Written by Siliziwe Mapalala

There is nothing more exhilarating than seeing the queer community taking up space and being recognised for the impact we make. Botswana will be having its first LGBTQ+ awards, the Butterfly Rainbow Awards, to recognise the role of the LGBTQ+ in the community, in business and entertainment in Botswana. 

Karabo Mokqware, who is a founder of the Butterfly Rainbow Awards, was kind enough to talk to me about the awards and what we can expect. 

In Karabo’s words, the Butterfly Rainbow Awards are inspired by the beaming and beautiful LGBTQ+ community of Botswana. The community has transformed over the years, coming from being a closed out and vulnerable community to now being a community that is free in society and embraced openly without fear by society. 

Karabo being a seasoned member of the community that has also lived in a country like SA, that has traditions within the community, saw it necessary for Botswana to also create its own traditions. 

When asked who & what do the Butterfly Awards want to celebrate, Karabo mentioned that these awards are trying to build a legacy. 

‘I am building a legacy and a tradition that one day I hope for others to carry forth, and they too succeed in it. Botswana, unlike many African countries, has been fortunate.  Fortunate to be a country of peace, fortunate to have a government that has decided discrimination should not be embraced and that gender equality is more than just between men & women but it also includes various facets of sexual orientations. A lot of our most loved media personalities/celebrities are members of the LGBTQ+; the media, entertainment and arts industries are the ones that paved the way for us, they are the industries that opened doors for inclusion and engagement. Societies will always have their differences and some their difficulties in accepting us, however, our NGOs and human rights advocates continue to build strong ties for support and there is so much love all around. These guys are doing well and there is no better way to acknowledge, honour and celebrate them than to have these awards. Remember, these are just not focused on individuals,  but also organisations. Whether LGBTQ+ or not. As long as you are an advocate for human right & equality; serving our communities in awareness of sexual health, GBV, mental health and rights for sex workers.’ 

The Butterfly Rainbow Awards will have a number of categories aiming to recognise individuals and organisations. There are five honorary awards exclusively to members of the LGBTQ+. There are also ten other awards that will be open to votes. From the ten awards, three are exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community. Below are some of the categories which will be awarded on the night:

  • Lava Business Award 
  • Best Upcoming entertainer 
  • Social Butterfly of the year 
  • Some of the awards that are open to both LGBTQ + and none-LGBTQ+ include 
  • Media house of the year (which will take winning proceeds to its charity of choice)
  • Community champion (humanitarian) Award
  • Hunk of the year 

The awards will be held on 2 December 2022 in Gaborone.

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