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Can one boycott one’s country’s independence?

Imagine if you will, for a moment what it might be like to always have someone else telling you what to do, where and how to live, and horror of horrors, what to wear?

How would that make you feel? Somewhat childish and a bit rebellious, I presume. You may even find yourself doing absurd things to make your point well known that you were not going to be ruled by someone else; after all, it is a free country! Well, before Independence this country wasn’t a free country, and Batswana of that era felt angry towards Great Britain for always imposing taxes on them and basically telling them how they should live, they even felt that some aspects about our culture and tradition were barbaric! A couple of years, later we attained our independence with no bloodshed.

This is not hearsay; it is well documented. Like everyone born after independence, I first learnt about this at school; primary school to be exact.

Many a times, especially in the months preceding independence day, there would be a host of activities at school which ranged from writing essays and quizzes on the topic, cultural events, national anthem rehearsals and yes, even painting of stones, trees and anything or everything that doesn’t move! A feast was a certainty on the day itself and for many students, even seasoned truants; this was the highlight of every Independence Day.

To this day, nothing has really changed. So, it was with great shock this year when just before independence reports sufficed of some people who decided that they would be ‘boycotting’ this year’s independence celebrations.

I do not even need to add that this year’s celebrations were extra special; being the centenary celebrations. For some of us, it’s a given that we are not going to be around when this country celebrates 100 years of independence and I speak for myself when I say I pray I wouldn’t be around. Celebrating independence with less than five teeth in my gums isn’t exactly appealing to me, it’s scary. Plus I love my meat.

So yes, we heard them, their declarations that they would be abstaining from what someone beautifully termed it ‘the gathering, the pomp, and the pageantry’. His description was spot on. Free country, free choices.

Politicians, and I say this every other day, are interesting creatures. One friend of mine is still adamant that just like lawyers they ‘fall short of the glory of God’ and she swears they

will not be among the counted on judgement day. One thing I have come to appreciate with politicians is that the moment you see their mouths moving, you better get moving yourself. Masters of deceit.

Like how they would pretend they are not celebrating independence when they are God-knows-where on Independence Day and certainly not at their offices (it was a week day), the first obvious untruth. So because most of us fall for their rhetoric hook, line and sinker, we prank us all the time, successfully too!

While the majority was having a time of their life, donning blue, black and white shirts, some had been sold a dummy, convinced that doing so was against the ‘agenda’. What agenda? There will never be another BOT50!

Granted we all stretch the truth. We learnt the art of deceit as toddlers. At my house the dog is always responsible; it changes TV channels, leaves the toilet seat up and even leaves the fridge door open and eats ice cubes. It’s my toddler’s version and four years after his birth, he still stands by this version.

As humans we rationalise only the fabrications that benefit us. We tell little white lies daily that make others feel good. Now magnify that and add politician’s to the mix.

So while some of us were celebrating without a care in the world, painting our faces, waving little flags and riding Zebras (and breaking their legs) on roundabouts popularly known as ‘circles’, others were home and sulking with their partners and children because they had been lied to.

Back to what we were taught as far back as primary school, and it still stands; we celebrate independence because we celebrate democratic self-governance. Before we mislead our children even more (because they will soon be asked to write about this at school), we celebrate our achievements, however great or small since 1966 to date; we celebrate that had it not been for this same independence, we would be speaking Afrikaans and using the ever tumbling Rand by now, paying taxes to foreign ‘cold’ countries.

Above everything, we celebrate our forefather’s amazing foresight to demand and establish this nation a sovereign state. It’s something worth celebrating every day; it is something no one should ever take for granted.

Tumy on Monday



DPP Botswana

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