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‘Bogadi is not Setswana culture’ – KgosiKwena Sebele

Yvonne Mooka

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Bogadi or bride’s price is not part of the Setswana culture according to former Bakwena regent also former president of the Customary Court of Appeal KgosiKwena Sebele. Reacting to The Midweek Sun article BOGADI MUST FALL, that appeared on the September 26, 2018 edition, Kgosi Sebele told this publication in a telephone call:

“I always tell people that Bogadi does not feature anywhere in our culture. You guys should stop consulting wrong people about this issue. Look at how people don’t marry these days over Bogadi which has got nothing to do with us!” he said, and invited The Midweek Sun for an interview on the matter. When The Midweek Sun team visited him at his homestead in Molepolole, the traditionalist was very straight-forward. “I want someone to come forward and challenge me after reading what I’m about to tell you now. People have been ripped off, it’s enough. Bogadi ga se Setswana,” said the free-spirit.

The 73-year-old man says that growing up, he made use of his forefathers and parents and learnt Setswana history from them. He states that Kgosi KgariSechele I should be blamed for the introduction of Bogadi. “He had many wives, possibly more than five and concubines, something that did not sit well with missionaries around 1885. They told him it was a taboo and that as a Christian convert, he had to abandon all the women and remain with only one. Other believers followed suit and renounced polygamy,” he says.

He adds that according to the Setswana culture, when a young man shows signs of puberty and an interest in a young woman, arrangements are made for the two to be kept inside a hut where they are supposed to have sex and it is done to check whether they will conceive. He calls this the “Fencing period” or Engagement in the modern English. He says that if during that fencing period, the couple manages to have a child, when the elder goes to ask for “Sego”, or for the girl’s hand in marriage, her family would be thanked with a cow.

The tribal leader says that the number of cows is determined by the number of children. “The charging of eight cows and whatever is happening is not our culture but selfishness. “In our culture, men go first to ask for the girl’s hand in marriage and then women saying baya go kopa metsi. From there, the family would say to us, ‘ke ao a nweng mme lo re gadimeng kantata ya gore go na le ngwana kana bana.’ From there, they come with the cow or cows based on the number of children. Then the couple is married. What is lawful, he says, is Patlo ya banna le basadi.

His take is that Batswana have lost their culture. “That’s why there are two contracts. People do both the Common Law and Customary Law marriages, which is total confusion. It’s like getting married twice. “Choose the one you want, and decide as a couple not external influence. Weddings are done to show off. Couples are in debts because of demands like Bogadi. Girls will remain single for a long time,” he warns, adding that Bogadi has even turned into business.

Citing a case he once handled, he says a woman from Ramotswa once said she was divorcing her husband because he wanted too much sex from her. “The man in turn said he wanted his cows back because monna yo o nkgang o nkga le ditsagagwe, and I endorsed his request,” he says. His advice is that Batswana should go back to the crossroads. “Molao sekhutlo, morwa mmoelwa yo o sa boelweng ke maleng,” he says.

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Botswana urged to sign Maputo

Keletso Thobega

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Botswana is one of the five countries that have been advised to sign the Maputo Protocol. Botswana, Egypt and Morocco are the only three African countries that have not signed this Protocol. Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2005, the Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking protocol on women and girls’ human rights, both within Africa and beyond.

It compensates for the shortcomings in the 1981 African Charter with respect to women and girls rights. It includes 32 articles on women and girls’ rights, and also provides an explicit definition of discrimination against women, which was missing in the African Charter.

The Maputo Protocol defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”

The State of African Women Report 2018 stipulates that more still needs to be done to implement laws and commitments to the rights of women and girls in African societies. While there has been significant improvements in addressing issues affecting women and girls over the years, the report notes that commitment to girls and women’s right is still lagging behind.

The report highlights that:
“Three in five countries in Africa do not criminalise rape, young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected by HIV in comparison to men in the same age group, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa and that gender based violence and sexual assault still affects women more”.

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Mama Rampa, the Good

Yvonne Mooka

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NOBLE CALLING: Martha Rampa on a mission to rescue the underprivileged

Martha Rampa, project manager at AAP Home Based Care and Family Life Programme quit her nursing job over ten years ago to attend to the needs of orphans, poor and sick.

AAP has 3119 orphans and underprivileged children from South East, Kweneng, Kanye and Kgalagadi districts. The Non-Governmental Organisation aims at supporting, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, nursing care, counselling and supporting destitute, terminally ill patients and orphaned children.

According to Rampa, the thrust of the practice is the link between the patient and the clinical management services. “It is a person-centred approach, which ensures that patients receive the appropriate service in a supportive and effective manner. Destitute and orphaned children have over time become integral part AAP programmes,” she said.

Last Saturday, she organised an appreciation dinner for donors. It was a colourful event where beneficiaries had also come to testify about the way their lives have changed since they were enrolled.

One of the young girls said that she had given up on life as she was from a poor family. The under 15 girl said that through AAP, she managed to continue and is exceling at school. A young man under 20 said that he was moved from a settlement where he could not focus on his studies because of his family background.

AAP put him through a different school that has boarding. “At AAP, we call her mama Rampa. She is our mother and we are so blessed to have her,” he said at the event in Gaborone.

The primary aim of AAP is to rehabilitate and develop children in difficult circumstances such as orphaned children, street children, economically poor and socially oppressed children and work for the eradication of child labour and child exploitation.

Rampa said the vision is to help and give many more children a real and loving home which helps them to live and grow up to be free, healthy and independent individuals; to influence behavioural change of individuals, especially those in the realm of sex and family life and to introduce a change that will bring a transformation, which alleviates the impact of HIV/Aids infection and stops the spread of the virus within the community.

She said there were local companies that had committed themselves to giving the children food after every two weeks. Through her gift of counselling, she also assists with providing emotional and spiritual support including counselling to orphans, destitute, terminally ill and the poor. She also prays for them.

She said that since the project started in 2000, the focus was on the care of HIV/AIDS patients. Volunteers were trained to take care of terminally ill patients in their homes. “Due to lack of funds in supporting the volunteers, for three years only 45 were full time serving in the project with great results.

“A networking relationship was established with Ministry of Health/AIDS department and Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as well as other NGOs like BOCAIP, Clinics around Gaborone and Church leaders. We effectively communicated our mission to our leaders like Counsellors, Members of Parliament and diKgosi in the areas where we are operating,” she said.

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