The Day A Baby Pranked A Whole City

The very dry city of Gaborone came alive last week courtesy of a seven year old baby. Child psychologists will tell you that as part of the child development stage, young children often imagine and see things which only they can see.

This is good. Even I used to have this imaginary friend long time ago. Her name was Magdalene. My friendship with Maggie came to an abrupt end the day my father found me alone in the room, talking to her. It ended very badly.

So this baby, we are told, was just minding her own business that Wednesday afternoon near a busy road when she saw a ‘big snake’ leap out of a nearby pond. Before she could scream SNAKE, the reptile ‘snatched’ (ya phamola) another child before disappearing again into the same filthy pond. This is the official version, the version that was even confirmed by the area police chief. I refused to believe the story, from the word go. That a snake, never mind its size, snatched a child was, for me, the very first red flag! It couldn’t be. Snakes don’t have limbs and are incapable of ‘snatching’ anything, never mind a seven year old kicking and screaming child! I have watched several wildlife documentaries before, not once have I ever come across that spectacle. But then again, this is Botswana. Strange things happen around here. So for a while I really gave this child the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t help that the nation was still jittery while recovering from the terrible student tragedy.

Editor's Comment
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