Mmegi Online :: Michelle Obama shows Botho with magwinya and chips
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Last Updated
Friday 14 December 2018, 17:40 pm.
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Michelle Obama shows Botho with magwinya and chips

In familiar symbolism, Michelle Obama, the USA First Lady recently touched Batswana in true Setswana custom when she walked into a common take-away joint to taste magwinya and chips in Mochudi.
By Staff Writer Fri 14 Dec 2018, 22:30 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Michelle Obama shows Botho with magwinya and chips








Of course many Batswana would have wished that the lucky Mochudi restaurant could have served the USA first lady something more traditional, like Phane worms or Magwinya with Serobe - yes, a rich, juicy delicacy that is the cattle intestines!  

In Setswana custom, such a gesture is humbling to the community.  In Setswana culture and custom, an important person who doesn't shun food from the common people is highly respected for their display of magnanimity.  It simply says, "I'm part of you, I'm just like you, I'm one of you, I love you, I understand you".  A politician who is in the habit of practicing this level of magnanimity often wins elections because the common people see themselves in him or her.

Such a gesture leaves the ordinary person feeling so humbled, so proud of their customs, so proud of the community leader who sees the common person in the same light as them.

While this gesture by Michelle Obama may have left the people of Mochudi and Batswana in general elated that the First lady of America doesn't shun Batswana, the symbolism is being interpreted differently overseas, with some international media criticising the First Lady for poor hygiene.

The UK Daily Mail reckons that as an outspoken advocate of healthy eating, Obama should have shunned Magwinya and chips because they are too cheap and contain too much fat. 

The paper even said "perhaps Michelle Obama should have thought twice before posing enthusiastically for her latest photo opportunity in Botswana.

The First Lady, made a quick stop at a small restaurant in Mochudi on Saturday to sample some of the local fare - fat cakes and French fries."

"Video footage shows her smiling broadly as she made the stop with daughters Malia and Sasha. She is seen introducing herself to the locals who work in the restaurant before being given a take out box of the fast

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food.

Among the delicacies on offer were French fries, fat cakes and huge sausages. The First Lady bowed graciously as she accepted the gift before leaving."

Locals who were interviewed by Btv after this surprise gesture by Michelle could not believe the First Lady's magnanimity.  They were all lost for words, because they felt so honoured.

However, the international media does not like Obama's wife tasting street food evening America's.Whenever she is seen having a bite of the common American food, the media there reminds her of her " Let's Move! Campaign", her nationwide initiative that seeks to promote making healthy choices, improve food quality in schools, and increase access to healthy, affordable food across America.

They say sampling some of this food in public places only goes to show that Michelle Obama doesn't practice what she preaches.

Not in Botswana.  A true leader comes down to the people's level; visit them at their drinking holes, sits with them and talks politics with them as they share the calabash or packets of Chibuku.

In fact, a political leader who doesn't go to these places and interacts with the common man more, is sure to lose the support of the community come election time.

For Michelle Obama, however, the people of Mochudi will not only remember her as Mma Obama, they will forever think of her as a woman of amazing magnanimity.  Botho!

Perhaps the Obamas felt the need to come down to the level of the common people here to thank them for the warm welcome they received since the First Lady's entourage arrived here for their three-day visit.

The Obamas were given a personal welcome by a traditional dance troupe of 25 children when they landed in Botswana.

The elated performers, clad in traditional gear, greeted the First Lady with songs specially composed for her as they danced and clapped to the tune of 'Obama Ye-Le-Le'.

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