Botswana’s new president Mokgweetsi Masisi has sworn in his 18-member cabinet on Wednesday which includes the country’s youngest member of parliament Bogolo Joy Kenewendo.
The 30-year-old economist, media commentator and policy analyst first joined parliament in 2016 as a specially elected MP by former president Ian Khama, and she is now the Investment, Trade and Industry Minister.
Her appointment as a minister makes her the country’s youngest minister and one of few women to ever gain political leadership in the landlocked Southern African country.
This feat has generated a lot of reaction from many young Africans on social media who were not only admiring her good looks, but rethinking the choice of older political leaders in their countries.
One Twitter user EnviroMan from South Africa compared Bogolo to the women in his country’s cabinet who he described as Gogos – which means Grandmothers in the Xhosa language. “Get to SA and have a look at Gogos in the cabinet,” he tweeted under a post.
@mosa_BK Get to SA and have a look at Gogos in the cabinet ?
— EnviroMan (@EnviroMan5) April 5, 2018
Another commenter Mark Tazira tweeted: “NOT forgetting Zimbabwe. ZANU PF youth leader is 57 years old”.
NOT forgetting Zimbabwe. ZANU PF youth leader is 57 years old ????????? pic.twitter.com/HGG1ZtcFrB
— Mark Tazira (@michael17042012) April 5, 2018
Another Twitter user Sandile Zulu tweeted: “Progressive nation, the future in the hands of those who have a chance to see it…..RSA Parly on the other hand is a retirement village”. He also criticized South Africa’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa: “Khama retires at 65 and here a 66 year old has just taken over with the hope of staying for another 10 years….”
Progressive nation, the future in the hands of those who have a chance to see it…..RSA Parly on the other hand is a retirement village
— Sandile Zulu (@SandileRoc) April 5, 2018
Khama retires at 65 and here a 66 year old has just taken over with the hope of staying for another 10 years….
— Sandile Zulu (@SandileRoc) April 5, 2018
For Fabrice Nze-Bekale, “The minister is a woman. So what? The pic doesn’t say anything about her experience and whether she is fit for the job. Tell us more,” he demanded.
The minister is a woman. So what? The pic doesn’t say anything about her experience and whether she is fit for the job. Tell us more
— Fabrice Nze-Bekale (@fnzebekale) April 5, 2018
It is worth noting that Bogolo Joy Kenewendo holds an MSc in International Economics from the University of Sussex (UK) as a 2012 Chevening Scholar, a BA in Economics from the University of Botswana and she is a certified Project Management practitioner.
As one of two Botswana youth delegates to the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Bogolo was nominated to present a statement of African youth to the Secretary General of the United Nations.
She was also a women’s empowerment advocate as she and a friend formed the Molaya Kgosi Women Empowerment group following her Mandela Washington fellowship in 2011 which offered her the opportunity to meet former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama.
Bogolo Joy Kenewendo lived in Ghana after her Masters and worked as a trade economist in Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry after a previous employment as an economic consultant at Econsult Botswana. She has won several awards including the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) award by JCI Botswana in 2012.
After a disclosure of her background and experience, the tweets of admiration continued with criticism of Africa’s leadership which is saturated with elderly statesmen and women.
Here are reactions to the appointment of 30-year-old Bogolo Joy Kenewendo as minister.
Fellow African leaders please learn from Botswana ??
Don’t be putting ancestors like Mugabe to lead us
We need people with sharp minds, people who wanna prove a point, we tired of y’all stubborn heads
Give young people a chance and you’ll see everything running smooth
— #HearMyCry (EP) out 28 April???? (@ZamoeXbiss) April 5, 2018
@barbiliscious and in S. A we are stuck with retirees.
— Cassie (@MakhosazanaKha3) April 5, 2018
Fossils I tell you! Who are sleepists
— seventeen87WineMarketer (@hautness367) April 5, 2018
So young! It’ll never happen here in South Africa. Bo Bathabile le bo Nomvula Mkonyane bale kae?
— #JustGiveBackTheLandBro (@MphoMolepo_) April 5, 2018
And she is SINGLE, S.I.N.G.L.E
— kgotso olebogeng (@kgotsoolebogeng) April 5, 2018
In my country she will be struggling to become youth leader in her constituency. ? https://t.co/GxCJZGIEvf
— Tunde Smilez Toheeb (@mrtsmilez) April 5, 2018
Or welfare officer
— Esther (@HRM_estelle) April 5, 2018
Ms Bogolo should be my new investment destination, oops, I meant Botswana. ? pic.twitter.com/cj7NTxBld1
— Ask Malume ?????? (@AskMalume) April 5, 2018
princess of wakanda???
— The King’s son (@AyandaMabhena1) April 5, 2018
Nice young and fresh. Then mzansi will give you this pic.twitter.com/bRkyiF0iCA
— Gontsewalekhosi (@Gontsewalekhosi) April 5, 2018
While we stuck with a retirement village this side pic.twitter.com/FJuUWL8ycg
— Syd (@sydneyntantiso) April 5, 2018
Malawi’s 81-year-old Minister of Finance pic.twitter.com/u4eBBmjZTB
— Loui (@esther_msiska) April 5, 2018
and in south Africa we are stuck with this fossils who have reached menopause and can’t think straight pic.twitter.com/G6RfMy8DMX
— Lioness❤❤❤ (@MahlagoModiba) April 5, 2018
Botswana epitomises African progressiveness
— semkae (@Semkae) April 5, 2018
@Stev_veen in Nigeria she would be special adviser to the governor on social matters ???
— youngdumb (@thebossemmy) April 5, 2018
Men she is hot?? but we need more young people in government especially women. Kudos to her.
— ijeoma miriam (@ijeoma_miriam) April 5, 2018
— Daramola Folu Williams (@DaramolaFolu) April 5, 2018
This is the new bloood young people tht I wish the south African government would hire and make ministers not old people who don’t even know what they are doing
— kree (@Ms_kree) April 5, 2018
If she was in Zimbabwe there would have been weird men asking her silly questions like “are you married? ” ?
— Big Whale (@TadiwaMahachi) April 5, 2018
Minister? Hope to see young blood as Ministers in Namibia soon. ❤❤❤
— Ndalyata-Elao (@NdalyataElao) April 5, 2018
Thanks God she is not married
— Legacy 1807 (@1807Legacy) April 5, 2018