In recent years, there has been a concern about the growing lawlessness amongst boys and girls of school-going age.
Some students in junior and senior secondary schools have fallen in the trap of abusing alcohol and drugs, and some seem to see school as a waste of time.
A young man from Maun, Tumo Kenosi, has written a book, which is in a play form, addressing issues of peer pressure amongst students. The book titled Monate Ga O Fele is written in Setswana, and it is centred on a group of students, who put fun ahead of their studies.
The book starts with a boy, Gakeotshabe who decides to quit school, to become a thief. The boy, however, does not decide on his own to quit school. He is persuaded by an older man called Modirisi, who sends him to steal goods, and then pays the boy depending on the size of the haul.
The young boy starts having a bit of money, and becomes the envy of his friends who are still in school. The boy even has his own car and wears expensive clothes, eats and drinks at upmarket places, and this makes his schoolgoing friends green with envy.
Gakeotshabe, dangles a carrot in front of his friends, tempting them to quit school and join him in working for Modirisi. He drives his fancy car to school to check on them, and also brags about having money, and partying with ‘important’ people at expensive hotels.
Three boys Mathata, Sesinying, and Kepadile fall into his trap and end up joining and in no time they go around shopping centres, stealing from people’s cars, and breaking into stores.
The four boys start terrorising the area, and taking the loot to their boss, Modirisi. One boy in the circle of friends, however, tries desperately hard to dissuade his friends from quitting school, advising them that education is very important, and that it will give them a bright future.
Botlhale’s attempts to dissuade his friends from destroying their lives, fall on deaf ears, as the other three friends regard him as a fool, and follow the already delinquent Gakeotshabe in the life crime.
The four delinquents have it easy for a while, until the three new recruits start getting ideas and becoming greedy. The quartet decide that their boss is cheating them. They consequently sell the stolen goods for themselves. Eventually they fall right into the hands of the police.
Their first attempt to sell the stolen goods leads them to a police officer who has been trailing them. To add salt to the wound, the older man who uses them to steal, Modirisi, and the friend who recruited them, walk free, while they boys receive five year jail terms each .
While in jail, the boys start regretting their actions as they started realising that their friend Botlhale is the one who truly cared about them, and that indeed, he is the smart one.
The young men, however, are not the only ones who end up biting the dust, because of choosing wrong paths in life. A group of girls from their school also end up being expelled because of jumping the school fence to drink alcohol with a gang of thieves, who entice them with money.
The girls also dissed Botlhale when he tried to also advise them against hanging out with the boys who decided to quit school to become thieves. The girls clearly tell Botlhale that he is jealous of Gakeotshabe and his team, because they have money and wear expensive clothes. Botlhale as expected goes on to finish his studies and lands a lucrative job.
The book carries a good message for students and can somehow play a part in dissuading youth from taking their studies lightly. The book clearly shows the consequences of engaging in things that can interfere with their studies.
The writer used simple Setswana, which can be understood by any Setswana speaking person without any hassle.
The book was funded by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture.