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Bring back bogwera

Some time ago, I ranted, in this column, on the need to fix the defective boy child. Today's boy child, I repeat, is a defective being. Don't say that I am being negative. You are the ones that have been saying that they should be hanged. You see no value in them.

Truth be told, we are producing thugs and murderers by the dozen and there is no organised, collective effort to address the situation. My desire is to save them from you. 

I do not pretend that adult men are any better. Nor do I pretend that every boy child is bad. I am not about to join in the “all men are trash” nonsense. I do not, further, seek to suggest that only women suffer violence. I know that all society is brutalised in one way or the other. I was a prosecutor for 10 years, remember. Sorry to rub that fact onto your faces.

In those years, I have prosecuted only two women for the offence of murder and very few for other offences. God knows how many men I have brought before the High Court and Magistrates for aggravated offences.

I generalise not to vilify, but simply to emphasise that gender-based violence is as much an individual as it is a collective social problem deserving specific focus, especially by men. Adult males are, in my view, the main reason why the boy child is the way he is.

Don’t tell me about the education system. It is the designer label kids who sell the poor ones crack and madaena. It is about values. 

I speak of the boy child because alongside the girl child, they are the future of our nation. I do not desire for them a future similar to, or worse than our present where hardly a month goes by without some poor, innocent girl being found raped and murdered. The boy child needs guidance. He needs initiation into manhood. As men, we have failed to model positive values for him.

We have modelled patriarchy, sexual harassment, indecent assault, disinheritance,  alcoholism, domestic violence, robbery, murder and thuggery in all their manifestations. 

Of course that sounds harsh and unfair. It sounds harsh when you individualise the charge and see yourself as not being a part of the problem because you have discharged your duty to your sons.  The truth is, we all are.  Evil prevails, they say, where good men remain silent. 

Women have led the charge for their emancipation. It has taken a World War II collective effort just to win the right to equality before the law.

Just three decades back, Botswana's Attorney General was arguing, with amazing conviction and admirable eloquence that married Batswana women cannot pass their nationality to their children. 

There is a warped thinking amongst us men to see ourselves as “us” against “them” and not simply as fellow human beings.

When I raised this

issue, the other day, a male chauvinist argued that men were created to dominate and that fact will never change. Sick thinking.  My daughters should not grow up in a country where they are lesser mortals by reason of their gender. They should not exist at the mercy of menfolk. 

As such, the war for gender equality and against gender violence is mine personally. I owe it to them. They should not feel unlucky to be girls. I reckon all men owe it to their daughters in the same measure.

Only when our children know that society as a whole does not condone the warped psyche of male domination and violence will we begin to see change. 

I can almost hear somebody saying; “Enough ranting, Kgosi. What’s your case?” Well, my case is simple and make no mistake about it, I am as serious as a heart attack.

We need to retrace our steps back to initiation schools. We need to redefine manhood and ensure that no one calls himself “a man” unless he has gone through a rite of passage. Anyone who is saved from conscription by his parents will just be a “male”.

He must remain moshianyana until he applies for mature entry. That must reflect in his Omang. 

Bogwera should be compulsory for every male Botswana child and must come immediately after Junior Certificate. The setting must remain traditional.  It must be in the bush, in the winter and must follow a nationally agreed syllabus jointly designed by government and the traditional leadership speaking to manhood, duty to country, to womenfolk, to family and to self. Forget what happened in Kgatleng. That is in the past. 

I’m not over yet. All young people, 35 years and below, employed or unemployed, educated or uneducated, married or unmarried, without discrimination, must be taken back to Bogwera and circumcised specifically with a knife to instill, or to reinforce the message of both manhood and sexual abuse. Valuable lessons must be chanted as the knife slowly works its way around their troubled manhoods.

This category constitutes a significant fraction of the defective lot. 

The rest of us, old damaged folk north of 40, can be left to gender-based violence programmes, peer-to-peer counselling and incarceration.

If we offend, we can have an “M” endorsed in our Omang and degraded to Moshianyana until we can show that we are fit for readmission.

I don't care if women have a similar programme. I'm talking about men. Forget the hangman, he is just another example of a defective boy child. Let's go back to the knife. 

Chief On Friday



The Return of the Gladiator

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