As we grapple with divorce

The High Court is faced with a mammoth task of resolving disputes, be it social, civil or criminal. Hundreds of cases are heard every week in our courts across the country, among them, divorce cases.

The latter is the most painful, second to a murder trial. This is the time when the judge has to dissolve a union that has been there for years, even decades, that has united two or more families during that period. At stake are not only the estates of the couples, but their children, who are often left confused and traumatised by the separation of their parents.

With recent statistics showing that our courts have recorded an average of 1,000 divorces per annum since 2010, there are all sorts of suggestions for solutions to this problem. There are even suggestions that we should go back to our culture. Whose culture here?

There are even suggestions that we should introduce polygamy as a nation. It has become a norm for many members of our society who always run to the “let’s go back to our culture doctrine” whenever there is a national issue. It boggles the mind that when other nations are going forward, confronting whatever challenges they face along the journey, in Botswana we are always talking about going back to the past. How we are going to do that, the ‘culturalists’ never give answers.

How is it possible to go back when you have already adopted foreign languages, foreign practices, foreign commodities like the media, foreign modes of transport, and when we have accommodated expatriates in our midst? 

Our laws, policies, and even family decisions are more or less guided and based on foreign influence.

We should accept that the world is moving fast, and even too fast for us Batswana, and Africans in general.

We should learn to keep up with the pace. We should appreciate that as the population increases, interaction intensifying, and people getting economically empowered, they are bound to change.  There are more weddings in this era every weekend than there was in a year 30 years ago.

There are more cars on our roads, more cellphones, more computers, more money, even more food than there was 10 years ago.

It is therefore poor thinking for some people to suggest that divorce is a crisis. These ‘prophets of doom’ should instead, be calling for society to establish more support structures for the institution of marriage, and family.

We have to stop thinking about ‘going back to our culture’ whenever we face challenges, and come up with initiatives that can take us forward, because that is where everybody is going.

Today’s thought

“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”

– Frederick Buechner

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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