A new year often brings new hope, however, when that hope is shattered by failure and disappointment; it could be a matter of life and death for some.
Although mental health, depression and other related illnesses, as well as suicide are everyday challenges that society grapples with, they are often heightened during times like festive season.
Social Worker also Lecturer at University of Botswana, Kgomotso Jongman says people should not allow societal pressure to weigh them down, especially during this time. “Of late, we have become a very materialistic society, we judge each other on what we have achieved materially than our purpose,” he says.
For example, when people travel for holidays to their respective villages, others have bought new cars; others bring new wives, while others show off their latest fashion and prized possessions.
Jongman who heads Jo’Speaks – an organisation focused on youth development and purposeful living, adds that it is critical for individuals to find purpose and set personal goals that will help them withstand unreasonable social expectation.
“It’s a challenge because my family and relatives may judge me because I have not yet bought a car, and not on the impact and value that I have made in other people’s lives, because that they cannot see. There is always conflict between my goal and social expectation,” he says.Jongman adds that if people are not strong enough, they may crumble under emotional, psychological, mental and financial strain and pressure. The way out, according to him is for people to develop their emotional state and become emotionally intelligent.
“We can only win by emotional intelligence. When you are emotionally intelligent, you are able to withstand such pressure and even laugh off some of the things that may deem hurtful,” he says.
David Mangwegape of Embrace Emotions Support Network (EESN) concurs. He believes that pressure to satisfy people is often detrimental. Mangwegape, also a Social Worker by profession says though depression, mental illness and other related illnesses, and even suicide are not specific to a certain period of the year, festive season could heighten them.
“During family gatherings other family members tend to look down on others perhaps because of what they have failed to achieve in their view.” When this happens, according to Mangwegape, one might feel like they are hopeless and are a disappointment, and that they may not have a reason to live. “It is important to be sensitive to those around you and be aware of the signs,” Mangwegape cautions, warning that some people take such issues very lightly until too late. He advises that people should look out for a number of warning signs including; previous suicide attempts, talking about death or suicide, withdrawing from family and friends, moodiness, and feeling worthless.
He believes that it is the responsibility of parents, guardians, siblings, friends, colleagues to always read between the lines when one gives signals that they are going through difficulties or challenges in their lives. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) 2017 data, 220 or 1.5 percent of all deaths were attributed to suicide in Botswana. Botswana is currently ranked 57th in the world. Generally, the majority of suicides and suicides attempts occur among individuals who suffer from undiagnosed and untreated mental illness and depression, with WHO estimating that more than 300 million people are affected by depression worldwide.
In Botswana, men are the most affected. According to Near Bagali of the Botswana Police Public Relations Unit, currently specific number of suicide cases are not available, however, most suicides emanate from murder cases and attempts, as well as cases of crimes of passion. “Men are the most affected as they hang themselves especially after committing the offence of murder as a result of misunderstandings, particularly involving relationships,” says Bagali. So far this year, there have been 555 murder and attempts and 85 cases of crimes of passion.
This year’s message from the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) has been that all need to work together to prevent suicide. The organisation believes that taking a minute to reach out to someone in the community, a family member, friend, colleague or even a stranger could change the course of another’s life.According to IASP, people are often reluctant to intervene for fear of not knowing what to say among other reasons. “There is no specific formula. Empathy, compassion, genuine concern and a desire to help are key to preventing a tragedy.”
IASP also suggests that some people hesitate to intervene from fear of making the situation worse. However, evidence suggests that this is not the case. “The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress, as opposed to exacerbating it.”
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.
FROM GRASS TO GRACE
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.
FROM GRASS TO GRACE
FOUR ANCIENT SOURCES OF HEALTH
‘Bogadi is not Setswana culture’ – KgosiKwena Sebele
“Send him to prison”
Business Botswana media sectors calls for media levy
News2 months ago
Woman raped by another woman in BMW
News2 months ago
Bushiri’s followers in Botswana unfazed
News2 months ago
Lawyers turn Gaborone South into their electoral battlefield
News1 month ago
Ian Khama’s ‘blue-eyed boy’ Nkarabang kicked out of OP
News1 month ago
Alleged thief attacked in Gabane this morning
News3 weeks ago
Of 11 cattle heads and a speeding Honda Fit
News3 weeks ago
‘DROP THE CHARGES’
News2 months ago
Batswana refuse to snitch