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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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WEDDING ROYALE

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Kgosi Bokamoso Radipitse of Bakhurutshe ba Tonota got married to Mohumagadi Koontse nee Batsweleng of the same village in a colourful ceremony befitting royalty on Saturday in Tonota. The special occasion was held at the spacious main Tonota Kgotla, which boasts two permanent all-weather shelters fitted with public address system, chairs and free WI-Fi.

As with his installation two years ago, the wedding once again united the tribe as all members participated. Most impressive was the active involvement of the elegantly dressed Bazezuru women who formed part of the ushering team.

The royal couple arrived at the main Tonota Kgotla riding on a white chariot pulled by a horse. This was after parading in the main streets of the village for the villagers who could not make it to the main Kgotla. The chariot was escorted by a convoy of Honda Fit vehicles mostly owned by members of the Tonota Taxi Association and well wishers led by area MP and Minister of Tertiary Education, Thapelo Olopeng. There was also a convoy of V-8 engine Land- Rovers.

Mohumagadi Koontse is the daughter of Mme Kerotse Batsweleng in Mmandunyane. Batsweleng was born in Kanye at Ruele ward. The couple first met in 2011 during the population census where the Kgosi was absolutely smitten by the gorgeous damsel. The couple is blessed with two sons, Theriso and Seabo. Mohumagadi Koontse is still employed by government as a teacher at Makolojwane in Serowe.

The guest list included Magosi of different tribes amongst them Bamangwato regent, Sediegeng Kgamane, Kgosi Kebinatshwene Mosielele of Bahurutshe ba Manyana, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo, Ministers Olopeng and Kgotla Autlweetse. Although Kgosi Radipitse is a fully fledged Kgosi, he has however not been draped with a leopard skin in line with the custom.

The simple reason is that his father, Kgosi Ramosinyi who retired, is still alive. Tonota chieftainship succession is clearly defined. No one has ever challenged the lineage.

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FROM GRASS TO GRACE

Yvonne Mooka

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On March 2, Katso Kaone Tlhobogang decided to go to a Red Tie gala dinner at Boatle, only to be ridiculed by social media users for her outfit a few days later.The 22 year-old Ramotswa woman had opted for a vintage look, with a loose peach skirt and green blouse that set tongues wagging.

When The Midweek Sun visited her, she explained the incident. “I hate tight clothes. I love colour blocking and I love pleated skirts. Before the event, I went to a store in Gaborone and honestly, when I saw the skirt, I felt it was long and big. The shop assistant however wanted me to buy it. I left and tried other stores but there was nothing for me. So I went back for the peach skirt and I remembered I had a green blouse to match it, so I bought it,” she says.

At home, her aunt Caroline Molefi-Jamieson asked her how she was going to dance wearing such a long skirt but she was having none of it. The aunt tells The Midweek Sun: “She actually danced for me in the skirt and she was feeling so free and happy.” Tlhobogang says that when she arrived at the event, people gave her some funny stares, something she says indicated to her immediately that her outfit was out of place. She however says she cared less and went ahead and danced. The event had a red-carpet and an official photographer and Tlhobogang did not hesitate to have her pictures taken as well.

“The photographer called me and I enjoyed the moment as I posed like crazy! Like Tyra Banks and them!” says the model, who is also a Certificate in Banking and Finance holder. She is currently assisting her aunt with running her pre-school. According to her aunt, last Thursday they had taken their pupils to Lion Park for recreational activities when she found 64 missed calls on her phone. Tlhobogang had left her phone at home. She says that when they got back to school around 4pm, Tlhobogang’s cousin called her saying people were ridiculing her on Facebook over her outfit. “I kept quiet and did not tell her anything. When the rest of the staff was gone, I then told her that her cousin was saying she was trending on Facebook.

But she took it lightly till we got home when she got hold of her phone and checked Facebook,” she says. She reveals that on that day, her niece could not eat and was weak. Her face was swollen, she says. “I even moved from my bedroom to hers because I was afraid she was suicidal. I had to force her to eat by taking her to Nandos the following night around 10,” she says.

Tlhobogang admits she was angry and sad. She states that out of 156 pictures shared from the event, hers was mocked because she was not wearing a skimpy outfit that exposes breasts and butts like other women. “They probably thought I didn’t qualify for the event. That I was a misfit,” she says. Next to her, Phenyo Molefi, her cousin, shared that he too had been taken aback by the Facebook posts. “Actually, on Thursday, I saw the pictures before she and her mom could, and I kept quiet but I was fuming.

If I had the means, I would have gone and dealt with everyone who insulted her. I spent the whole day sleeping because I couldn’t handle it,” he says. As fate would have it, the people that attacked and ridiculed Tlhobogang now have to eat humble pie as she is receiving love from all over the world – not just locally. People are calling her to give her vouchers for clothes. Others are simply sending her messages asking for her shoe size and clothing size.

She has received an offer to go to Turkey by a local minister’s wife for a shopping spree. Others have offered to take her to Johannesburg, Okavango Deltas, among others. “I have close to 80 clothing offers from people calling from locally, outside and countries such as China and Morocco. My tears have turned into joy. It’s so unbelievable how it has worked out to my favour,” she says.

Tomorrow (Thursday), a local designer Theo Bree Khumo is hosting a re-makeover session for her at Grand Palm. “I’ll be wearing the same skirt but she says they are going to change it here and there. Other ladies will come wearing a similar skirt but in flair designs,” she says.

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