Who is Lebo?
This young woman is a powerhouse. Affectionately known as Lebo, or ‘Mrs Maps’ Lebogang Maruapula is on a journey that will see her name remembered for generations to come. Lebo was born in a village 30 Kms from Gaborone Botswana, where she was raised by her single mother and where she would begin to embrace her individuality as a young woman. Currently, Lebo is stationed in Juba, South Sudan working on communications and Advocacy for the UN Volunteers programme. Lebo is founder of the GODDESS Foundation which is an organization that seeks to empower the girl child and young women in Botswana and Africa through mentorship and promoting their rights to education.
I met Lebo during a leadership development programme in the USA. Besides the fact that she is a gorgeous human, what was striking about this young woman was her confidence and boldness. Lebo is not afraid to assert her vision, her opinions, her dreams. Our connection was instant, it was that “where have you been all my life” kind of connection, it still is.
In her own words:
Where is this young African Woman going?
I am definitely focused on developing a career in international development. When I was growing up I would always say that I want to work for the UN… and this was because I was attracted to the great humanitarian work that the organization does. I want to continue being a part of that story because serving is my purpose.
I have also developed a passion for creating great African brands and being an entrepreneur. The thought of creating a local brand that people identify with excites me and I’m a lover of quality beauty products – I’m actually a product junkie. This is what drove me to develop an organic product line- Lebopo. I look forward to sharing more about this soon.
What success looks like for this young African woman…
Everyone has a checklist of what they want to achieve in 5 years, in 10 years in a lifetime etc, I believe that success is not just when you have results to show, but when you have a journey to show. It is important to complete and finish what you started, it is also important to have experiences that build you and prepare you for when you have “arrived” –whenever that will be.
I attribute the success or work I have done to the great supporters I have had in women who have gone out of their way to help me, encourage me. That has been important to me.
Dear Woman in the Making…woman in search of a dream:
Surround yourself with Builders. We all need a good support system and when you have people rooting for you, it really is invaluable. Surround yourself with those people you know only want success and the best for you. Similarly, leave those who tear you down behind- those who make you feel bad about your looks, who attack your personality and have no real regard of the damage they might be doing because words have creative power and if you are not careful, you start believing what they say you are, even if you are not. I also believe that you have to extend yourself to others, go out of your way to be kind, helpful and loving…it comes back to you in ways that you won’t even expect.
This is what Generations will remember Lebo for, this is why Afrika must meet her:
I want to be remembered as a woman who Served. I want to touch people’s lives. I have seen so much suffering and being in South Sudan has only fueled my passion for humanitarian work. I want to be remembered as a woman who is fearless to achieve what she wants and does what she needs to do in order to achieve it. For me, hard work is a form of worship and I want to leave graceful footprints in Africa.
Lebo is touching lives. Through the work she does, through her vision for Afrika- she is no doubt going to leave graceful footprints on our continent. An inspiration to us all, we celebrate you, WOMAN!