Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile

Kat Kai Kol-Kes

Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile (born January 1988, also known as Kat Kai Kol-Kes) is a performance artist, musician, writer and LGBT activist from Botswana. She is known for being the first public figure from the country to openly identify as a transgender person. She is also the first person from Botswana to be named a TED Fellow.


Kolanyane-Kesupile was born in January 1988 in Francistown.[1][2] She is the first transgender person to come out openly in Botswana, which she did in 2013.[3][4][5] Kolanyane-Kesupile attended Clifton Primary School.[2] She went to a boarding school in Durban when she was eighteen.[5] Kolanyane-Kesupile received a bachelor's degree in theater from the University of the Witwatersrand and earned a masters degree in Human Rights, Culture and Social Justice from Goldsmiths, University of London.[6][3] She became a Chevening Scholar in 2016.[3]

Kolanyane-Kesupile is the founder of the Queer Shorts Showcase Festival, which is the first and only LGBT themed theater festival in Botswana.[7][8] She has written for Peolwane Magazine, The Kalahari Review, The Washington Blade and AfroPUNK.com.[9] Kolanyane-Kesupile also plays with a band, Chasing Jakyb.[10] She writes songs for the group in both English and Setswana.[10] The group released an album, Bongo Country, in 2015.[11]

Kolanyane-Kesupile was a 2013/2014 Best of Botswana honoree in the Performing Arts category.[9] She was named a Highly Commended Runner Up for the 2015 Queen's Young Leaders Awards.[12] She was named a TED Global Fellow in 2017 and was the first Motswana to earn this distinction.[13][14] In 2018, she was featured in the OkayAfrica 100 Women list.[14]


  1. ^ "Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile". Okay Africa's 100 Women. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  2. ^ a b Kol-Kes, Kat Kai (2017-02-10). "What it feels like to become 'Botswana's first openly Trans* identifying public figure'". TRUE Africa. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  3. ^ a b c McAllister, John (2017-06-30). "Kat's Nine Lives: Performing Trans Identity/ies in Botswana". Kalahari Review. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  4. ^ Mnthali, Luso (29 July 2016). "Being Kat Kai Kol-Kes: A Motswana Trans* Woman's Art and Activism". AfriPop!. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  5. ^ a b Kol-Kes, Kat Kai (2017-02-17). "Being trans* is becoming a black woman of complications". TRUE Africa. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  6. ^ "How one Chevening Alumna is bring queer pride to her village". Chevening. 7 July 2018. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  7. ^ Busari, Stephanie (20 October 2017). "The women risking their lives to fight homophobia in Africa". CNN. Video by Ed Kiernan. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  8. ^ Lavers, Michael K. (2016-01-21). "Former Botswana president speaks in support of LGBT rights". Washington Blade. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  9. ^ a b "Queer Literature and Culture: A dialogue with Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile". Africa in Dialogue. 2016-11-13. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  10. ^ a b "NEW MUSIC: Kat Kai Kol-Kes, the transgender artist from Botswana, brings rain to the dancefloor with 'My Body"". AFROPUNK. 2014-09-17. Archived from the original on 16 July 2018. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  11. ^ Mahlinza, Luyanda (2015-07-08). "Ever heard of Post-pop Folk?". Cue Online. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  12. ^ "Motswana ARTivist Recognised In 2015 Queen's Young Leaders Awards - Mining & Travel". Mining & Travel. 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  13. ^ "Botswana's first publicly open transgender among 10 African trailblazers on the TEDGlobal 2017 list". YourBotswana. Archived from the original on 7 September 2017. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  14. ^ a b "Kolanyane-Kesupile Honoured on Global Influencer List". Pristine Mag. 7 March 2018. Archived from the original on 16 July 2018. Retrieved 2018-07-16.

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