Zenzele Hirschfeld finally bags Award

It’s been a long time coming,” says the promoter and women empowerment activist


Promoter Zenzele Hirschfeld’s 20 years of blood, sweat and tears in Botswana’s fledgling entertainment industry finally paid off with her latest recognition.

Hirschfeld emerged the best woman promoting Entertainment, Arts, culture and heritage at the country’s first Women’s Awards hosted in Gaborone.

“Firstly, winning this award means that behind every work that women do there is somebody who notices the impact, the contribution and the growth that we get to do,” the founder of Zen Promotions said in an interview.

“Most times people who work behind the scenes are rarely noticed. Artists get the recognition and this award to me shows that even though you are doing it from a different space and you think that nobody is noticing, there are people watching. It’s been a long time coming.”

As the most experienced female promoter with artist management experience in the country, Hirschfeld has also expanded her portfolio to women empowerment. In 2018 she established “Women of Works” after observing that women in the media and the creative space were not given sufficient platforms. She will host a concert with Women of Song Ensemble that features Nnunu Ramogotsi-Neill, Punah Gabasiane-Molale and Nono Siile in two weeks.

“We need laws that protect and govern certain things run for women in the creative space,” she told Time Out. “We need such laws enacted to protect us because 90 percent of events are male-dominated even in terms of lineup and services. We rarely see women being afforded the same opportunities.”

Hirschfield added that is not easy being a woman because have to work harder to prove themselves in the male-dominated field. She believes the Setswana adage “Ga di etelelwe pele ke manamagadi,” which loosely translates into “The female of the species is not to lead,” has also influenced the way people justify doing things across many industries, including the creative space.

“It is something we grew up hearing,” she noted. “If you try to stand up as a woman, the men always feel you should not because the society that raises us believes that men are born better.

“Dear a rising Zenzele, never give up on yourself if you have your eyes set on a vision or a dream no matter how long it takes because it takes years for people to recognise. I pray that the generation of now, the older generation will get to prepare for them by advocating for policies to change so that our future Zenzeles are protected and guided.”
Hirschfield started working in the arts and entertainment space in 1998 but professionally since 2001 after registering Zen Promotions. She believes she didn’t choose the profession but found herself working in the creative space.

“It’s always been a calling because when I was in secondary school, I was chosen to be a prefect of arts,” she said in an interview. “In junior secondary school I was always this individual who always contributed to bringing shows together.”