Fare thee well Comrade Caster Sapitse Dicheleketo


Behold once emerged a mighty young man from the quite native of Mmashoro, about 80km from Serowe. Counted his years of life, day by day, lived qualitatively and responsibly.

Then came the day the misery that is death, stole him from all of our hopeful selves. Beat our hopes and replaced them with fate. We hold our heads and 'ah but I was talking to him', 'but I inboxed him', 'I loved him', 'why him' and all that shock revealing speech that changes nothing! We was with him, we spoke to him, we loved him, we owed him, we hated him, he was our brother, father, husband, son, traitor to some, we all knew him.

We exercised our being with him on the specific contexts of the ends we sought, collectively or at individual level and for whatever reason we did, we werewith him. Caster Sapitse Dicheleketo was not a sophisticated man to me. He was no popular man, but I reckon it is this little lives we have to celebrate. He dreamt big, but we lived and were yet to see his aspirations unfold and crystalise into reality.

All aspects of life, namely marriage, academics, business etc comrade was yet to live his full potential when suddenly his journey was cut short. We hoped, held, some of us licked his boot, some of us prayed with him, he was an array of hopes, a mirror to stair at and really hope for miracles from. We endured the pain of life to the last day of his, but never did really get what he deserved. All the pain, the struggling, the suffering in vain just to make ends meet, Dicheleketo never sought after illicit traits and trades. He was firm on morals and his ethic of doing work was amazing.

This man was accessed by all to whom he was good and all who was good to him. An irreconcilable Christ believer who thought newer forms of literature were necessary to simplify the principles of religion to make the world a better place. He was nourished with extreme righteousness and believed the world could be better if the goodwill of biblical teachings were not exploited for personal gain! The man was galvanised from the life of passive and parochial existence, ignorance and self centredness. He boasted his socialist ideals despite being an admirer of personal success and a lavish lifestyle. Most times we met, it would be at the popular Nando’s restaurant in Francistown, and he would sarcastically remind me how much we needed to stay from mingling with the bourgeois. As we feasted on the expensive meals, he would look at the receipt and say "Comrade this money could advance your building plans", when I asked how, he would question if I had no food to cook and eat at my house and subsequently save the cash we had bought with. He ate nonetheless, paid too. When we were done eating he ensured we spent as little time as possible around that place as being spotted around it would disqualify us from being genuine leftists. He said all these with a constant giggle and humour.

Comrade genuinely lived to see a better Botswana full of equal opportunities, free from economic marginalisation, political exploitation and one with realistic realms of personal development. He spoke of politics freely and with a leftist accent, sometimes poetically. A skillful writer whose writings were never published for public consumption. I will define comrade as exceedingly greedy with his knowledge and skill, only cared to share it to his close accomplices. Caster was a lifelong learner who held fast to the adage that the best education is actually not class tuition, but real day-to-day experiences. He believed that a man should not repeat mistakes. To him repeating mistakes was tantamount to failing a 'corrections' exercise at basic school.

He was fond of literature, a great reader of popular and cladenstine literary works like Shakespeare and others. He was a smart management analyst who enjoyed debates about roles of directorate boards, corporate governance and role clarity within organisations. Each debate he picked would be spiced up with quotations and references to affirm his position. He did this with the simplest terms to ensure his audience comprehends his postulations clearly.

Comrade believed that each organisation had a responsibility to assess its management infrastructure for relevance and continued prudence. He assumed this would deter managerial decadence within organisations. I remember when we debated the BLLAHWU Burial Society management relations where the chairperson seemed to be the chief executive officer at the same time. He said this left no room for checks and balances as it would also appear the chairperson was responsible for preparation of management reports, financials etc and went on to chair all meetings of the society where he reports. He held that this was problematic in many organisations and always at the centre of internal bickering; where there is lack of clarity of roles. During the pick of debates on this topic I would frequently enjoy his telephonic calls advicing on the particular issue of role clarity and corporate governance. He believed in peaceful resolution of disputes and always maintained that the best medicine was deterrence before occurrence.

Cde Caster was an intellectual whose comprehension of management was amazing. He lectured me on how organisations should be galvanized from debacles ensuing from lack of proper adherence to organisational principles and a clean and ethical governance.  He was a staunch activist of BLLAHWU in the Francistown branch. The interesting thing but somewhat selfish as I say, was his lack of desire to hold leadership positions. He however contributed to the stability of the union by offering his free lessons on management and political manoeuvring of some challenges within the union. It was his believe that trade unions are not only interest groups but also power organisations that have a large responsibility without the workplace.

When we weep and mourn his departure we celebrate and appreciate the value he added in our lives. We also look at the short working years he lived. He is a life we ascertain, had it been longer and broader, we could have lived to enjoy peace with. He was not an angel, but our hearts are torn into pieces. Cde Caster was a character on whom to model one's life. He would not hurt a fly, but firm on his rights.

We also learn from his varsity mates that comrade was a regular face in the Pentagon conventions. Those who went to the University of Botswana (UB) pre-2004 would relate to this convention where the 'cream' of UB political activists would spend their leisure time discussing metaphysical and topical issues. But the convention was dormimated by what was known as ‘ancestors’ who for some reason overstayed at the university.

The main cause for such overstay was failure to do well in academics leading to repetition of courses normally known as retakes. Despite being a regular face there, and surprisingly so Cde Caster was not an ancestor himself. He did his academics and completed them correctly within the period allocated to him. We hear of his glaring debates and commitment to a forum which would later die a natural death when his mates slowly vanished from varsity. He graduated with enough ambition and a future plan to acquire him a job in the Francistown City Council.

Behold, death never announces when next it will strike. Despite being cognizant to the reality of its spontaneous attacks, we struggle to cope, despite the inevitability and certainty of its visitation. Words beffiting comrade's eulogy are no lesser than the population of stars in the sky. They are no lesser than sand particles in the beach. But it would breach our emotions and betray our goodwill if we not say something to bid him well. As comrade departs his part of our collective work is done, we live to fight on and deliver a revolution we all so aspire. The promises of our being with him will be upheld on this earth and if not, when we meet again. As our comrade kissed the sky all of us must cry, but with one eye, the other eyeing forward for it is upon us to live that which we aspire; a brewing change to unfold in our livelihoods, a future to uphold with all stories told. When all is said and done, Comrade Caster left to us, an unfinished revolution.

*Keaoleboga Ras Manxo Speaking Dipogiso is BLLAHWU deputy secretary general

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