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The Founders

#itsourlegacy #skmf #masirelegacy



Sir Ketumile Masire

Teacher, Journalist, Farmer, Politician, International diplomat & Elder statesman

Sir Ketumile Masire was Botswana’s second President, serving 18 years from 1980-1998. Prior to this, he was a leading figure in the independence movement and then the new government, and played a crucial role in facilitating and protecting Botswana’s steady financial growth and development.

Having trained as a teacher, Ketumile Masire took up farming in 1956 and journalism in 1958, becoming the editor of the Botswana Democratic Party Newspaper “Therisanyo” in 1962. In 1966 he became a Member of Parliament and later Vice President and Minister of Finance and Development Planning.

In 1980 he succeeded the late Sir Seretse Khama as the second President of the Republic of Botswana, and in 1984 won the Presidential elections under the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. As President, Sir Ketumile Masire was responsible for the introduction of comprehensive social service programmes which significantly improved Botswana’s education, communications and health indicators. Sir Ketumile Masire’s government was able to increase nutrition levels in the country during the 1980s, despite Botswana experiencing a severe drought. During his tenure of office, he was Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Co-Chairperson of the Global Coalition for Africa. He also became the first Vice-Chairman of the Organization of African Unity in 1991.

In retirement, Sir Ketumile Masire remained active as an elder statesmen and intervened in diplomatic initiatives in a number of African countries, including Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Lesotho among others. In 2007, he established the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation which exists to promote peace and good governance, innovation and alternatives in agriculture, and children’s welfare.

Famed for his witty and wicked sense of humour, many will forever remember him for his charisma, effortless charm, gift of the gab and his rumbling belly laugh. Under his regime, Botswana and its people thrived, earning the country the description of the “shining example of democracy in Africa.”

Lady Olebile Masire

Teacher, Former First Lady, Community Builder & Philanthropist

Lady Olebile Masire was born in 1932 in the village of Modimola, Mafikeng. She was the daughter of Mr. Fenkwane Mogwera and Mrs. Mabu Mogwera, who were both educated professionals, her father being a police constable and mother a qualified teacher.

From her maternal side she belonged to the Kgosi Andrew Tawana-a-Tshidi mina tholo royal family. As one of a family of three daughters she used to go to the lands at Disaneng, where she would milk and look after the cattle. She also learned to ride and take care of horses from her father.

After graduating from Tiger Kloof, she followed in her mother footsteps becoming a teacher for many years at Mafikeng and later Kanye. She was married to Sir Ketumile Masire on the 2nd of January 1958.

Interesting Facts

  • Longest serving First Lady of Botswana
  • Her mother was born in the royal family of Mr Andrew Tawana-a-Tshidi-a-Mmina Tholo.
  • Dedicated herself to the cause of the youth, the unemployed, and illiterate women.
  • Humble, hardworking, compassionate, friendly and mother of the nation.
  • Had six children of her own BUT was mother to all, especially disadvantaged and marginalised children, youth and women
  • Had a place for everybody regardless of their origin, class, or gender.
  • Patron of Special Olympics Botswana since 1989
  • Passed away in May 2013 – Her passing away is a great loss to the nation and Government of Botswana. Though it’s a great loss, we are comforted that she was a great MOTHER OF THE NATION.