DR GAOSITWE CHIEPE KNO, PH, PMS
First Female African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (1970-1974)
Cabinet Minister, Republic of Botswana (1974-1999)
Commander, Royal Order of Polar Star, King of Sweden (2006)
Grand Cordon, Order of the Rising Sun, Japan (2010)
Unit: Developing Leadership Identity
Topic: Ability to Motivate & Inspire
Dr Gaositwe Chiepe counts a number of firsts to her name. She was the first Motswana woman to earn a diploma and college degree, and the first Motswana woman to earn a postgraduate degree. At Botswana’s independence in 1966, Dr Chiepe became Botswana’s first director of education and was asked to design a system that would bring education to people across the nation based on a home-grown curriculum which was sensitive and fair for all the communities that make up Botswana. The country’s modern policies, which are designed to give all children access to basic education and to maximise enrolment levels, stem from the efforts made by Dr Chiepe and her colleagues during her years in the education portfolio. Today, Botswana boasts one of Africa’s highest literacy rates, and one of the continent’s highest progression rates from primary, to secondary and tertiary education.
In addition to her work in education, Dr Chiepe has also worked in other areas of politics and diplomatic relations, including periods as ambassador to West Germany, the United Kingdom and Nigeria. She is now, too, part of Dūcere’s Global Leaders Faculty.