Name: Lieketseng Leokaoke

Age: 26

Life quote: “I am more than enough, far greater than too much, and far more phenomenal than my age suggests” -took this quote from Anele Nzimande, started following her in 2014 when she was a finalist on the show “One Day Leader.” The quote was derived from the meaning of her name ANELE- it spoke to me still.

What does it mean to be a woman (in this day and age) and what is the most important thing to you as a woman? Being a woman in this era is both daunting and wonderful. We live in a world that constantly seeks to threaten our peace, safety and really our state of mind. It means I walk around having to look over our shoulder every now and then. Constantly calling out those males that shove the patriarchal mentality and behaviour on us.

Some time back I had an argument with male colleagues over Khwezi. They questioned why it is important for us to make a big deal about her death and why everybody is bringing up her rape case-like it would change anything. My heart bleed that these guys are actually younger than me and still they possess such flawed views.

We live in a world in which males find they have the right to tell us how to react to issues that affect us. If I go into all of them I will cry. It is so draining I tell you.

It is not all gloom. It is still a better time to be a woman than ever The fact that we are able to have voices and speak out on social ills says a lot. We are constantly breaking barriers. Woman celebrate and support each other. I will say we’re FEARLESS!

What is self-hate to you? And have you been a victim of it? Have I been a victim? Many times… I have always looked younger than my age. I am a 26-year old who looks 21. Accepting myself has been a challenge. Most people would think it silly, that I should be happy I look younger. Unless you’ve been passed a job because you look young and “. …no one will take you seriously..” you won’t get it. The constant hallas from these young ones will get to you. When everyone even the ones younger than you are bo “ausi” and wena o “Keke” feela. Ha ke sa bua ka boyfriends. Lol. Even a bigger problem when you only like guys 4- 8 years older than you 🙄.

I worked extra hard to make sure people take me seriously. In conversations, I had to shine and make sure everyone knows I am more knowledgeable and mature than I look. Draining. But who cares now. I still love reading, and interested in the world around me but I am not about to work extra hard to be noticed and taken seriously. I am more than enough, far greater than too much…

It’s never just one thing neh? I grew up in the church and we all know how this story usually plays out. You’re taught a lot on how a girl or woman should be and when you’ve stepped over that line. You know moes… When you’ve lost all purity and you’re taught you to hate yourself because you’re such a terrible-terrible human being. Condemning. But lest you forget God loves you still. Now you go around thinking oh but I am so lucky God loves me though I am such a terrible-terrible human being. I am at a stage in my life when I am questioning a lot about the church and what it stands for. Who am I outside it. And I actually like myself better outside it. Don’t get it twisted I still for the Lord and still believe. I just don’t know about the church hy.. I understand grace and God’s love more outside it. Yes, I am saying the church made me hate myself. I am trying to work it out though…

Do you still have issues with self-esteem? And what helps you snap out of it? I do have self-esteem issues. Every now and then when I walk I remember my right foot is a bit skewed and I walk funny. Other times I look at my face and see the black marks. And and and .. These deter my spirit at times. I have created space for myself to be flawed and recognize I wouldn’t be human if I was perfect. Love comes with acceptance without reservations. I don’t always know this but when I remember it, it is okay.

When did you learn to start loving the woman you are? I started loving the woman I am at 25. Lol. And that was the year my life was an absolute mess but at the end of it….. how I dealt with all of it made me love myself. I never knew I could allow myself to BE!! I did not have a “good head on my shoulder” and ke sharp. 26 and still learning to accept myself completely.

What do you think has influenced your confidence? My faith (and not the church). I am a product of grace, love, and favour from God. ❤❤ In Him I move and have my being. My confidence is mostly influenced by my circle – I have the best friends in the world, we live in a no-judgement zone yet one with truth. They personify love.

What are your passions and inspirations? Inspirations: I can’t say. Lol. Not because ba tlo nloya 😂 Trust… it is a page only God and I speak about. But my inspirations are mostly tied to my passions.But passionate about God. People. Serving. Life in general. Succeeding. I am inspired by background. My family. Faith. Women. The state of my country… A lot really.

Do you have any fashion/beauty icons, if so who are they? My beauty icons; Mme Nomazamo Winnie Madikizela Mandela le (don’t judge me. I swear I have loved her since I was 12 she is so beautiful 😍😍). Fashion no one really. I just admire a few people and that is it. Does not go beyond that.

If you could meet your younger self, what would you say to her? My younger self… I won’t tell you to not make mistakes but if you do rather when you, don’t be too hard on yourself. Learn to forgive yourself. Celebrate your victories and achievements there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You are not boring.. Your definition of fun is what makes your heart content. You won’t regret that bit, trust me. Walk in your truth. And God is your truth. You are so beautiful young one. I love you.

If you had to tell one thing to every little girl in the world, what would it be? Little girls of the world… You are, ” more than enough, far greater than too much, and far more phenomenal than your age suggests”

Where can we find you on social media?

Facebook: Lieketseng Keke Leokaoke

Twitter: @IAmKeke_Leo

Instagram: Lieketseng

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