JAMATAKA: The Basarwa people of Jamakata have arrived in the digital age, literally, as internet connection flowed into their village like water through the public stand pipes, for the first time.
This development came into the village thanks to Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) after donating internet café to the village Development Committee (VDC) which hopes to offer the service along with others such as photo-copying, typing services, mobile-airtime, to name a few, at affordable prices for the poor rural dwellers, mostly Basarwa.
The internet café, also known as Kitsong Centre started as a partnership between Mascom and the Government of Botswana under BTC through the Nteletsa II Rural Development Project back in 2009.
Even though majority of villagers are illiterate, the use of Internet will benefit them either way because they will seek assistance from those who are computer literate.
This will mostly benefit youth of this village who unlike other youth miss the use of technology and fail to connect with their peers. The centre has three computers, a photocopying machine, a printer and has been installed with internet.
The use of internet offers a variety of benefits to everyone who is willing to use it.
Through the internet usage, Jamataka village leadership envisage a better future for their village and its people saying technology is vital in modern interconnected world.
In an interview with The Monitor, the newly elected VDC chairperson of Jamataka village, Nomazwe Dlamini said the internet cafe would not only benefit residents with Knowledge, but will impart life skills that they can use to better their lives for many years.
Without government infrastructure development except the primary school and a Kgotla, the centre has added value to the village’s growth. He said with all these services now available, they will no longer travel long distance to seek the amenities in Francistown. Dlamini also hoped that the centre will give residents the opportunity to learn the use of the technology.
He said that civil servants in their village have welcomed the centre and hope that it will change and enhance their job skills.
“Teachers here have been struggling with learners’ work which they mostly write in paper, but with the advent of the internet in the village they are now able to type their teaching aids, prepare tests, print and make copies using the internet,” he said. Dlamini said that their prices are reasonable and can be afforded by anyone who want to utilise the resource.
Dlamini stated that the profit they will get from the centre will be used by the VDC to develop the village.
The chairperson said he is happy because some of the youth in the village, who are computer literate, have volunteered to offer assistance for free.“Profits from the internet centre will complement our income that we get from renting houses,” said Dlamini.
He added that they intend to start selling refreshments to their customers to increase profits.He said that they have employed a village youth as administration officer and hope that if the business improves they will increase the number of their employees thus empowering residents.He said that they have also employed a security guard to provide security to their business since the village is a crime-infested area. The village chief Mosalagae Galebonwe is equally ecstatic about the internet centre. Galebonwe holds an Information Technology (IT) Diploma from Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies (GIPS). “The centre came at the right time to provide convenience to residents. I have been accessing Internet on my mobile phone, I like using whatsapp and Facebook I am happy that very soon I will be able to access Internet easily, “said Galebonwe with a smile.