A few kilometers from Dibete village along the busy A1 road there is a popular stopover for particularly male adults eager to enhance or jump start their sex drive.
However there is the unwanted aspect, the flip side of the spot as it drives children out of school.
Driving past Dibete heading to the north from Gaborone there are numerous spots where traditional aphrodisiacs are in abundance. They come in two litre bottles as well as raw herbs, which are displayed along the busy highway.
The trade is sustaining livelihoods with numerous people turning to the product to make a living. But amid the thriving business, there is the ugly side. When a customer hands over the notes and the coins to purchase the product, sadly in some instances, the person receiving the payment at the other end of the fence is an under age child, who has dropped out of school. The children used to be seen along the highway during the thatch- grass-harvesting season. But now, they are a permanent feature, thanks to the thriving business. Not long ago, a video went viral on social media, where a teenage boy, popularly known as Jele Jele was captured marketing the sex herbs. The teenager shocked many people on how he was marketing the herbs. He explaining how best the herbs were, especially for erectile dysfunction and enlargement of the manhood.
In the video the boy is captured explaining how the medicine was good for solving erectile dysfunction something that shocked his customers who questioned how he knew the subject considering his age. It is reported that a number of children have abandoned school to focus on selling the herbs and liquids.
Most of them are from poor families residing in the nearby cattle posts. Some teenage girls are reported to be in love relationships with some of the men who sell the herbs. Teachers and school management have in the past engaged social workers to intervene in the matter in an effort to resolve the crisis but in vein.
A Mokgenene Primary School teacher, who preferred anonymity, told The Monitor they were fighting a losing battle with children who keep absconding from school to sell herbs by the roadside. The teacher added that in a number of occasions they followed the children and pleaded with their parents to encourage them to go back to school. The teachers’ efforts are hitting a snag as the children keep on running away from the boarding school.
“Some of the children were transferred from Tirelo Primary School in Dibete village to Mokgenene Primary School where there is a boarding facility in an effort to make them focus on their studies, but they continue to run away from school. As tiny as they are they have shocked us
The older sister, Lebogang Aron, 20 and mother of one who also disclosed to The Monitor to have abandoned school when she was doing Standard Five said her younger sisters are refusing to go back to school.
Asked about her young sisters’ age and why they were not at school, Lebogang who looked lost said, “Ah batho ba gana goya sekolong, okare ba paletse mmaboipelego rona raba kgona? They were taken to a boarding school at Mokgenene primary school but absconded several times,” Lebogang said.
Her young sister, 18-year-old Rapelang Aron, and mother of a one-year-old boy and expecting her second child interrupted our conversation and mentions the girls’ ages.
“This one is 11-years-old and the other one is 13-years-old,” she said whilst lying on the ground. Asked why they were not at school she also shared the same sentiments that they are refusing to back to school. Asked about her educational background, Rapelang also revealed that she abandoned school at primary level.
When asking the older sisters why they have abandoned school the two looked at each other and laughed as they failed to provide valid reasons why they have abandoned school throughout the interview. Mmoloki Dingalo, who operates a stand that sells herbs not far from them, said he was not happy that some parents are failing to force their children to focus on their studies.
He said some parents used to allow children to sell herbs but they pleaded with them to stop doing so as the children can mix the herbs and put people’s lives in danger.
“We are unemployed and making a living from selling these herbs. In the past there were instances in which when a car stops children would run to the car with bottles of herbs but we have since stepped in to regulate who sells the herbs in this location. We have pleaded with everyone here to refrain from allowing children to interfere in this business because that could jeopardise the business,” Dingalo said.