Mma Tshireletso’s iconic fashion statements will be missed

Her exit from Parliament and politics will worsen Botswana’s stakes in gender parity


Apart from being a reputable spokesperson for the poor and the rights of women, the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development in the outgoing government, Botlhogile Tshireletso, perfected the art of power dressing.

Mma Tshireletso, as she is affectionately called, exited active politics this year when closure of the 11th Parliament marked the end of her 41-year long political career. During her time she landed the title of a true style icon every time she stepped in and out of Parliament. She is a sight that most Batswana will miss as her political career comes to an end.

Unlike many political figures who cultivate a style with neat boundaries to create a consistent public image, Mma Tshireletso has a vested interest in fashion and is an expert at combining the contemporary look with her own timeless elegance. The former MP for Mahalapye East fascinates many with her eclectic, often bright choice of clothes that ensures she always stands out from the crowd. From her fascinator signature headgears and poised African and German print suites, she always turned heads in and out of the National Assembly. She also has a notable passion for accessories, adding pearl necklaces, chunky neck pieces that match her earings and bangles, finishing off the look with fabulous and extravagant hats. Adored for her beauty and class, Mma Tshireletso set trends without trying and never put out a fashion foot wrong in all her engagements.

“I like to finish off my look with a hat,” she previously told a local publication. “I have a collection of hats comprising different sophisticated designs. My next best accessory is a handbag and kitten-heeled shoes that give me confidence and a well groomed look. I have loved fashion since I was young and my clothes are designer labels and locally sourced,”

Having made her political debut in 1978, Tshireletso was one of only a few women in Cabinet, hence her retirement will worsen Botswana’s standing in women representation in the National Assembly. She leaves an endless imprint on Botswana politics and society in general. At the age of 65, grand-parenting, penning an autobiography, creating more fashion looks and doing voluntary work are activities that will keep Tshireletso on her toes as she opens a new chapter in life.