wish that her case be publicised as a deterrent to unsafe sex in the early days of HIV and AIDS.

We asked if the opposite would ever happen – “have you had sex with this man?” Out of this argument grew a friendship. We won a crusader for our cause.  And, as one of the only woman media owners in Africa, indeed the world, what a powerful crusader you turned out to be!

In the years that followed, the Voice gave us space to run supplements, on HIV, violence against women, women in politics. I remember many a late night working on deadlines together, you doing your own design, cigarettes never far away! Each year without fail you helped us produce the “I” Stories in Botswana – the heart wrenching first- hand accounts of GBV that had a profound effect in putting this human rights abuse on the political agenda.

You became a facilitator for our Centres of Excellence for Gender in the Media in Botswana, coordinating all our research, cajoling your peers. Botswana has the distinction of being the only country in Southern Africa to have adopted a country-wide Policy on Gender in the Media subscribed to by all major media houses. That my sister, is your giant footprint!

Our last meeting was at the workshop of Women in Sports Botswana and the Botswana National Sports Council to craft a gender strategy for sports Botswana, in preparation for the International Women in Sports conference that Botswana hosted in May. You presented the findings of the Gender and Media Progress Study on sports. Botswana is again blazing the trail with this new strategy on gender and sports.

In our last monitoring, the Voice newspaper recorded 40% women sources, one of the highest in Southern Africa! We may have argued about the page three girl. But the one thing we always agreed on, and the stamp that you left on your newspaper, is giving women the space and latitude to speak out! Bua was your middle name!

Like all good leaders, in the last few years you stepped back to allow a younger generation to take over. I know how you loved your farm, your children and your grand- children. As the Gender Links family we extend our heartfelt condolences to your beloved family, and to your extended family at the Voice, and even bigger family, the readers of your popular newspaper.

The Lord gives, the Lord taketh away. Our only condolence at this moment is that you are at peace.

Robala ka kagisô Ausi

In profound sorrow,

Colleen Lowe Morna is the CEO, Gender Links. She writes on behalf of the Board and Staff of GL.

3 thoughts on “Tribute to Beata Kasale”

We all get puzzled…how it is so soon to Beata…she leaves footprint behind to every Gender activists at Southern Africa…RIP trailblazer….

Dear Beata

My sincere condolences to your family during this difficult time.

I only saw you once at the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) Conference at Gender Links in 2017,but you made a difference … it was hard not to notice you especially your strong personality as you commanded power and authority especially your confidence like you owned the world . You took interest to know me and we had a long chat in your room where you shared your exploits and what you had done to re position and institutionalize Gender Policies in Botswana media houses plus the work your media was doing through the voice and you gave me a copy. I was impressed by your passion and zeal for life,work and magazine.You shared your passion for Gender and what you were doing in your company a true business woman in all sense. You were so fired UP to make a difference and we agreed to work together and learn from your wisdom and knowledge.

You also shared your love for your farm and i was looking forward to visiting the farm. You also shared some women wisdom with me as a young married woman you were such a powerhouse and indeed i shall miss you my sister. Farewell to a great woman and general in the women movement. You will indeed be missed and thanks for leaving a great legacy and using your time and chance well through your resources and voice to make a difference.

In the words of Ecclesiastes 9:1I I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.

Tarisai says:

It is such a great loss. Our hearts will bleed forever. Thanks Madam Raziah for sharing your memories of you and our formidable sister.

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