A Mix of Concern and Puzzlement

Three recent reports and comments in the newspapers, all very different, have given me cause to stop and wonder. In no particular order - No. 1 was the crash of the BDF CASA 212 in which it was reported that three army officers were killed. Reports did not indicate that this was the total number of those killed.

The assumption had to be therefore that all three were piloting the aircraft. If so, why not say so? But how come that the government could buy those hugely expensive JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft to hold off an imaginary enemy but not replace the much needed ancient work horses? With those deaths, the failure is now criminal. 

The next, no. 2.  The much admired Donald Molosi contributed an impassioned piece to the Patriot entitled, Dear Upright African which was obviously not directed at people such as myself. Nevertheless, I was so puzzled by this comment that I need to seek his help and perhaps of others.

‘That Botswana “English Medium” school where I was forced to memorise the metro map of Paris throughout high school and I was tested on it for a life-shaping grade, while never being taught anything appreciable about Botswana.’ In all my time here, I have never heard of anything even remotely similar to this saga.

Which English medium school did he attend which, he also refers to as an international school? Presumably such a subject both taught and examined could only have been handled by Parisians or at least by people from France?

What was the exam? Maybe the school, the Ministry of Education and the French Embassy can collectively throw some light on this strange claim.

As for, ‘never taught anything appreciable about Botswana;’ - this has been Government policy for years past. Next no. 3 Enole Ditsheko, like Molosi, a considerable figure in his own right, contributed a piece to the Patriot (5 February) titled Bridges Not Walls Build People.

He noted that many walled houses in Gaborone are occupied by people who are terrified of intruders. I do not under estimate the causes of this fear. There have been many very nasty incidents which have occurred in and around Gaborone. But if foreigners conclude that the Government is incapable of giving them protection and safety, they should break their contracts and go home.

If, however, they are Batswana, they need to be advised (by the Government?) that if they too are uncomfortable in their own country, they might try somewhere better to live, say in Trump’s USA.

But the core of Ditsheko’s article came with his description of five hungry

waifs banging at his gate in the Gaborone Village, how his family, remarkably, got them somehow into school, and then how 45 more arrived in much the same state! What is going on here because unfortunately Ditsheko does not explain?

Indeed when he decided to omit any reference to the social security networks that are supposed to deal with such needs, he signaled that these were, in his opinion, irrelevant. Nevertheless did he make any attempt to involve them? If so, what happened? So, from where did these 50 children come? Gaborone or Tlokweng? What about the family background of these children? 

If he had another gate, would 50 more to be there in the morning? More succinctly, how many young children in Gaborone/Tlokweng are in a similar state to those 50? Ditseko’s main theme was the need to build bridges between people and people and across the world. But what he additionally had to say demonstrated the need to start building bridges here at home.

This country can rightly take pride in its social security networks – but only if they work effectively. Fifty needy children knocking at just one gate in Gaborone means that there is a very worrying and still unrecognised fault line running through this system.

Donating housing to destitutes in remote parts of the country is indeed, admirable. But there is something seriously wrong when both the Government, with its enormous resources, and the lesser-endowed established churches are seemingly unaware that a problem of this magnitude even exists! For the Government’s election-conscious leadership it only needs an understanding that an embittered young child today will be voting tomorrow.

But let’s now pause and ask ourselves if this is simply a one -off Gaborone/Tlokweng problem? Or might it just be countrywide with many hundreds, perhaps thousands of children also in need? If the responsible authorities did not know about those 50, they are unlikely, I suppose, to know if elsewhere, there might be so many more!  But there will be many more unreported Ditshekos up and down the country, who are showing the same compassion not just for the young but also for the old.

The Government may be unaware of the magnitude of this need. But if so, why?

Etcetera II



I have won dammit!

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