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What’s in a name?

Of all the names they could dream of, they chose this one. While other countries got to name their towns, cities, small villages and streets with cool names such as Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, Greenpoint, Sandton, Manhattan, Kensington, Swede Hollow, Madison Avenue even Belinda Love Lee, somehow the book of cool names eluded our people this side of the world.

Until a year ago, my neighbourhood was simply known as Phase 2. I will be the first to admit that this whole business of naming Gaborone neighbourhoods with such names as “Blocks” and “Phases” was nothing but just a poverty of ideas. What were they even thinking? Wait, maybe they didn’t think at all.

Apparently Phase 2 is now officially ‘Ntloedibe’. I don’t know what this even means. Someone told me that the name is linked to a Royal ward in Molepolole and so I am guessing that it is named after that ward. The literal meaning would be ‘a house of sins’ or something to that effect. But sin is definitely part of the mix. There are many Royal kraals in this country, Ntloedibe for some reason had to be Phase 2, or vice versa.

By design or by some strange coincidence, since the renaming of our hood many ills are happening here. I am not in any way suggesting that before that our hood was a Garden of Eden, in any case the first sin took place at Eden. But since this renaming, the situation seems to have gotten from bad to worse.

The first sign was late last year when about six dogs on my street alone, died under ‘mysterious’ circumstances, mine included. It’s mysterious because one day the pet is up and running, the next it’s vomiting and a few hours later, it’s in dog heaven. Losing a pet is so painful, only a pet lover and owner would understand.

When you lose a pet, a dark shadow engulfs your homestead; you mourn the pet like you would a person. You feel empty, you feel lost and robbed. Tears are shed, especially by children. We held a small silent service for our puppies, lowered them down the shallow grave in our garden.

It felt right burying them at home and not dumping them somewhere in the bushes like how some people do it. We loved them; they were members of our family. There was no singing or praying, no boring speeches. We didn’t invite a councillor to campaign at the funeral, though it was a tempting thought. They buy groceries at people’s funerals sometimes.


the cops are busy chasing their multi-million ‘target’ in the form of traffic fines from unsuspecting motorists (they say so themselves), thieves seem to have gotten or intercepted this same memo. For they too are chasing, with breakneck speed, their loot which just happens to be in our pockets, cars and houses.

In a space of two months, cops and thieves have in synch and concert, conspired to disposes me of a total of P2,800, the whole monthly expenditure of my household!

It’s like they recently met over biscuits and tea, and then signed a memorandum of agreement, pledging that by the end of this year they should have turned all of us into paupers.

Maybe we should all surrender our possessions to them and spare ourselves the trauma of meeting them face-to-face.

Until you become a victim of robbery and mugging, you will never appreciate how bad this situation really is. In my hood two things are happening all at the same time. In this aptly named ‘House of sins’, cops are chasing motorists on pavements just a stone’s throw in CBD while thieves are having their way in our households, day and night.

They visited my street last week, my home was not spared. As if that is not enough, my hood is also said to be the drug capital of this country. I have always had my own suspicions. Apparently, around drug circles, our humble hood is not called Ntloedibe but ‘Little Columbia’. I like Little Columbia more.

Either way you look at it, we are doomed. I watched a documentary the other day. At this Muslim country, they don’t entertain thieves and have zero tolerance for folks who take what does not belong to them.

I am not sure whether their politicians have clean hands too, but at that country, if you steal someone’s goat you lose your hand. No questions about it. Stealing someone’s cabbage will leave your hand with minus one finger.

Until then, we the residents of Ntloedibe AKA Little Columbia remain hostages in our own homes. We are too defeated and unlike the Ditimamodimo residents, we are resigned to our fate and we won’t be challenging GCC for these names.

Tumy on Monday



The question of mothertoungue

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