Tag Archives: Gender affairs

Keeping our girls in school!

18 Jan

 I have been working within the activism space for over a decade now. I started with www.powa.co.za; I did an intensive three month training course, understanding what abuse is, the myths and misconceptions surrounding abuse, court preparation and what our rights are. On completion the course, I started working as training and public awareness volunteer, later I became a member of the board and soon I sat as vice-chairperson for a few years. I began my activist career with POWA as I came to the realisation that I had not truly healed from an abusive relationship. The relationship happened when I was at university and nine years after the incident, I still blamed myself. It was at the point of my life that I knew that although I had some of the best private school education, I was still uneducated. With my training at POWA, I used my public status to talk about my abusive partner, thus bringing healing to myself but I wanted to create awareness around the myths and misconceptions of abuse and let women know that they are not alone and more importantly, push the truth that if it is happening to you, then IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

Over the years I have worked with many women and children’s organisations and I have helped promote various campaigns, including working with the V-day foundation, founded by the award winning playwright Eve Ensler, who wrote the award winning book: The Vagina Monologues. I have worked in many disadvantaged communities across Africa, where the main focus has been on education, empowerment and knowing what your rights are. As those messages are incredibly important, there is an important factor that many of us have overlooked when it comes to women empowerment and girl power. That is acknowledging the stigmas that are attached to menstrual health and the reality of how it affects many lives. This includes the fact that due to various living conditions of living below the poverty line, many women and girls cannot afford the necessary tampons/pads nor do they have access to constant running water and washing materials.

 After researching through various websites and organisations, I soon discovered that approximately 50% of the female population is of reproductive age and most of them are menstruating every month. The majority of these ladies have no access to clean and safe sanitary products, or to a clean and private space in which to change menstrual cloths or pads and to wash. In many communities, menstruation is supposed to be invisible and silent, and sometimes, menstruating women and girls are supposed to be invisible and silent, too. Millions of girls and women are subject to restrictions in their daily lives simply because they are menstruating. Besides the health problems due to poor hygiene during menstruation, the lack or unaffordability of facilities and appropriate sanitary products may push menstruating girls temporarily or sometimes permanently out of school, having a negative impact on their right to education. This is a serious problem.

 I then began to research other alternatives to sanitary pads and tampons, as they are incredibly expensive.

 According to http://www.africa.com, Stuart Lewis wrote:

“In her lifetime, the average woman uses 11 000 tampons, or 22 sanitary products (pads or tampons per period). In South Africa with the average tampon costing about R1.50 each (yes, that means R33 a period, or R16 500 in her lifetime) and a pack of 10 sanitary pads costing R18 (which translates to about R36 a period, or R19 800 in her lifetime). This means that having a period is an expense that many cannot afford. Most South Africans still live below the poverty line, which means that they must use alternative means of stemming the flow. These include using towelling or material which is rewashed. However, in some cases this too is unaffordable.”

 As there are many communities across the continent where people live below the poverty line, the situation is the same if not worse, as many communities across Africa do not practice gender equality and the challenges for girls and women are much higher.

 According to Africacheck.org:

Since 2014, various people have claimed that 7 million girls in South Africa are missing school every month because they don’t have access to or money for sanitary products.

 A UNESCO report estimates that one in ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle. By some estimates, this equals as much as twenty percent of a given school year.

 So what is the solution to this problem? How can we ensure that girls do not have to miss school due to their menstruation cycles?


  1. We need to break the stigmas and misconceptions that surround menstrual cycles.
  • According to University of Melbourne research fellow Dr Carla Pascoe is that money can still be made from promising women a more effective way to conceal their period.
  • In some societies, menstruation is perceived as unclean or embarrassing, extending even to the mention of menstruation both in public (in the media and advertising) and in private (amongst the friends, in the household, and with men). Many traditional religions consider menstruation as ritually unclean. 


We need to create platforms and educate young ladies, that menstruation a part of womanhood.


  1. Finding a cost effective, hygienic product, that will allow them continue with their lives as normal.


I came across the PrincessD Menstrual cup.



The PrincessD Menstrual cup is a reusable, eco-friendly, cost-effective menstrual cup made of the highest quality medical grade silicone. It is available in 2 sizes (small and large).

The menstrual cup is the ideal, sustainable solution for girls in disadvantaged areas in the world.


How does it work?


  • It comes in two sizes.


– SMALL (20ml)

For girls and women under 30 years old.

Suitable for a light flow.


– LARGE (25ml)

For women over 30 years old.

Suitable for a heavy flow.

 Why is the PrincessD menstrual cup so amazing?

  • It offers up to 12 hours of leak-free protection.
  • The cup is ultra soft and made from hypo-allergenic, non-absorbent medical grade silicone.
  • It is biocompatible and approved by the FDA.
  • It contains no bleach, deodorant or absorbing gels.
  • It is eco-friendly and does not contribute to deforestation.
  • It is easy to insert and remove.
  • It collects and does not absorb.
  • Depending on the flow it can be used for up to 12 hours as a time.
  • Suitable for use during any sports and sleep
  • It is reusable for up to five years.
  • Washing it requires hot water. This is ideal for communities who have limited access to water. After wearing the cup for a full day, it can be removed, rinsed under hot water and reinserted.
  • It is the greener alternative to disposable tampons and pads.


I have decided to partner with this revolutionary product after using the cup for three of my periods. I found it incredibly cost-effective and comfortable.

I will be pushing the brand across the continent and I am looking for Pan African partners.

We need to keep our girls in school.

If you are a corporate company or government or simply an individual who wishes to buy this product or help promote it across Africa, please do contact us. 





The Botswana incident is now behind me.

1 May


This morning as I woke up from a deep and beautiful sleep, I can only but feel the relief and enjoyment of being able to exhale. Last year I was injured during an unfortunate incident that occurred in Botswana where I was punched in the face, which lead to nasal surgery. The incident took place at The Lansmore, Masa square hotel where a fight broke out and I was punched in the face accidentally. The punch was not aimed at me but at David Baitse, who was standing next to me.The events that occurred after, took me through an emotional and psychological roller coaster and I’m happy to say, the matter has been resolved.

 After making an additional trip to Botswana and making copious amounts of phone calls to Botswana police, trying to find out the status of my case and not getting anywhere, Bissau finally called me.

It was last Monday afternoon and he called to apologise for what had occurred in December. To be honest I did not take him serious and he suggested that we meet, so he could make an appropriate apology and that he should take responsibility for his actions. A mediation meeting was set up for 30 April 2014, at my lawyer’s office in Gaborone, Botswana. He was accompanied by is lawyer.

Our meeting was an amicable one, where he acknowledged his wrongdoing and apologised for not acting in the appropriate manner. He also agreed to take care of my medical costs that I incurred from the surgery, hospital and post doctor visits.

The week after the incident happened, Tata Madiba had passed away. On the Sunday after his death was a day of reflection for the world, I lay in bed watching documentaries and tribute pouring in for this phenomenal man. Madiba left us with an amazing legacy and taught us all so many things and forgiveness being the most important and difficult. It was that day I decided I would need to find forgiveness in my heart for Bissau. I prayed and processed my pain, both physically and emotionally. My December holiday i did a lot of resting, crying, praying wondering why this had happened but more importantly focusing on finding that inner peace again.

South Africans must recall the terrible past so that we can deal with it, forgiving where forgiveness is necessary but never forgetting: Nelson Mandela.


So when the apology came through, the past five months of my challenges, struggling and dealing were finally coming to end. He made a comment, that the incident created a lot of attention on him where he should have supplied empathy and support to me. This is common in many assault and abuse cases. I thank him for acknowledging that.


From every negative situation, one can derive positivity and he suggested that this matter is no different. He has agreed that, in the future he will be working with various women’s organisations. NGO’s across the globe struggle with financial support and creating awareness, he has agreed that he will create synergies with NGOs to see where he could assist with their needs.

Since I had received a lot of support from Gender affairs and Emang Basadi in Botswana, perhaps he could lend assistance there as well as the Kagisano Society women’s shelter.


As I asked for assistance from my government via twitter, the incident went viral and I received messages, comments, and retweets etc form across the globe. My host Berry Heart received many calls from around the world, offering their assistance and support and checking if I was safe and alright, she received calls from women in the entertainment industry such as Connie Ferguson and Kuli Roberts and this sparked an idea. Women have had a history of not supporting each other but this was different, she saw how we collectively we can do so much more. We then had dialogue with other women in the arts and we have now formed a synergy titled: Women in arts. WIA is made up of women in the arts space, whether it is singing, poetry, acting, dancing etc. We aim to use our craft and skills to create awareness and create a better and harmonious environment and more importantly we intend to be the voice for so many voiceless women. We need to create dialogue in areas where women have never been allowed to express their feelings, we want to address issues that governments should take further and create change. We want to give inspiration to girls and women and prompt them to live their best lives possible.


The social network attention also created a lot of negative and skeptic comments. One message that came through that really hit home for me was from a woman who tweeted; ‘Women are beaten up everyday, why is it a big thing because it happened to Rosie Motene’. For many days I thought about this and realised that the statement was hurtful but very true. Women are being beaten ever day, in fact every second, why is there only selective noise? This made me realise that we still have a long way to go and that the problem of abuse worldwide needs greater attention.


As I move on and rise like a phoenix from the ashes, I’m grateful and give thanks to many people, including:

The team from Proudly SA

Mr. Clayson Monyela, South Africa’s head of Public Diplomacy.

Mr. Maurizio Mariano.

Ms. Corra Skenjana (Admin Attache) and Ms Mauku (Home Affairs) both of the SA High Commission in Gaborone who attended to the matter on the morning of the incident, they insisted that the police take my statement and transported me to the airport for my emergency flight home.

The department of women, children and people living with disabilities, with he National Council Against Gender-based Violence for connecting me to Interpol.

The SA high commission to Botswana.

Mrs. Wendy Griffiths who assisted with my emergency response.

The V-day team: Cecile Lipworth, Barbara Mhangami and Gina Shmukler.

Lebo and Simba who tried to get the police to attend to the matter and for taking care of collecting my belongings from my hotel and meeting me at the airport before my departure.

Nicole and Sheldon Artman for taking care of me the week of my surgery.

Mbali Kgosidintsi and her family, for offering their assistance on the ground.

Mme. Setswaelo

Emang Basadi

Gender affairs.

Hlomla Dandala for alerting Phat Joe and Pearl Thusi and METROFM for allowing them to broadcast my plea on air.

The RGB team.

The Barbuzano’s

The Ferguson’s

Akin Omotoso and Katarina Hedren.

To all my friends and family, thank you for your support, prayers and love.

My legal team at Radipati and co.

If I have left anyone out, please now that your love is appreciated.

 To my powerful, soul sister Berry Heart. Your strength and love is astounding. I know you endured a lot during that time and I thank you for standing your ground. I thank you for your honesty and bravery.

And finally I thank Bissau for standing up like a man and taking responsibility.


Aluta Continua.


For more information on Women In Arts: WIA, on what we plan to achieve and how you can assist, please contact

Rosie Motene; Rosie@rosiemotene.biz

Berry heart: Berryheart@googlemail.com


Women’s organisations in South Africa and Botswana.

POWA: www.powa.co.za

Department of women, children and people living with disabilities: www.dwcpd.gov.za

Emang Basadi: www.emagbasadi.org.bw

Gender affairs: www.gov.bw


Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 1928
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.