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The Mantshwabisi Manual

Every self-respecting citizen must have a Mantshwabisi story taking pride of place somewhere in their life story.

I mean how does one claim to be a bonafide citizen without ever having gone to watch the desert race. We live in a society where the cold June temperatures are often equated with fun and happiness.

Everyone should create this opportunity to camp out in the cold, drink lots of intoxicating drinks, do the nasty with a strange person and watch race vehicles zip past and shout at them. Ours is a special race where the spectators come back without knowing the result and ask the people who stayed behind for the result.

These are the official stats:

The whole country gets gripped in the euphoria

50% plan to go

12% boast to their friends that they are going

3% attend the spectacle

2% watch the race

1% know the result and it is those that have stayed behind and watched it on TV

I got the lowdown of what really happens there from a friend. He basically gave me a recipe of sorts with the following directions:

Park the vehicle by the road

Make a fire

Take out a beer and start drinking

Bodintshang must start twerking

Shout at any vehicle that passes by

Start some dance routine and join boDintshang. Ensure it kasts less than a minute if you have a one pack

Take pictures surrounded by boDintshang and if you are brave post them on facebook

In case you are wondering what boDintshang is, it is an earlier version of a slay queen that still thinks adopting the Msanzi street lingo

is hip.

This type is in short supply nowadays and their remnants are found only at the annual Desert Race.

When the race is over they morph into slay queens in town and want nothing to do with Mantshwabisi and its stories. This is very confusing for the male species. Weekend it is lovey-dovey at the race and on Monday you are more history than Hitler.

I have a plan to one day be a part of this great spectacle, temperatures and budget permitting. No, I don’t mean driving a nondescript car through a bush at amazing speed.

If I were a cat I’d try that with my nine lives.

And I will add a dash of swag. My plan is to go there 4 days prior to the race so that I can choose the best spot to camp and develop rapport with the snakes and rodents and have some sort of agreement to lease their spot for that week.

This would sort out the sleeping arrangements so I don’t have those horror Mantshwabisi stories where a perfectly inebriated person shared a sleeping bag with a snake and only discovered that in the morning.

My plan has been scuppered somewhat because this year the Desert Race will not happen because of the covid-19 pandemic. So that trip to meet with the bush inhabitants won’t happen. That means more time for me to work on the agenda!

(For comments, feedback and insults email

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