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Standard 4 Phakalane pupil, 9, publishes her first book

Rachel Raditsebe

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A standard four pupil at Phakalane Primary School, Lone Moepswa is proving that age is just a number that can’t prevent one from realising one’s dreams.

The nine-year old has published her first book, ‘The Family Dolphin: The Dolphin’s sparkling necklace.’ An avid reader who likes British novelist Roald Dahl, Lone, like many children, struggled with comprehending and the meaning and purpose of a story.

But after reading a biography about Dahl and his writing process, she became interested in that process herself, according to her parents. “When you read you are able to become a better writer,” Lone said in an interview recently. “It helps you find your true passion, which in my case is to become an author.”

And through that, the Moepswa’s saw a way to help their daughter understand the mechanics behind stories and even help her develop a better reading comprehension. “We started off by writing short stories at home and the different aspects of writing such as developing a plot. When we heard about the Kids writing workshop at Honeycomb Hub, we knew it would be perfect for her”, said her father, Tirelo Moepswa.

The eight week course aims to teach children to brainstorm and develop their ideas into stories. “Lone wrote every word from beginning to end. Of course, we do some copy editing… but as far as the order of the book, the plot, what’s going to happen, what Ella is going to say, the days of the week, that’s all her,” explained Honeycomb Hub Co-Founder, Abigail Burkett. Lone had a writing journal that she used to write down her ideas and draw pictures which slowly formed her book. She also attended weekly sessions with other children where they read their work to one another and provided feedback and encouragement. And the Moepswa’s are excited to see their daughter accomplish her goal as they hope this inspires other kids too.

“It has been quite fascinating to see her put together her story. Some people keep dolphins as pets, but her imagination allowed her to create a world where a baby dolphin can keep a pet as well.
And the imperfections are the best part about her book,” Moepswa added.

“Not criticising children and allowing them to create something that is really theirs, we believe, is the best way for them to express themselves and connect with their peers”. Lone’s story is about a family of dolphins. Ella’s mother, who is ill tells Ella that her father is missing. Armed with a sparkling necklace her mother gave her, good friends and her pet fish, the brave baby dolphin goes on an adventure to find her father.

As for his daughter’s future as a writer, Moepswa said he thinks she will continue to write. “We hope she continues to work hard towards all of her dreams”. Lone is on the same page as her father when it comes to pursuing her efforts as an author.

“I want to continue to write. The most exciting part about becoming an author is that now everyone is reading my book but most importantly learning from it and that makes me happy, “she said.
She plans to join the spring session of the Honeycomb Wood Young writers club and maybe write a book in Setswana next.The Family Dolphin: The Dolphin’s sparkling necklace is available on Amazon.

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BATTLE FOR MMADIKOLO

The MidweekSun Admin

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University of Botswana students are bracing themselves for the Student Representative Council (SRC) elections. Contenders are fighting tooth and nail to appease the electorate. Three camps are in contention to fill the 13 council positions.

Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) Moono-wa-Baithuti has the onerous task of defending all the 13 seats which they hauled at the last elections of 2018. “As Moono wa Baithuti, we have lots of achievements. We are on the verge of getting the student bar open, so we need to go back and fix what we started,” said UDC’s Tumelo Legase who is vying for the position of Vice President.

He said they have advocated for student empowerment policies and are also proposing a third arm of student representation. “We have the SRC and the Judiciary, what we need is the student Parliament so that we have a large number of leaders who can independently attend to problems across the university.” The dark horse in this race is the University of Botswana’s Alliance for Progressive (AP) which will take another leap of faith despite their loss in the previous election.

They are rejuvenated and redefined. Candidate for Vice President Karabo Bokwe said central to their mandate is making the welfare of the student community a priority. “We want to help eradicate school policies that border on oppression, and through new polices call for initiatives that come with enterprenuership benefits to students.”

AP candidate for Information and Publicity, a first year Criminal Justice student Gracious Selelo said they are more united than other parties even at national level. “We don’t have internal squabbles within our party, we are more focused and can deliver our mandate easily,” she noted.

However the ruling party’s BDP GS-26 will come with all guns blazing after an embarrassing defeat in the previous elections. Preparations have been made and the GS-26 is looking to take the elections by storm.

According to their Presidential Candidate Boniface Seane, they come with the message of hope that addresses the current status quo at the University.“The university is not functioning so we drew three policies that embrace inclusiveness. We want to lead collectively with the students, through the student body meetings which the previous SRCs have failed to do. “We will consult with the students with no discrimination.”

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Healthcare system to improve

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The Health ministry has developed a seven-point programme to guide the country in improving the healthcare system, says Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Rabashemi Madigele.

“The seven priority areas will serve as a roadmap and a guardian angel towards improving the overall healthcare system and increasing access to health care while fighting the burden of disease that confronts us,” said Madigele at Masa Square Hotel on Tuesday.

The focal areas include decentralisation; Universal Health Coverage, Tertiary Care, Strategic leveraging on the Private sector; Supply Chain; Research as well as Staff welfare and accountability.
Point-one of the seven priority areas according to Dr Madigele is about empowering the District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) and transforming them into fully fledged Regional Health Authorities.

“In this case, they will be rationalised from 27 to 18 and have the authority to hire A and B Scales, promote up to C1 and manage micro procurement,” he said. Point two is about improving the quality of healthcare services. “The main causes of mortality and their risk factors in Botswana are Primary Health Care issues,” Dr Madigele said.

He added that “Our efforts for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage should thus focus on: Prevention; Comprehensive screening; Early treatment; and Surveillance at the community.”
This he said, would require revamped grassroots efforts in which adequate numbers of community health workers through partnerships with the non-governmental sector will be deployed as necessary.

According to Dr Madigele, the top five causes of death in Botswana in 2017 were HIV/AIDS, Ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections and Diabetes. He said compared to 2007, NCDs among these had increased in burden by an average of 34%. The top five risk factors related to these causes of mortality were unsafe sex; poor diet; high blood pressure; alcohol abuse and tobacco use.

Improving the quality of care, Madigele said will also include the safety and security of patients; attitudes of staff as experienced by patients; time taken in queues either before seeing a health worker or receiving medication and the availability of drugs.

Meanwhile, the health minister revealed that the commissioning of Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is ongoing with the facility scheduled for opening on April 24th. “This will be a phased approach commencing with some services including paediatric oncology, internal medicine, rheumatology and endocrinology, diagnostic radiology, laboratory services and pharmacy”.

A phased commissioning of SKMTH will reduce overdependence on South Africa for referrals, reduce costs and also institutionalise provision of super specialist services within Botswana.

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