Mr Laone Joel Segaetsho was a colossus of a man, physically and in deed. As an easy goer and networker, I interacted with him on many fronts and it is difficult to write some and leave some out. We were all activists, but also met on business and family matters. Interestingly, Laone liked swimming, as he would not miss the opportunity of plunging into the swimming pool.
In 1995, I organised an interview with Ms Montlenyane Baaitse of Radio Botswana’s (RB 1) Masa-a-sele programme. As secondary school teachers in Sefhare, we were forming a secondary school teachers’ organisation. RB 1 then had characteristics of a public broadcaster and allowed the interview. Thousands of teachers were apparently listening to the radio as I and a colleague, Mbanga Mbanga, were planning to form a teacher association.
That interview led to what is BOSETU today, having metamorphosed from Botswana Federation of Secondary School Teachers association (BOFESETE), which had then. Then, it was difficult to publicise the activities of BOFESETE to the teachers and the nation at large for them to know that there was a teacher organisation. Radio was the answer.
There were no private radio stations and no mobile phones until around 1998 when Gabz fm complimented RB1 quite well by giving us radio interviews too. It was during Segaetsho’s days at RB 1 that BOFESETE grew in leaps and bounds, attracting thousands of new members through the morning show of Masa-a-sele.
As a teacher and BOSETU Publicity Secretary then, I was welcome to propose debate topics to Segaetsho and his other afternoon show team mate, Squandor Baitshepi, of Live Line show. Together with their management team, they gave BOFESETE unlimited airtime.
The organisation was at times unable to form a quorum at national conferences and the radio rescued the situation. By the time autocrats in government blacklisted BOSETU from being covered by Botswana Television, Botswana Daily News and Radio Botswana, BOSETU had already grown in leaps and bounds and did not miss the state media.
The private radio and
BOSETU launched a spirited publicity campaign against the transportation of students by open trucks, and as a result, government bought buses to solve this problem. Segaetsho also allowed us to condemn the way parallel progression was structured; re-introduction of school fees, double shift, scarce skills, working and living conditions of teachers, etc. Segaetsho and company would even cover the always successful peaceful demonstrations before such demonstrations were outlawed by the government.
While at Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) as Chairperson, Segaetsho would not hesitate to informally remind BOSETU to renew its membership. He is one of those people who contributed immensely to BOSETU growth and its positive network with the media, through MISA. BOSETU owes its share of growth to this media activist as he did not entertain self sensorship in handling union issues. Last year, when BOSETU was exploring opportunities of further expanding its international networks, Segaetsho came handy and profiled opportunities in USA, especially that he was an employee of the embassy here.
As a progressive media activist, Laone did not miss the recent two Gabz fm Presidential debates, as we would make a post debate analysis at the end. You contributed to media plurality of this country. Go well cde! Your family, friends and nation will take solace in your immense contribution to the media fraternity.
*Justin Hunyepa is Former BOSETU Publicity Secretary and Executive Secretary