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Whither marriage?

Yvonne Mooka

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The marital vow ‘For better and for worse’ is slowly losing meaning, considering the alarming divorce cases in Botswana. According to the High Court statistics, over 1400 divorce cases were registered last year (2017). The previous year, 1316 had been recorded.

The numbers had increased from 2015 in which 1190 were registered, which was also an increase from 1088 in 2014. According to official statistics, since 2013 to date, 7000 cases were registered for divorce and the number is expected to go up. According to Statistics Botswana data from the Department of Civil and National Registration (CNR), trends in Marriages between 2005 and 2014, the number of marriages registered was on an increase.

“Marriages increased drastically from 4, 601 in 2011 to 5, 214 in 2012 and continued to steadily increase to 5, 591 in 2014,” the statistics indicate. The trend only shows a downward spiral during the period 2009 to 2011 which incidentally was the period when the world was experiencing an economic downturn. The statistics also shows that the highest proportion of marriages was registered in Gaborone, which accounted for about 12 percent of all marriages. It was closely followed by Kweneng East, and then Ngwaketse South. Ngamiland West registered the least number of marriages constituting 0.1 percent of all marriages.

It indicates that the proportions of males and females marrying differ across different occupations. In 2014, the highest proportion (15.8 percent) of males marrying fell within the category of legislators, administrators and managers.

Marriage for females who were not employed was highest (34.6 percent). The crude marriage rate gives the number of persons marrying within a specified time period per 1, 000 population of all ages. The report shows that the crude marriage rate for Botswana is steadily increasing from 4.54 in 2011 to 5.45 marriages per 1, 000 population in 2014. The crude marriage rate was highest in 2007 and 2008 with around 6 per 1, 000 population. The report at the marriage section includes time series table of marriages that occurred from 2005 to 2014. It also includes tables on age at marriage, previous marital status, profession of both the groom and bride and the district of marriage.

What could be wrong?
Local attorney Uyapo Ndadi states that marriages fail to survive because partners do not share responsibilities. His take is that some partners are a liability to the marriage institution. “When you say, ‘I do,’ you are expected to join hands in making the marriage work, and that includes sharing responsibilities. Marriage is a journey, hence spouses should help each other,” he says.
When dealing with divorce cases, Ndadi observes that marriages break when the men do not provide for their families, saying it exposes their families to debts. He also says lack of communication contributes as it leaves spouses in suspicion or feeling inadequate. He says that poor communication in marriage leads to disorder.

“When spouses do not consult each other on business decisions, finances and the like, marriage collapses,” he says. He also says that absent parents in marriage kill the union. “When you are married and have children, you are supposed to raise them together. That is your responsibility, not for one spouse,” he says. Ndadi however states that couples usually come to him direct on adultery issues. He says spouses often complain that the other comes home late or does not sleep at home. “That’s when aggression comes in because the spouse in question does not want to be held accountable or be confronted on their whereabouts,” he says.

‘In-laws should advise but not interfere’
Pastor Michael Basimolodi of Grace at Work Ministries states that many marriages were destroyed by in-laws. His take is that in-laws can advise but not control and interfere with their children’s marriages.

“When solemnising marriages, I always address parents. They should stay away from their children’s marriage. Once they have released them into marriage, let them give them space. This however doesn’t mean they’re non-existent. It means they should respect boundaries,” he says. Ndadi however says that in-laws will only interefe in the marriage if spouses allow them to. “If you open the door for them, they will use it. If you don’t teach your family to respect your spouse, they won’t. Actually, they treat your spouse how you treat him or her,” he says.

Pastor Basimolodi also states that finances also contribute to divorce. He says that where there is no transparency, shared financial obligations and financial education, there is likely to be a collapse of marriage. He emphasised pre-marital counselling, saying without it, marriages will be doomed.Traditional leader in Kanye Rebaone Katlholo says that divorce is caused by people rushing into marriage, saying that there is a need to introspect before one gets married. He also says that men should lead their families without oppressing their wives.

“These days we’ve got passion killings even among married people. It means men lack vision,” he says. An accountant, DimphoTauetsile, says that women should continue to look after themselves even after they get married, adding that their husbands still need to find them attractive. “You used to wear stilettos before getting married, after the wedding, you are into pumps. Men pay attention. If your husband likes make-up, wear it. Go to the gym together after giving birth, don’t let your sexy-self go,” he says, also challenging men to continue loving their wives and pursuing them even in marriage. He says that marriage is like a garden and needs to be watered every now and then.

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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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