Some 500 youths were sent for a boot-camp overseen by the BDF soldiers at the Pandamatenga barracks as part of entrepreneurship training. After the training the youth would be granted youth loans to start up their businesses, but those who returned on Friday have told The Monitor their BDF trainers openly referred to them as "stock", a word which has sexual undertones among Batswana.
The trainees also narrate how in the first two weeks the BDF instructors forced them to perform a sex dance they nicknamed "boogie boogie".
" Boogie boogie was performed by only the females; they (trainers) demonstrated using their hands how we were supposed to gyrate and wriggle our hips; to some of us it was a degrading act, but it went on for two weeks until a senior BDF officer visited the camp and asked us if there was anything untoward in the camp; we told him about the boogie boogie; the dance has since been stopped."
The interns also say before then the BDF trainers seemed to target certain girls for the dance. " Also it did not matter where you were, or what you were doing; whenever the officer saw you, he would just command you to do the boogie boogie."
The youth also claim that the soldiers slept with the interns. "Some interns were sleeping with the soldiers. The BDF camp was just nearby, separated by a tarred road; we had a name for the sneaking out into the BDF camps, we called it "jumping the belt". Girls were seen early in the morning coming from the other side of the tarred road, we knew they had jumped the belt."
The trainees also narrated how the boot-camp literally turned them into zombies.
"We were taught not to ask questions, not to complain, and operate like brainless, emotionless zombies; when any BDF soldiers shout any instruction, commanding you to do just anything, you were to do it, and do it immediately, even if it meant interrupting a meal."
The trainees say any show of decency was met with a punishment that could "see you standing in the scorching sun for hours" until you had learnt your lesson. Anyone who did not like the way the punishment was meted out was soon on the next truck back to Gaborone.
"You wouldn't dare complain; once there was a meeting and the BDF instructor asked how many didn't like our punishments? No one dared raise his or her hands, except one man from Palapye. He was sent back home the next day," narrated the trainees. .
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