The Pink Ninja: Turning Pain into Power


  • Sexual harassment in the workplace is a culture that requires a sensitive but decisive approach to deal with


Narrating her past traumas of assault and sexual harassment, activist and media specialist Mimi Modimakwane has turned her pain into power by conceptualising the Pink Ninja.

The concept of the Pink Ninja came as a response to her personal outrage at the level of physical assault and violence that women in Botswana are subjected to that has also been widely captured in global reports.

The ‘Chief Ninja’ explained: “During the pandemic curfew two years ago, I was assaulted by a cab driver who wanted to drop me off in the middle of nowhere and not at my house.

Fined a P100

“I reported the incident to the police immediately and he was fined a P100. I lodged a complaint with the cab company and the time we met at the Kgotla for him to pay the fine the man was still working for the company.

“I was so hurt and angry that nobody cared as I was bruised and traumatised. That whole incident showed me that the value of a woman in our society is a P100.”

As if that was not enough, Modimakwane was assaulted again, this time by a man in a pub after she complained about the service.

According to her, the man came out of nowhere and slapped her across the face and the other men in the room looked on and did nothing while one said she deserved it.

“I complained and was fired”

“I was also fired at my job because the senior executives were sexually harassing me,” she told Time Out. “I complained and was fired.

“That is how Pink Ninja came about because sometimes our purpose comes from our anger. I am the type of person who believes that if I complain three times, I should start doing something about it.”

From a service perspective, Pink Ninja enlightens women in sexual harassment by teaching organisations what is acceptable and what is not in order for them to review their sexual harassment policies.

Online store

Modimakwane emphasised that unlike Section 38 (1) and (2) of the Public Service Act that defines sexual harassment and classifies it as unlawful misconduct, Botswana’s Employment Act does not have a clause that protects employees against sexual harassment.

“From a product perspective, we have an online store and retail safety devices such as pepper sprays, safety alarms and door locks for women,” she said.

“We also have a partnership with a self-defence organisation and primarily deal with corporates for team building and self-defence lessons for women. The aim is to inhibit the assailant and flee, not to fight.”

Sexual harassment in the workplace

She asserted that sexual harassment in the workplace, especially in the corporate sector, is a culture that requires a sensitive but decisive approach to deal with.

She is concerned that if the law is silent and fails to protect women, women may be compelled to prostitute themselves for promotion and progress.

Modimakwane said a recent Pink Ninja survey among young people revealed that they had already experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and in school.

Most do not report  

Eighty-seven percent of the audience were women while 17 percent were men. Of the 87 percent, 73 percent said they had been sexually harassed.

Sixty-seven percent did not report it because they did not think anybody would care and all of them had not reported it.

Some of the participants said they were unsure if what they experienced was sexual harassment while others were afraid for their jobs.


Seventeen percent had experienced harassment but were not sure what it was because they were oblivious of being sexually harassed.

“You are not alone” 

“We are now lobbying for legislative reform so that even in the absence of training and policy, employees can go somewhere under the law so that people don’t keep getting fired for reporting sexual harassment,” said the Chief Ninja.

“Nobody has to go through what I went through. I say to those who suffer: you are not alone. To the perpetrators, your time is up.”