Mmegi Blogs :: The meaning of nationhood
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Thursday 19 October 2017, 16:39 pm.
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The meaning of nationhood

Last week ,we celebrated/commemorated our 51 years of Independence. 1966 was the year of our independence. Population was a little more than 600 000, then.
By Michael Dingake Tue 10 Oct 2017, 16:10 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: The meaning of nationhood








Today, it has more than trebled at over two million! Implicit, is that the overwhelming majority of Batswana don’t know how this baby named Boipuso, was sired and mothered, and why Batswana need to be upbeat, sing and dance, every time the 30th September, the day this baby first tugged at the mother’s breast dawns. Independence isn’t like Christmas, the birth of Christ when the son of God was born; it is the birth of our own child! Our child, born for a singular purpose. Do we know what the singular purpose was that this child, Independence, was born? The statement of one of the illustrious sons of Africa, Kwame Nkrumah, that ‘Africans had the right to govern or misgovern themselves,’ is often misunderstood. What Nkrumah tried to convey to all with a modicum of intelligence, was that demand for African independence was non-negotiable!

Now, assuming all Batswana who were around; Batswana who laboured and witnessed the birth of the child, Independence, are all still alive, something we know is preposterous, except hypothetically, we can rightly say more than two-thirds of Batswana are verily uninformed who this child, Independence, is, why it was premeditatedly born and why we must be jubilant and ready to spend millions and millions of pula, to celebrate its birthday! It isn’t right that we take everything for granted, particularly when it’s an event that speaks to our very heritage, our creative history. Armed with adequate knowledge of history, I daresay Batswana would celebrate the event with greater pomp and proper nostalgic sense. Batswana would appreciate why the feasting, often excessive, may be called for; they would appreciate why they are what they are, where they are and whether they could be much better and more advanced than they are currently, without Independence. A newborn baby is of course nursed, nurtured, schooled and trained to be a better human than the parents; it’s guided and trained to live a better and more prestigious life than that of the ancestors. Anthropologists inform us, our ancestors probably lived in caves, survived on wild berries, tubers, roots and ground honey; they were hunter-gatherers. Since then human life has been on an upward trajectory, egged by the divine command ringing in their collective ear, ‘Thou shall live by the sweat of thy brow!’ The command has energised humans and made the species seek to grow greater, better and prouder! Botswana attained Independence when more than half her counterparts on the continent had already done so. Initially, she did well by opting for democracy, a modern, dynamic system of government.

Beginning in the late 18th century, Africa was in chains. Slave traders from America invaded and devastated Africa, by capturing

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and buying Africans from some of the African kings who out of ignorance, inexplicable callousness, primitive mercantilism, perhaps wanted to enrich themselves by selling their own subjects, to an oppressive, get-rich-quick human species. Can we say this trading off of our ancestors ended with the emancipation of slaves in America? After the stampede and attainment of  Independence, have we become freer, wiser? Why do we continue to read and hear of billions of illicit US dollars (not pula) outflows, that bleed the continent? Why do we still read and hear about billions of dollars stashed in Swiss banks by African autocrats?

Why do we read and hear of Nkandla-gate and Mosu-gate scandals in Southern Africa? African slave labour helped make the US the super-rich country it has become; African raw materials shipped abroad create employment for workers in overseas countries; technology grows out of the productive processes that converts raw materials into finished products we buy in turn, at inflated prices! Africa’s indebtedness to foreign creditors, makes Africans pathetic aid-seekers.

The stampede of Africa’s Independence in the late 1950s, the 1960s and the early 1970s, had to happen, in protest and demand, for justice, freedom and self-government! Lest we forget, Africa was partitioned and colonised by Europeans at the Berlin Conference of 1884 – 1885. Colonisation so imposed, naturally and inevitably invited resistant reaction; struggle for Independence by peaceful and non-peaceful methods ensued to reclaim Africa back! Imagine these foreigners declaring our territories as their overseas territories! Batswana were also colonised under a ‘protective’ status by Britain; prematurely viewed as a desert, devoid of minerals, she was nonetheless  strategically important in the international power-play between European marauders.

There’s a mistaken notion that Batswana got Independence on a silver platter, didn’t struggle for it. Wrong! Dikgosi initiated the fight for Independence, rejecting incorporation into the nigger-hating, Union of South Africa. The generation of Motsete-Mpho-Matante-Seretse inspired by counterparts, joined the bandwagon, demanding self-rule, independence, democracy. Self-rule obviously we have, but how independent, how democratic, have we become? Annually, we ought to identify milestones chalked since 1966, to report tangible progress or otherwise; so that we celebrate on the basis of performance achieved! We shouldn’t just celebrate memory of the event. We ought to celebrate the harvest!  How? By creating a self-monitoring mechanism that reports annually; a week or so, before the anniversary, re[port whether we have made a difference since the previous anniversary or not! If we have marked time, we should pause in introspection; if we took a backward step, mourn and fast, not celebrate; only when there has been interim progress, we should drink, eat and dance! This should be the modus operandi of commemorating independence anniversaries, objectively!

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