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Peace and serenity in turmoil

Ernest Moloi

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As the world rushes towards materialism, we gradually lose our sense of self or worse, we go further and further from the purpose for which we were created. Man – the splitting image of his Creator – arrives into this world crying. This must signify something besides the fact that the child is alive.

Perhaps the child is traumatised by the thought of leaving his perfect abode of peace and serenity to find his purpose and meaning in a life of turmoil. The thought alone is eerie and can send even the fiercest fighter into a state of panic.Let’s face it, fear is real, especially the fear of the unknown.

When one moves from what one is accustomed to, or from habit to a new venture, fear crops in. Imagine a boy that has lived an indigent life in a rural setting and all of a sudden is thrust into the lap of luxury in the city! Adjusting to that type of life can become a mater of life and death.
In the same breath, the child – a product of love – is unable to contemplate the hardships of temporal life hence it starts off crying. This wailing will become a constant feature of the child’s journey as it progresses into adulthood.

Let’s all be clear about one thing – life is not a bed of roses – we beat ourselves up trying to find food to eat, clothes to wear, house to live in and land to till. Sadly, these trappings of life come at a cost for the human soul. Some lose their souls in their quest to amass these trappings. Very few and I mean a negligible few, are able to master the art of balance and are able to minister to their souls and at the same time nurture their bodies. As a toddler, we have nothing to worry about. Our parents are there to provide for us; we make friends easily because we are unadulterated, but as we grow up, we begin to make choices that stray us from our humanity.

For example, we start to realise that our neighbours don’t speak the same language or don’t have the same skin pigment as us. We notice that our classmates or workmates are rich and by rich we mean that they have silver and gold and are able to buy all the things that they need without a hassle whilst we go to bed hungry or cannot get a job.Hard as we may try, we fail to satiate this void because we turn to material things. The answer lies not in accumulating the knowledge and wisdom of this world, rather it comes in finding our way back to our purpose of life. Why were I created a human being and not an elephant or a tree or fish or bird, after all we are just mere creatures.

Don’t let us deceive ourselves, true happiness can’t be found in owning all the riches of this world! What good does it benefit a man who goes and wins the world and loses his soul?
The greatest task ahead for all of humanity is to return to its creator, yet we have become so arrogant and stubborn some of us think that by owning a ranch; the latest top of the range SUV or owning estates all over the country and abroad can fill the emptiness we feel when we are all alone.

Botswana is reverred throughout the world as an oasis of peace and tranquility in a region of madness. His Grace has sustained us this far. Our national anthem holds this our land, as an inheritance of our forefathers and implores us to maintaain it in perpetual peace. But I want to challenge all and sundry to ask ourselves what our role is in maintaining the peace that has been our national heritage for so long? Do we speak out when evil in high and low places and in whatever guise or disguise – rears its ugly head?

Are we bold enough to defend the laws of natural justice – the unwritten code that demands equal treatment of all men, or do we sulk and find comfort in our cocoons when danger lurks – fence sitting and afraid to be seen to be rabble rousers? Peace comes at a price, we must contend with this trusim.To defend the peace of the nation, we must first have peace within ourselves, otherwise anything else is an exercise in futility – it’s just like a blind man trying to lead another blind man!

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God hates divorce but He hates abuse more

Yvonne Mooka

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‘I have never recommended or prescribed divorce. How could I as a minister of the Gospel? The Bible makes clear the way in which God views divorce. I have on more than one occasion counseled and aided women in leaving an abusive husband. – Paige Patterson, Southern Baptist Church

There is more to the scriptural picture behind ‘I hate divorce.’ I grew up as a Baptist, actually a member of Berean Baptist Church in Kanye. Although I respect Dr. Patterson’s right to disagree, I doubt that this is the presiding opinion among all Baptist pastors. Patterson’s refusal to acknowledge abuse as a legitimate breach of the marriage covenant convinces a battered wife to stay in an abusive home. Domestic abuse is cyclical. Even when pastors, counselors, and victim’s advocates intentionally intervene, abused women often find the fear of isolation, financial struggle, single parenting, violent retribution, and a host of other factors to be a hill too steep to climb. They feel all alone, rejected and lose themselves in the process.

Women and children are being oppressed by their husbands and fathers. According to the Gender-based violence indicator study conducted in 2012, more than 67 in every 100 women in Botswana have experienced some form of gender-based violence in their lifetime. A high proportion of men (44 percent) admitted to perpetrating violence against women. Nearly one third (29 percent) experienced Intimate Partner Violence in the 12 months to the prevalence survey that formed the flagship research in this study. In contrast, only 1.2 percent of Batswana women reported cases of gender-based violence to the police in the same period.

As we embark on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls, allow me to challenge a popular Scripture often used by church leaders. Malachi 2:16a—“‘For I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel …” This is true because it is what God is saying. However, from my reporting, hardly a week passes by without a case of abuse against women and girls. Rape. Murder. Domestic violence. Abuse is ugly. And sadly, it happens to women even in the church. This includes pastors’ wives. I have had the privilege of interviewing some sheltered at one of the centres in Botswana. These are women who were told ‘God hates divorce.’ Some are not necessarily bommamoruti but ordinary Christian women married to Christian men.

The guy is prayerful at church but a monster at home. His wife and children fear him, yet he shakes ceilings and moves mountains with his prayers at church. His wife is a punching bag. The church leadership is aware but she is hopeless and helpless because ‘God hates divorce.’ The same God who hates divorce also strongly hates abuse. Abuse is when a marriage crosses the line from relationship to enslavement. Marriage is meant to reflect Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32). However, when the picture begins to look like Pharaoh and the Israelites, there is a serious problem. A woman beaten, verbally assaulted, cut off from friends, and/or financially isolated is no longer a wife but a slave.

The defining act of the Old Testament is the Exodus: a deliverance from oppression. The fearful plagues that befell Egypt were in direct response to the ruthless enslavement Pharaoh inflicted on the people of Israel (Ex. 1:13). We even see the hardhearted cycle of abuse as Pharaoh feels remorse and promises reform, only to tighten his grip. Ultimately, God crushed Pharaoh and his army between the walls of his judgment. If abusers want to know how God feels about them, they need only look at Pharaoh’s fate. Let’s discuss this further next week.

I am praying for you that your faith will not fail.
Facebook/Instagram: Yvonne Tshepang Mooka
Twitter: @yvonnemooka
Email: yvonnequeen2003@gmail.com

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Communal duties have become a thing of the past

Matshediso Fologang

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Our society has moved on and has adopted all western values. Or is it a situation where we have partly remained traditional and partly a confused society? What has happened to our traditional communal character? We have become so westernised that we are no longer bothered by anything happening away from our immediate families.

This past two weeks I witnessed activities that left me outright confused. I still have no right explanation for these. In the villages where I grew up, social cohesion amongst the people was part of our being. People shared all the emerging chores and duties. This was more pronounced particularly in times of bereavement and weddings where the whole family clan and the village had a role to play. These roles and duties included sharing the costs of funerals and weddings, and this included each member of the family, clan and to some extent the whole village. In case of death, once such was announced, the entire village would gather at the homestead of the family of the departed.

This was during the days when we had no mortuaries in our villages, and the funeral would take place immediately. As part of the obligation, relatives and clan members would bring grain and other food stuffs to cater for those who would be engaged in different chores at the bereaved family home. This same response was also extended to weddings as the family would contribute towards the feast.

In each of these two ceremonies, it was a given that all family members and the clan were duty bound to somehow assist. For the bereaved, these duties included grave digging, providing firewood, and preparation of the homestead and all the foodstuffs. Both funerals and weddings were not expensive and families never had to worry about the financial strains endured in the modern era.
But now things have changed, and with our society becoming part of the so-called global village, we are witnessing a complete change in the involvement of people and relatives.

In the days where there were no mortuaries as indicated earlier, the expenses related to death were generally minimal. With the introduction of the service, funerals have become highly costly. It is not cheap to keep a corpse in the mortuary and the cost of coffins/caskets are just high. What is even more costly is the catering during the time leading to the actual funeral. I hear Kgosi Kgari III of Bakwena once tried to put control over this. The expenses are normally the responsibility of the immediate family members.

It is sad that all expectations are that one family must outclass another, and this doesn’t come cheap. What is even becoming emotionally burdensome is that even the insurance industries have joined in the fray with somewhat curious funeral covers that enhance the competition. We have actually been drawn into the business of thinking of death and not old age safety networks. People would rather take a funeral cover than a health plan. Traditional burial societies that were started by tribesman and women at the height of the migrant labour system away from home have also died a slow death.

The said communal responsibilities have become a thing of the past and the extended family and village moral fibre is dead. We have reached a level where we even don’t attend funerals that are supposedly not well-endowed (maso a sa nonang).Ceremonies have become the responsibility of the affected families while the rest wait at a distance for the final day where there is attendant food. We have copied the ways of the west but we are not doing it right, but we have also abandoned our own ways. So, in essence, we are a confused lot. We are neither traditional nor a western people. We are just a confused and lost lot!

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