The Mail & Guardian is synonymous with the kind of investigative and political journalism that holds the powerful to account, and exposes corruption.
It’s journalism like this that keeps a democracy alive and functioning. Unless we are alive to our problems and the complexities of our challenges as a society, we cannot grow.
But for a country to really fly it doesn’t just need accountability: it needs to celebrate.
Applauding our heroes and triumphs across the African continent is close to our hearts here at the Mail & Guardian. For the past ten years we have done so with our iconic 200 Young South Africans project, rounding up the best and the brightest in the country under the age of 35 across various sectors.
Bringing this sort of recognition to Botswana is a privilege and an honour for us.
It is no surprise that we easily found so many people to profile in this inaugural edition of the 50 Batswana Change Makers.
Botswana is rich in minerals, most famously its diamonds. But it is its people that tell the true story of a remarkable nation. The process of finding these 50 people proved to be the most inspiring part of this project, as the team scoured far-flung corners of the country, listening to communities put forward their own change makers and those they were proud of.
Paging through these profiles you will be struck by the number of young people who have started up their own NGOs, organisations and small business. This speaks to an admirable entrepreneurial spirit.
You will also find activists, community leaders and young professionals: all hard workers with a vision for themselves and their communities.
As Botswana celebrates 50 years of independence, it is both apt and poignant that it celebrates 50 of its finest. These are not the politicians, celebrities or the traditional power brokers in every society who usually grab headlines. They are the everyday heroes: the young men and women in your classroom, office and your families. They are the people, just like you, who are aiming for the stars, failing, getting up and trying again, and above all, constantly hoping and working for a better future. It is these people we salute.
Verashni Pillay is editor-in-chief at the Mail & Guardian