As part of a project called ‘#DontCallMeBaby’, a group of artists have erected a mural at Masa Square in CBD through work commissioned by Naèma Arbi.
The artists are Bezuba Kaunda and Itumeleng Motswetla. In an interview with Arts & Culture, Motswetla said some Batswana young men have grown up believing that it acceptable to publicly harass, abuse and intimidate women.
“They bear no shame and perceive no consequences for their behaviour. This piece is the first in a series of installations aimed to raise awareness on this concerning issue in Botswana. We hope it inspires dialogue around addressing and eradicating the growing problem of gender based violence,” Motswetla revealed.
She also highlighted that the mural is commissioned work by Arbi who has studied Nutrition and is currently enrolled at University of Botswana as a Bachelor of Science student.
“Arbi is an advocate for women’s rights through the diverse means of societal awareness campaigns and uses social media as a platform to engage and educate those around her on the issues pertaining to gender based violence,” she further disclosed.
Motswetla was quick to add that Arbi does this by demonstrating through her own achievements that women have an equal place in every arena. “She is a prime example of what women are able to achieve when they are passionate about life and all of its many blessings and are driven to succeed. She is a runner and has shared with us that more and more frequently; almost every time she leaves home for a run she is harassed,” Motswetla highlighted. Motswetla also revealed that the whole experience was her first mural and an undoubtedly terrific learning experience. She said before starting something she is so unfamiliar with she was nervous in a way she couldn’t describe. “The act of leaving my comfort zone of being just behind the canvas all the time put me in such a vulnerable position. It had me asking myself questions I had no answers to. I asked myself “Should I be doing this?” “Can I do this?” “What if I humiliate myself?” “What if things go wrong?” Im so glad I never let the fear of the unknown stop me,” Motswetla said.
She added that through collaborating with one of the best mural artists in Botswana being Kaunda, she had learnt to be patient and believe that she could go beyond the limits she set for herself. “The possibilities are endless when it comes to trying something new. I have met new people, learned new skills, broadened my horizons and given my soul a boost,” she said.
Motswetla also wanted to make it clear that this mural and this campaign isn’t about the artists or Naèma. “It’s about the message it has been designed to portray now wonder it says #DontCallMeBaby as I am someone’s Mother, Sister, Daughter, Wife...Maybe even yours” she concluded.