We were a little sidetracked by Tshini's impassioned prayer last week. We have to get back to the business of deliberating on the guiding principles for the association of men.

Tshini was actually about to present his 4R's infact he appears ready to do so right at this very moment.

He is just waiting for Ausi Maggie and her girls to clear ama-empties on the oblong table and bring in the hors d'oeuvre's of chicken gizzards and menoto, reserved only for customers who are up to date with their accounts.

Ausi Maggie believes that you shouldn't drink on an empty stomach and you should pay for what you drink!

Anyway, our man Tshini has distributed his 4R's principles and I have the copy right here in front of  me, and as your eyes and ears at the shebeen Nitty Gritty, I am duty bound to share it with you my dear reader. As we read his paper he takes us through it making comments on each point.

"I must add," he says in a serious tone, "that these principles are in Setswana because after all they are for us Batswana. I think the first one should be Ruanang because I strongly believe that we should cater and care for each other as community, society and as a nation. Actually, this principle should go all the way down to the family unit as the foundation of everything. You see, if we can take care of each other at all those levels, then we can certainly take care of each other business wise.

We should be able to make economic empowerment a reality through this concept of  Ruanang.

We should support each other's businesses and all chain stores and franchises should be required to carry 30 percent local products.

Rekisang - this one is so important to me as a businessman. I am self-made, as you all know, and I rely solely on my own private businesses for survival. Rekisang encourages all of us to adopt and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit as a nation. In this global and capitalistic world there is no other way for us to survive and conquer the 21st century than through commerce and trade. Rekisang also means that we should sell ourselves as a country to the outside world.

Reetsang - Let's learn to listen for once. Let's listen to what other people are saying, we might learn something.

Listen to everything that goes that's around you. Listen to the radio, TV, sounds of the city, listen to the silence of nature, listen to your leaders and elders.

Lastly, I want to add Robalang. Yes, we must take time to rest and gather our strength through sleep.

We must sleep! Batswana just simply don't want to sleep, that's why there's all this hullabaloo about nightclubs closing at 12 midnight.

We are a nation of somnambulists walking in our sleep from down till midday from dawn till midday!

Then the chairman opens the debate to all those gathered around the Oblong table.

"Er, through you Mr Chairman, I would like to thank the presenter. I agree that its very important to have these principles in Setswana so that everyone can understand and appreciate them.

After all they are not for us but the general membership who will then set up structures on the ground to facilitate implementation," comments one fellow who must either be a civil servant or a civil member of society.

"My only problem with some of Tshini's principles is that they can be misconstrued to mean other things.

For example, Rekisang can further suggest that we should be so commercial that we will end up selling ourselves and our souls to the highest bidder. I'm also worried about this thing ya Reetsang.

On top of listening to people all the time  they should listen to us! We have come of age after 40 years and the world should listen to us because we have plenty to say.

You can hear it in our music and songs, our dances and our art. It is also in our unique brand of politics.

Also Reetsang sounds so parternalistic. It's like there's this father figure who is always watching us and wanting us to listen to him all the time.No man, it should work both ways.

And then there's Robalang. Rra, as any Motswana will tell you, there's no kgomo ya boroko.

You will not slaughter the fattest cow if you are always sleeping, instead you are the one who will get fat and obese from lack of activity. 

Editor's Comment
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