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“Govt doesn’t care about Basarwa” – Khwedom Council

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As rain clouds gather above the Boteti skies, the clouds dance seductively but the scorching heat hits hard to dismiss any hope of rain pelts. The veldt is warm with backdrops of the cold. There is little sign of life as it is midweek. Ocassionally, a bird flies in the sky and a forlorn figure can be seen ducking in the forest. The life of the Basarwa in the Boteti is not only lonely but frightening too.
They live far away from resources. “As things stand, these people have to travel long distances to access basic services such as schools and health posts.

Some children get tired and frustrated from the up and down and end up dropping out of school,” said Botswana Khwedom Council public relations officer Banyatsi Salutu. In this forsaken area, having ambitions is a luxury. There isn’t much to do beyond being idle and if one has the energy, fornicating. Boteti is a mineral rich area and one would expect that the standard of living would be better. Instead, the opposite is the reality. Poverty and hopelessness are rife in the area.

“We have had more than four cases of women who gave birth in the open veldt or even kombis as they tried to make their way to hospitals to give birth. A special fare on a taxi is P25 and most of them cannot afford that money because there is no employment; they end up giving birth here, with no proper care,” said Salutu. When residents see outsiders, they flock to them like birds to carrion, hoping to salvage something. Most of the residents, particularly Basarwa, live in abject poverty. The area is undeveloped and improverished and puts a blot on Botswana’s development record. Although diamonds are mined in the area, the people here have nothing to show for it.

Their humour masks frustration and pain. They not only lack basic amenities but also pride and self identity; their dignity is gone, like that of a village harlot whose only sense of pride is once being desired, if only for five minutes. Speaking to The Midweek Sun recently, Botswana Khwedom Council public relations officer Banyatsi Salutu claimed that Basarwa were better off when De Beers operated in the area. “They got us jobs and cared,” he said.

Things changed when Debswana took over. “Basarwa were struck off the work roll and we were pushed out and treated like rubbish. It has been a roller coaster ride since then.” However, Debswana’s Matshidiso Kamona refutes this claim, insisting they follow the National Employment Act.

While she could not divulge much before engaging the personnel in Orapa/Letlhakane, she was aware that the Khwedom Council had presented some grievances. She asked for a questionnaire which she had not responded to by press time.

Salutu said that they wanted government to engage them on issues affecting the Basarwa and other indigenous tribes in Botswana. The Botswana Khwedom Council was registered by Registrar of Societies in 2008 and purpots to represent minority tribes and stands against the abuse and oppression of the Bakhwe (Basarwa). Salutu said it was horrible how issues affecting Basarwa continue to be treated with indifference, claiming that some politicians only showed interest in their plight for political mileage and were not really concerned with their condition.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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