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On the importance of wills, marriages of convenience and the boggling entitlement culture

Keletso Thobega

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I recently read some magazine article to the effect that late jazz icon Oliver Mtukudzi’s will states that he left everything to his wife and nothing for his children.

I would later come across a social media post where a few people discussed this. Some found it strange and the common argument was why he did not leave anything for his children. Was he obliged to? His widow probably needs more material support because she is old and probably won’t be able to fend for herself the way that a younger person could. It is up to her, as the chief beneficiary from his estate, to decide if and she will share what she got with their children. The late Tuku probably loved and respected his woman who stood with him through thick and thin and wanted her to live comfortably once he was not there to take care of her.

It is often believed that children should be taken care of by their parents, from a Biblical and social point of view. Which makes sense. Why sire children that you cannot take of anyways? Sadly, some children are charity cases and expect to be trust fund babies. Getting something from your parents is welcome but it should not be an expectation or a demand. Most black people do not seem to realise this, but writing down a will once you have accrued assets and are still healthy (particularly sound in mind) is important.

I have heard of and observed tragic cases in many families where one person, who was a breadwinner or well off, did not leave behind a will and family members or even strangers start fighting for the assets. There are many problematic opportunistic parasites out there. Batho ba bangwe ba rata dithoto tsa batho! Kana batho ba kgona go lwa ntwa hela ya ntsa le katse… e re o botsa gore kgang ke eng, a bo o utlwa gore ke dithoto. This is one reason that I personally would never get married in community of property regardless of how well off my partner is. I don’t mind the occasional gift but his assets are his and he earned them. If at all my partner wants to list any of his assets by my name in his will, he should inform me beforehand and if at all I agree, we will engage
a lawyer.

Simple.As difficult as it is for simpletons to believe, it is not everyone who is driven by hunger and greed. Strangely, some people think marrying out of community means that you do not love your partner but I beg to differ. You can love someone without the complications of wanting to take ownership of their assets the same way you can love someone and not be driven by a desire for
what they have – what car they drive, the kind of house they live in, the clothes they wear etc… if those things matter foremost to you, is it really love?

At the end of the day, we should inculcate a culture of independence and do away with entitlement complex. Ideally, everyone should strive to eke their own living and do something for themselves, however small it might be. Those who have agreements with their partners should officialise them. A written and filed agreement saves people a whole lot of trouble. It also protects one’s loved ones
from dodgy characters. Batho ba bangwe ga ba batle go itirela sepe mo botshelong, motho o lebile gore o ka ja eng mo go mang. Mme motho wa teng a kgona go tlhola hela a kaname!

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Bureaucracy impedes youth empowerment – Tshekedi

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama said government’s bureaucracy hinders youth participation in economic development.

Speaking during the Youth Awards on Saturday, Khama explained that the society has adopted the word bureaucracy and they live with it. “This word has contradicting terms with the way the youth think, this confirms the space between the youth and how we deliver. The honour is on us to deliver an enabling environment, we talk so much, we have had discussions in pitsos,”

He pointed out that, financial institutions have difficult regulations that hinder youth to access funding for their respective businesses. “When a youth approaches a financial institution, the first question would be where is your pay slip?, secondly, what security do you have? And they will say it’s bank regulations. We live in the bureaucracies of these regulations and it has become our DNA,” said Khama.

Over the years, government has introduced programmes that promote youth entrepreneurship, which include financing, capacity building, market access and marketing an outreach. Currently, the ministry is reviewing the Youth Development Fund to improve training of beneficiaries and encourage consortia and cooperatives.

Recently, when presenting the budget for the Ministry, Khama highlighted that the youth cohort constitutes the majority of the population and this is supposed to present the country with an opportunity to harness the demographic dividend. “Their energy, educational level and technology skills should be exploited to propel our country forward,” he said.

He also indicated that the youth is faced with socio-economic challenges including unemployment, poverty, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. “Therefore we must intervene to give them the best possible opportunities to achieve their dreams and help our country realize the ideals of vision 2036.”

Meanwhile, government disburses P120 million yearly as funding to youth enterprises and about 919 businesses have been funded in the last financial year. The youth have raised a lot of challenges in doing business, including high rentals for operating space, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities.

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Have a clear succession plan for peaceful transition

Matshediso Fologang

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How have we as a people treated succession? Though in our society succession has always been determined along patriarchal lineage, traditional leadership succession has not always been smooth.

There are known stories where families broke up in a battle for succession. Immediately in my mind comes the last split of the Ba-ga-Malete in 1892. The succession was based on the bravery and not on the strength being the first born child. Throughout Botswana many merafe have a history of succession that didn’t follow the rigidity of patriarchy.

Batswana as a people believe that talk is far better than war. Ntwakgolo ke ya molomo. We are a people who would spend a whole lot of time openly discussing a matter before a decision could be reached. Discussions on any matter put before a gathering of family, clan and morafe was never finalised without thorough discussion. All present regardless of their economic strength participated fully without hindrance. Decisions thereat were reached through consensus. Traditional leaders would skilfully announce the collective decision arrived at.

The good thing about this method of allowing all to participate – Mafoko a kgotla mantle otlhe and the Mmualebe bua gore monalentle a tswe lagwe – was basically premised on the principle of what our current crop of men and women who have read big books would call “participatory democracy.” Democracy therefore has never been an imported phenomenon amongst Batswana. Democracy has always been in our DNA. Regarding succession therefore it has always been based on the consensus of the majority.

The leader though selected among the royal family, his character also played an important role in determining his suitability. As we embraced western type democracy we have in our different political homes defined our succession plans. As a nation we have defined our processes of succession. In the age and era where, unlike in our tradition, we have written these, we do not therefore rely on memories. Our forebears relied on memories and nothing was ever in black and white.

However, our forebears knew succession if not properly handled could bring strife and instability amongst morafe. We were then not part of a collective of nations and therefore what transpired in our little morafe did not necessarily impact our relations with other merafe that much. If not handled well it could create a loophole for other merafe to wage a war against the morafe .

If any such person who had been overlooked for whatever reason felt strongly about such decision, he would either remain part of the morafe as a junior leader or migrate with his supporters. Peace would prevail. Even those who had held fort for their younger siblings would want to hand over a united morafe to his successor.

In modern society, a predecessor takes pride in the performance of his choice of successor. Travelling through history one envies the succession of Kgosi Ketshwerebothata Ikaneng and Mokgosi III and that of Kgosi Mmusi and Linchwe II. Such were Batswana leaders who worked together for the better interest of the merafe they led. What now and whither peace and love for the downtrodden?

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