The general standard of living is low and the status quo remains unchallenged. It’s either you adapt and ‘drown’ in the routine mundane mediocre existence or create opportunities for yourself. Unfortunately there are few opportunities because of the small population, ‘growing’ economy and low spending power.
There is also a very thick line between the haves and have-nots, the well-known people and the ‘nobodies’. There are cliques/circles and if you don’t know or are a part of these circles some things become difficult to achieve. There is a lot of corruption in Botswana. In an ideal world, people progress through their hard work, but in real life there are people who gain favours from friends, relatives, sleep with somebody, bribe etc to get ahead, even if they aren’t capable. How many people do you know sitting in a job and you think, ‘This person is too incompetent!’
While there are many young people entering the workforce, a great number of youth remain unemployed and struggle to find a job or sustainable income. Some end up in jobs they don't like and wind up miserable. The influx of graduates and non-existent work opportunities frustrates many people. Many jobs in Botswana demand five years plus experience. Where do youth get the experience when no one is willing to offer them jobs or invest in them? Young people are often urged to ‘volunteer’. Show me someone who doesn’t want money. It’s good to help people, but you pull a ‘Mother Theresa’ then what? The current economic situation is tough, there’s nothing for free.
Many incompetent people are sitting in government offices while many able young people roam the streets. Some of them spend their time chatting on the phone, drinking tea and hurry for lunch where they gorge themselves on lethargy-inducing meals of starch, oily salads and gorgy meat served under trees. Is it any wonder that people always complain about service delivery; I wouldn’t expect anyone to be productive on a full stomach!
Workplaces are not without their dramas because everyone wants to get ahead and will stop at nothing to sabotage or step on anyone who pose a threat. Young people now compete with old people. The older people are intimidated because young people have more knowledge, skills, ideas and are more educated. However, both are important in that older people have experience, wisdom and practical knowledge.
In the same breath, most old people would do well to retire, to create space for younger people. The problem with many Batswana is that they don’t plan their lives. Someone can sit for twenty years in the same job! Others do not save or plan their retirement and that is why ba ganella mo ditirong. Old people in Africa should embrace retirement or consider being consultants, they would make money and still remain in the work force. They should also mentor youth and share knowledge or open businesses to create employment. Some older people say things like, ‘What do young people want with money?’ The same things as everyone; pay the bills and have a little bit extra for a holiday or an expensive bottle of cognac Bottom line, we wanna get paid because we ‘all want to eat’.
On the flipside, some youth lack initiative, vision and confidence. Some young people have simplistic ambitions, or are unrealistic. What are the chances of being a 'celebrity superstar' in Botswana or driving a Larmboghini at age 25 except if you come from a wealthy family? There is also the expectation that going to school automatically equals getting employed. Some young people are too fast, they want to achieve in two years what takes six years to achieve. The greatest challenge I have observed is fear; fear of rejection and failure. Fear is akin to self-slavery.
People succeed through their own efforts and initiative. There are some people who are jealous (lefufa) because others succeed: in life you reap what you sow. Forget the hustler rubbish; learn, read, go to school and make things happen, even though with some things it’s a matter of luck. It’s a hard knock life: the ‘rat race’. Its either we sit and play the blame game or take action. You are your biggest asset or enemy. No one can stand in your way if you are a smart worker, committed, initiative and persistent. Modimo o phala baloi, mme gape Modimo o thusa yo o ithusang.