Today on STARS REVEALED we sat down with a young upcoming Political Scientist. Born and raised in Serowe, a big village in Central Botswana. Bakang is currently living and studying in South-Korea.
We spoke to him about a wide range of issues, mainly his journey as a young person.
What are your achievements so far in terms of school and life in general.
Bakang: At the moment, I’m doing a one year Korean language program before I continue on to read for a Master’s degree in Political Science. Well, as for achievements, I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Botswana.
I’m also an Alumni of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). YALI is basically a platform to train the next generation of young leaders in different areas of entrepreneurship and professional development, civic and community leadership.
Under this program, I underwent training on civic leadership at the Regional leadership Center of Southern Africa in Pretoria, South Africa. The YALI Regional Leadership Center was sort of an extension of the Mandela Washington Fellowship under the YALI program.
Bakang is also an avid reader and collector of books. He writes and shares his thoughts on ongoing events in the social and political space. He believes this represents his contribution to society in terms of channeling political and social debates in the right direction.
He has written and published articles on several platforms including Botswana newspapers. Bakang is a blogger for Huffington Post South Africa. He has participated in the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Youth leadership training program.
Friedrich Ebert Foundation
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is a non-profit making, cultural institution working for the public interest. It’s objective is to strenghthen and develop ideas and basic values of social democracy _ (http://www.feslb.org/)
Before going to South Korea, he worked for USAID Botswana as a Research and Strategic Communications assistant, which was quite an enlightning experience at a time he was fresh out of university.
What strategies do you have that makes it easier to achiever your goals?
Bakang: I wouldn’t say I have a specific strategy or formula. I operate in a very straight-forward way which is nothing but a basic belief in dreaming and believing in my own ability to achieve what I’ve set my mind and heart to. I am your typical ‘dreamer’ who remains inspired and driven. I guess if you were to label it a strategy then one would say, I believe, focus and work.
What vision do you have for your community/ young people( both your country & the World)?
Bakang: I have a very optimistic view of my surroundings and this perhaps stems a lot from my career choice, which is quite a weird way to describe my philosopical orientation.
I’m heavily influenced by great thinkers such as Sir Seretse Kahama (The First President of the Republic of Botswana) and Thabo Mbeki (Former President of the Republic of South Africa).Therefore, my vision for my community and my country would echo a lot of their sentiments on pan-Africanism and unity for us as a people.
I envision a Botswana and a World that is very much in touch with it’s history (not in a manner of getting stuck on it) but in a way that makes it conscious and “woke” people. By this, I’m indirectly hinting the importance of understanding social development and democracy, getting off from behind our Twitter and Facebook veils and learning to initiate dialogues amongst ourselves.
You mentioned you’re an avid reader. Do you have any book recommendations? Why is it book(s) important for helping one stay motivated throughout the journey goal setting?
Bakang: Frankly, I’m not a big fan of self-help books. Lol! I read a lot of books on Africa and presidential leadership. I think if there’s one thing we can appreciate in life, it’s learning from men and women who have stood up to demonstrate leadership, people who speak, think and project the dreams and aspirations of their societies in reality.
That’s what part of leadership is about. It’s not about you the leader, it is about the ‘people’ and ‘purpose.’ So, if I were to make a recommendation I would say I read any books on Nelson Mandela, Sir Seretse Khama, Barack Obama, Sir Keitumile Masire, Justin Trudeau, Thabo Mbeki and any leader who has positively transformed the lives of people. My current favourite is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between The World and Me.
Who is your mentor and why do they inspire you as a young person?
Bakang: I have several mentors. Many have had a constant presence in my life and deserve credit for where I am today. I look upto a lot of people who have inspired me to grow up and be the best version of myself. One of those people is my wife, some are my university professors and people I have worked with.
Your favourite Motivational Quote( briefly explain why?)
Bakang: I have several, but if I were to choose it’d have to be from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ where he said “The pursuit of knowing was freedom to me, the right to declare your own curiosities and follow them through all manner of books. I was made for the library, not the classrom. The classroom was a jail for other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free! Slowly I was discovering myself.”
I find so much power in this quote. It isn’t necessarily your typical ‘motivational quote’ but it can move you either way. It inspires that urge to burst out of your ignorance and learn, read and discover more knowledge about yourself and your world.To me, that is the essence of living!
Thank you for your time Bakang! We wish you all the best in all your future endeavours. 👏