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When a woman says: “Will you marry me?”

Joe Brown



My dear reader, what do you think of a woman proposing a man? A bit odd or progressive, maybe? This week I was going through my dose of social media happenings, and while I was still gaping over the Serowe debacle, I came across “news” that Zodwa Wabantwa had proposed to her Ben 10. She is unconventional. She reminds me of those bold women who break rules: misfits often referred to as bo ‘don’t care.’ And it is Ok. I am not saying that to live a great life you must have a rebellious streak but it is best to do things that make you happy first before pleasing other people. Ga o ka nna o ya thata le gore batho baa reng, you will never ever be happy.

From flashing her punani to the world to buying her coffin while she is still alive, there is never a dull moment in her life. The 35-year old is set to marry the 24-year old guy, who I must say is quite cute but is too young for her. I wonder what they talk about when they are together. But their energy levels probably match. Ma-14 akere ke batho ba bo lalavuka…go thembolwa bosigo botlhe. The guy is probably one of those guys who don’t date for love but run with the woman who has money and can fund their lifestyle. Poor thing! But then again, maybe he is seriously in love. Kana lerato le kgona go go ntsha sematlanyana.

Not too long ago, The Midweek Sun also ran with a story on Slizer and her bae Skhebo. Their relationship has always set tongues wagging because she is several years older than him. Many people also assume that she pursued and proposed him because they have mentioned plans of tying the knot.

Often time, relationships or marriages where the man is younger are marred with controversy. If the woman is older than the man the assumption is that he is a Ben 10 and she is a sugar mummy even in cases where the young man has a good job, makes good money and is stable in life. These assumptions derive from the ingrained societal perception that in a relationship or marriage, the man should be older and the breadwinner. Anything that goes against this “norm” is viewed with suspicion because it goes against the grain. It doesn’t help that nowadays a lot of men are “disempowered” and fail at being breadwinners. Naturally, the income dynamics and disparities often have a bearing on a relationship and the one with ‘financial muscle’ makes major decisions. If it is the woman making more money, she will be in a position to dictate the direction the relationship takes. There are many men out there who are married by their wives, if you know what I mean…

On the other hand, maybe women proposing men is not something to be done in a leap year as commonly believed. Perhaps this is taking gender equality to new levels. Besides, there are men who are shy and fear rejection so being pursued makes things easier for them. The “rules” of dating and marriage are seemingly changing. So gents, if you are single, there is hope. Start dropping hints and maybe one day she will go down on her knees, take your hand to marry her. And before you answer yes, don’t forget to shed a tear, hum a hymn and say a prayer because your ‘yes’ could mark then end of your freedom! Gatwe ba chencha fa go sena go nyalanwa, di visa di nna di rejectiwa hela. Khi!



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Bureaucracy impedes youth empowerment – Tshekedi

Keikantse Lesemela



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



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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