R.I.P Beata Kasale

Beata’s first love was writing. During her high school years she enjoyed carefully scribbling love sprinkled letters of endearment to her friends. She also enjoyed composing verse and explored the touching beauty of poetry. After she succumbed to diabetes on June 18 2018, many will remember her as a woman who bestrode Africa’s media like a colossus.

Beata Kasale co-founded and owned The Voice for 25 years to date. The idea of The Voice, now the largest circulating private newspaper in Botswana, is a seed that was perhaps sown much earlier in Beata’s mind. The first newsletter she ever encountered in Mochudi, her village, was Lentswe/Dikgang Tsa Mochudi. Lentswe is the Tswana word for voice.

Lentse/Dikgang Tsa Mochudu, which had the likes of Sophonia Poonyane among its first reporters, has made its own important contribution to print media in Botswana.

Beata started The Voice in 1993 with business partner Donald Moore when she bought half of what was then the Francistowner Extra. She has steered the publication through numerous changes in the African media landscape.

The Voice was the first Botswana newspaper to print in full colour. It has also earned much respect, this includes recognition as recipients of the Sol Plaatje Leadership and Excellence Award in 2008 for bold reporting on HIV and Aids.

Her journey into becoming one of African journalism’s respected leaders is an inspiring tale of its own. Beata started out at a receptionist in De Beers Botswana’s loss control department and later assumed a public relations role. In the 10 years she spent there she kept writing stories, albeit under a pseudonym.

Her early forays into publishing are a period she has described as rather challenging in her life. It was a time when she went into the world as an ambitious young woman who had many doors shut to her face. It is here that she learnt the indispensable trait of being assertive, later earning the reverence of other African media’s leading voices.

In her own words she described herself as a visionary leader. This is something that has come with time. This has been the greatest transformation in her life as a leader. She started out as someone with a cautious approach who wanted to have a hand in every single operation.

"Her own story from secretary to publisher is inspiring but she never sang her own praises. Instead, she was constantly building her up her staff and others in the Botswana and regional media. She will be missed." - Paula Fray, frayintermedia MD

In the end Beata had an appreciation of the power waiting to be unleashed when organisations are armed with a creative, challenging but also empowering vision.

Beata’s greatest impact to Africa’s media is in how she has brought others along in her quest for lifelong learning. Hers was a very successful attempt of continuously embracing innovation and seeking best practices to increase the presence of women leadership in news.

Beata’s passing comes after 8 years of a sterling contribution to the empowerment of women in the media sector through the Women In News (WIN) initiative. As founding member of WIN and through her roles, first as advisor and recently as part of the steering committee, she has impacted the development of women leaders in the media.

Her fingerprints can be be seen on many empowering initiatives in sub-Saharan countries like Botswana, Senegal, Namibia and Zambia.

Beata is survived by her husband and four children. Through many her personal interventions she leaves journalism in Africa at much better place that it was when she first encountered it.

Most importantly, she leaves her 2001 children’s book, Treasure in The Garden, a long lasting legacy for the children of her village in Mochudu.

Beata leaves a footpath of inspired determination for the steady stream of youth entering the exciting world of publishing, communications and media in the continent.

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