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Keenese, the epitome of women in sport

Behind every successful sporting code there is a very strong and focused administrator. In fact for a code to flourish and bring good results there has to be a good leader who can guide the players and lead by example.

It is a fact that  a lot of sport coding codes in Botswana are still lacking behind in good governance, communication strategy and managing their finances and their failure to fully package their product makes it hard to solicit sponsorships.

One code in Botswana that has been doing very well is Chess.

One may attribute the good work that the code is doing to the hard work and commitment of Keenese Katisenge who is the Public Relations Director.
Katisenge is the face of chess and is a true testimony that leaders are born and not made, and she is what the doctor prescribed for chess.

But one might wonder as to who Keenese is and where she come from with Chess.

Born in 1985 in Maun, Katisenge did not shoot straight to the stardom, as she played chess  and made a lot of impact given that  she was a  bronze medallist in the 2005 Botswana International Chess Open ladies section.

In 2007 she won a bronze again in the Metropolitan ladies National Chess Championships finals.

Katisenge continued with her good performance as a player and won a bronze with Delta Pawns Chess Club at the 2008 National Development Bank Teams Championships, and in the same year she was part of the team that represented the University of Botswana at the Intervarsity Games held in Swaziland where they came first.

Her good performance at the club level, caught the eye of Botswana Chess Federation and in 2008 she was part of the Botswana ladies national chess team in 2008.

She then then retired from playing and tried her luck in administration, and currently she hold high position of Botswana Chess Federation public relations director, African Chess Confederation Women’s Commission Secretary, and Councillor for World Chess Federation Women in Chess Commission.

It is also worth noting that she was elected as Chess Clubs Secretary in 2009 while she was still a student at the University of Botswana, she then joined BCF executive committee in 2011 as an additional member, and in 2012 she was the assistant to the secretary general in the BCF executive committee.

In 2013 she was elected as the public relations director for Botswana Chess Federation in with the responsibility of enhancing chess image in Botswana through working with the media, sponsors, executive committee and the chess community, and since she assumed the position she introduced Checkmate, a BCF newsletter aimed at helping to educate the masses on chess.

She was then awarded an International Organiser title by FIDE (World Chess Federation) in 2014, a title that qualifies her to organise chess events of any magnitude anywhere in the world after successfully organising Maun International Open, Francistown International

Open and Botswana International Open with the assistance and guidance of BCF in 2014, events that attracted players from Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe  

A woman of substance indeed, in 2015 she represented Botswana and Africa at the 2015 United Nations Office for Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) Youth Leadership Programme’s International Sport and  Social Impact Summit in Florida, USA.

The summit brought together young leaders in an initiative to harness the power of sport as a catalyst for development and peace.

The participants were selected by United Nations through the assistance of other associations like International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG).

Katisenge said she was honoured as a Motswana, a female administrator to attend the highly esteemed summit.

The summit, she said has helped her to be more open minded to the impact that sport can bring in the society beyond competitive play.  

“I am now more inspired and motivated to use sport to bring positive social changes to my community through utilisation of social responsibility initiatives at my code as well as contribute to the attraction and retention of women and girls in sport in general, “she said.

However her journey to be where she is today was not rosy.

First her family was reluctant for her to play sport especially chess, but through persuasion they gave in and their support has helped her  to climb and overcome a lot of hurdles.

But then again one wonders how Katisenge survives in a male dominated field, she admitted that as woman in sport there are challenges but what matters is how to tackle them.

“As a mother, and sport administrator sometimes it is very difficult and work at the same time, but I must say my parents really support me.They are always there for me, and my employee Associated Fund Administrators Botswana I want to thank them for their relentless support,” she said.

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