Previously indifferent, Rakhudu paints his farm red

Old school: Rakhudu says Valentine's Day was not a big deal yesteryear
Old school: Rakhudu says Valentine's Day was not a big deal yesteryear

Decades ago, precisely when he was 14 years old, former Cabinet minister, Keletso Rakhudu had never heard of Valentine’s Day. All the way through to 18 – an age when many teens fall hopelessly in love with one crush or the other – the young Rakhudu says he never heard his mother, uncles, friends or girlfriends say a word about the Day.

It took the 58-year-old Serowe native to finish uniwersity and start working life to begin celebrating the lover’s day.

“There was no such thing, even when I was 19 at the University of Botswana,” he remembers.

“Although I had a girlfriend, I don’t remember celebrating Valentine’s Day with any of my girlfriends during my youth days.”

In those days, Rakhudu remembers that the only time boyfriends and girlfriends exchanged romantic gestures was over Christmas and the New Year when they would buy cards and flowers to show affection. Valentine’s Day was a “whiteman’s invention” celebrated in the countries with higher densities of Europeans.

“Our country was seen as a desert by the whites, so most of them preferred staying in countries such as Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” he recalls. “They brought such new innovations and the blacks in those countries joined in while we were still behind.”

Today, the minister is among the advocates for the Day. Last year, he recalls taking his wife out for a romantic dinner at the exclusive Phakalane. This year, he plans to celebrate the Day at his farm in Serowe, opposite Khama Rhino Sanctuary.

“This Saturday I will be at my farm with my wife, where I also plant tomatoes and hence the farm is coloured red”, he says with a smile, adding that his farm is part of the Valentine’s Day romance.

“My farm is just opposite the Rhino Sanctuary, so I will take my wife there, have dinner, enjoy the romance and spend a night there.”

Rakhudu believes in the “old school” exhibitions of affections and the original intent of Valentine’s Day. He says today’s celebrations have been hijacked by commercial objectives, such as restaurants taking full advantage of the romance in the air.

“Now we have Valentine’s chocolate, Valentine’s cake, Valentine’s egg and so on and this is done as a way to attract customers,” he says.

“As a man if you don’t take your woman out on the big day o a go ngalela. He continues: “People have also taken advantage of social media to post Valentine Day messages.

“Actually, this was meant for lovers during the pre-Victorian times and there is even a poem on Valentine’s Day entitled “The Eve of Saint Valentines.

“This poem talks about lovers who hooked up and rode horseback into the sunset, showing romance, love and emotions.”

Tomorrow, the one-time cynic will be metaphorically riding his own horse into the sunset in Serowe, celebrating the day of love.

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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