Balekane Ba Botswana Zebra Couple show sports legends love

Mr and Miss Independence Gaborone District, Lyndon Mothusi and Boikhutso Shawe
Mr and Miss Independence Gaborone District, Lyndon Mothusi and Boikhutso Shawe

Balekane Ba Botswana (Peers to Botswana) Zebra couple who were crowned Mr and Miss Independence Gaborone Region last year have committed to helping forgotten sports legends.

Lyndon Mothusi and Boikhutso Shawe won the pageant last September and have been helping soccer legends, Samuel Sekgaphane and Nicholas Sebele in the last four months before his death.

When the Pitse Ya Naga couple won the competition in Gaborone last year, they vowed to take care of the disadvantaged and the forgotten.

In November they managed to identify soccer legends Sekgaphane and the late Sebele.  They have been in every aspect of their lives.


“We realised that they contributed so much to sports, but they were now unrecognised and no one cared for them,” said Shawe.

She said since they met the two legends, they have taken care of their healthcare and spent each and everyday with them.

Shawe indicated that people had abandoned them, some gave them empty promises and it was difficult for them to cope with day-to-day activities.

One of the two legends, Sebele who was affectionately known as ‘Lele Ali Baba’ during his prime passed away on Valentine’s Day after suffering a recurrence of stroke. 

Ali Baba died at the age of 69 having played, refereed, coached and administered football at the highest level.

During his time as a player, he played for teams such as Mochudi Rovers, Mahalapye Rovers, Mahalapye United Hotspur, Moletamotse FC, Mokgosi Young Fighters and Gaborone United.

He played for the national team from 1969 to 1973.  As for his coaching career, Sebele coached Gaborone Secondary School, BDF B Company, Prisons XI, Matlala FC, Barolong Young Fighters and GU.

He was the first Motswana to acquire a high level-coaching certificate obtained in 1976.  He was also recognised for his contribution to Botswana in 2003 by receiving a Presidential Order for meritorious service from former President Festus Mogae. 

For his outstanding performance and accomplishments in Botswana football, he was the recipient of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Golden Jubilee Award.

Ali Baba also received the certificate of excellence from the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) in 2002. 

Before he passed away, Ali Baba was the President of Paralympics Association of Botswana (PASSOBO).

Despite this tragic outcome, Shawe said they treasured all the time they spent with Sebele before he died.

“We spent everyday with them, and every weekend we would take them to football games where they had the chance to socialise with people again,” she said. 

Shawe could not stop talking about how Ali Baba was already part of their families.  She says that Sebele died in their arms upon returning from a medical check up on South Africa.

She said since Sebele suffered from a stroke in 2009, everyone abandoned him including Botswana Football Association (BFA) and BNSC.  He will be buried in Gaborone on February 21, 2015.

The other legend that was fortunate enough to have also been identified by the couple, Sekgaphane told Arts & Culture that Ali Baba was his great friend and also donated a wheelchair to him last December.

Sekgaphane is is a double amputee of the legs.  He is well known as ‘Thiza’ in the football circles and was born in Transvaal, South Africa.  He acquired a Botswana citizenship in May 4, 1982.

Before coming to Botswana, Thiza played for teams such as Moroka Stars, Moon Lighters FC, George Goch Space, Moroka Swallows FC in South Africa.  Among the big names which Thiza played with and against is Kaizer Motaung who later founded Kaizer Chiefs.

He moved to Botswana in 1972 and coached Happy Hearts and then later, Black Peril. His was famously known as Black Peril and had coached former players such as Wonder Maisela, Jomo Maisela, Michael ‘Spokes’ Gaborone, Ashford Mamelodi and Duke Lefenya among others.

 He also served as assistant manager for the senior national team under the management of Willie Seboni.  He has since been awarded with a Moroka Swallows blazer as a token of respect and is also in the club’s hall of fame.

During an interview, Sekgaphane said he also coached BDF XI voluntarily for more than three seasons therefore they should have considered to help him during the difficult times in his life.

He said since he met Mothusi and Shawe, his life has improved. He said his wife Motlatsi Sekgaphane no longer has to carry the burden alone because the couple is now helping. 

“The pressure is now over and if it were not because of them I would not be recognised like now,” he said. Thiza said he was down and out, but the couple helped him get back to reality and enjoy life despite his disability.

He said he regards Saxton Kowa at Uniao Flamengo Santos as the best local coach.

“He is the only person who sent me a get well soon message when I was admitted in hospital,” he said. 

He said even though he is disabled he can still work as an advisor for the development of football.

“We must not develop to destroy, we should develop to continue so that the chain can continue,” he said.

For her part, his wife also praised the contribution the Zebra couple put into their lives.  She said she used to take her husband to check-ups alone and that has since changed because the two have been taking care of transport.

“They brought a huge change to my life.  I have relief now because it has been a challenge taking care of my husband alone,” said Motlatsi.

She said the door was now open for her because the Zebras couple found them from nowhere and rescued them.

She was, however, not happy about people who no longer had time for his husband because of his condition. 

Motlatsi said she was grateful because Mothusi Shawe had been providing them with food and electricity during hard times.

Moreover, Mothusi indicated that everyone should be involved to raise awareness so that disabled people and the unprivileged could be taken care of.

He said their mission is to do everything for them and improve lives.

“It is not for personal enrichment, but it is part of our social responsibility.  It is in line with our Vision 2016 pillar,” said Mothusi.    

The Zebra couple also indicated that they also have their own families, but they chose to make sacrifices so that others can have better lives.

The two who have spouses said their families have been welcoming and had already accepted the late Sebele and Sekgaphane into the families.

They intend to win the national pageant and beat other regions in order to continue helping many others.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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