My hopes of exploring Francistown and its peripheries got me some experience I never anticipated. Over the President holidays, I aimed for the second city of the country popularly known as ‘Ghetto’ predominantly on official duty, but of course with some leisure inclination.
The many times that I have passed through the spaghetted city, I have spoiled myself by having traditional foods like groundnuts and ‘Phane’ and efficient transportation system at the bus rank, giving me reason to always plan my journeys through F-town. I booked a guest house in Blue Town hoping to mingle with the general populace outside official times.
I decided to visit some ward by the name ‘Kgaphamadi’ on my second night. It was around 9pm when I decided to retire for the night and headed towards my car which was parked a few yards from the entertainment halls. Just near my car were two young looking men having some argument. It was so heated that they were about to smash each other’s head using 750ml alcohol bottles. Being a self-certified negotiator, I decided to duly offer my peace-making negotiating skills. Mind you, these boys were threatening to throw their bottles while standing next to my car, so I had every reason to defuse what could have been a non-intentional car breakage.
As I was trying to get closer to the boys, two other young men grabbed me from behind demanding a phone. As if that was not shocking enough, they had a knife (Okapi) on my neck probably as a means of persuasion. Suddenly, it dawned to me that I have been mugged. I fell into an old trick. One of the two boys who were fighting earlier slapped my face thus confusing me further. ‘Gentlemen let us talk’ as I pleaded with them.
That just got me another slap, loss of money and my expensive belt. I had to change the way I addressed them to ‘Barena’ loosely translated as ‘my kings’ to at least solicit some favour from the thugs. Upon realising that I had nothing to offer, they whisked me off by kicking me which I gladly accepted under the circumstances. I ran passed my car only to come collect it after several metres. I then drove back to my lodging place alive. In my pursuit to explore the ‘ghetto’, I instead got explored. What lessons have I learnt from this experience?
What is important is to be able to shed off those changes that are of less value. But the most important conclusion that I have made in this whole muddle is that some of our youth need to up their attitude towards finding decent means of living. I don’t want to believe that mugging people is their last resort. Robbing people off their hard-earned resources is not just risky on their part, but also lives a haunting memory on the victims. It is in their character that they have come to believe that certain jobs are way below what naturally should be due to them. Most jobs which are in most cases manually performed are so underestimated by our youth. They shun them, only to attract foreign labour to take advantage of such. We later on cry foul when it is actually our own design.
Technical colleges and Brigades are readily available to induce technical skills to our youth.
Other Government poverty eradication initiatives are also in the offing. Citizens and residents alike also provide temporal labour opportunities such as fixing the broken connections in their homes, garden boys/girls, house helping, baby sitting just to mention a few. I want to urge our youth to take advantage of these and many other opportunities. Employment creation is not a sole Government duty. As citizens, we need to be open to the idea that the world out there is always in need of some service. It is therefore our duty to scan the environment and find the service that we can involve ourselves in. Of great importance is for us to remain patient as we polish the quality of service/product that we are to offer the community. As for robbing the innocent citizens, it’s a NO! NO! You can do better than that.
*Ignatious Njobvu is a Performance Improvement Coordinator at Maun Senior Secondary School & OBE Task Team Four Core Member.