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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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Cops are not monsters – Matlapeng

Yvonne Mooka

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Crime becomes easier to fight when members of the society and the police work together, says Sejelo Police Station Commander Superintendent Mogomotsi Matlapeng.

“Police of today go to the people. We want them to see that we are not fighting them but fighting crime, hence we want to join hands with them,” said the police boss, who joined the police station this year in May from Broadhurst Police station in Gaborone.

He said that gone are the days when police officers were feared by members of the community. Supt. Matlapeng is likeable among members of his staff and the community of Kanye. He has won the hearts of many villagers in a short period of time because of his efforts to take the police station to the people.

Under him, Sejelo Police was awarded Station Community Policing award for this year by the Botswana Police Service. “We go to the people and address their issues. As a philosopher and a perfectionist myself, I believe that community policing is the way to go. “We go to schools and speak to teachers on certain issues relevant to the students. Our clusters also visit local wards to teach parents about pressing matters pertaining to crime,” he said.

Other than stock theft, the police station has recorded relatively low crime statistics. The station covers Kanye Kgosing ward, Moshana, Gasita and Selokolela.

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Murder convict, Masilo not going down without a “fight”

Keletso Thobega

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Thabo Masilo did not cringe when Judge Abednigo Tafa found him guilty of murder this past Thursday. Masilo stood erect staring ahead as if in a trance.

There was not a mutter in the courtroom when Justice Tafa stated that Masilo had intentionally murdered former St. Joseph’s College learner Tshepang Motlhabane on 16 November 2012 in Phase 4 Gaborone. In his ruling, Tafa argued that Masilo could not claim that he was acting in self defence when he had stabbed Tshepang three times. Masilo had through his lawyer Kgosi Ngakayagae insisted that Tshepang was his lover and he had stabbed her following an altercation because she had grabbed him by the balls when he had demanded his phone and P100 he had borrowed her.

Post mortem results show that Motlhabane had three wounds and died from a vein rupture. “If it was indeed self-defence, he would have not stabbed the deceased three times in different places. It is without a doubt that the accused had come to the house with the intention to commit an offence but faced with resistence from his victim, he decided to stab her,” said the judge.
He however dismissed the robbery charge.

It remains a mystery how Masilo gained entry into the property, which had a high wall and alarm system. Curious members of the public, relatives and friends of Tshepang as well as relatives of Masilo flocked Court Room 5 of Lobatse High Court for the ruling. The courtroom was so packed that some people sat at the back on the floor.

Masilo, who has lost a lot of weight, seemed to suffer a ‘leaky bladder’ as he went to the bathroom several times, escorted by prison officers. At one point during the long ruling, Masilo stopped proceedings, and through his lawyer Ngakayagae, complained that there were certain people in the courtroom taking pictures of him.

These people were seen by him only. The ruling that was read over nearly two hours painted a sad ending for the little girl who sustained wounds above the eye, on the chest and died a day after the attack. Tshepang is said to have at one point said to a nurse and relative: A lo boleletse mama gore ke a swa (Did you tell my mother that I am dying). Information provided by medical personnel indicates that she had lost a lot of blood.

Tafa read statements by 13 witnesses including Security System officers, police officers, a forensic expert, nurse, doctor, a relative and a photojournalist. All corroborated that the girl had been attacked and had locked herself in her bedroom from her assailant, who was much later found in hiding in the house. Masilo had claimed that he and the deceased were dating and he had loaned her P100 and his Nokia phone. However, when he visited her and asked that she return the money, a fight ensued and she held him by the testicles.

This, he claimed, led to him taking a kitchen knife and stabbing her in self-defence because she did not want to let go of him. Tafa said that this version of events was questionable and noted that only the accused and deceased were in the house at the said time and it would be difficult to determine exactly what had happened. He however said that there was no doubt that Masilo had killed Motlhabane.

He also noted that Masilo’s actions showed guilt as he had hidden in the ceiling of the house when he heard Security Systems personnel breaking into the house, and had also claimed to have drunk poison. He said if it was not his intention to kill Tshepang; he would have cooperated with the security officers and asked them to help Tshepang promptly.

Following the ruling, Masilo’s lawyer Ngakayagae asked for a date to be set for submissions on extenuation, saying that they would present three witnesses. The date was set to 7 February 2019 at the Gaborone High Court.

Masilo, who is already serving 15 years for robbery and rape, appears to come from a decent home. Many of his relatives were in court to offer moral support. His mother, who appeared agitated, has been by his side from day one. Considering that the family is paying one of the best lawyers in the country, it is safe to say that money is not a problem.

Although Masilo has already been found guilty, the fight appears to be for a more lenient sentence as he faces the hangman’s noose. Outside court, different camps spoke in hushed tones discussing the ruling. The mother of the late Tshepng looked sombre and frail. It is clear that the pain has not left her.

Shying away from flashing cameras and curious glances, she briefly said she was pleased Masilo had been found guilty but refused to comment further. An unidentified family representative chipped in that they were happy with the ruling. Quizzed on how they felt about Masilo she said: “We have forgiven him because we are Christians. But we are glad that justice will be served.”

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