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World’s best entrepreneurs don’t have College education

Tlotlo Mbazo



INSIGHTFUL: Vusi Thembekwayo

South African entrepreneur Vusi Thembekwayo has challenged local educators, policy makers and employers to employ new thinking in order to address new problems the country is faced with.

Thembekwayo, a renowned international speaker worries that while Botswana is currently abuzz with the idea of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, and yearning to become part of it, the developed world is far ahead and already talking about the fast coming Fifth Industrial Revolution.“Africans love buzzwords, they always talk and take forever to do what it takes to achieve what they dream of. The truth is, we don’t have our own agenda. “We are always trying to play catch up,” he said at the recent National Human Resource Development Conference that was themed, ‘Competitive Human Resource – a Leading driver for the Economy in the 21st Century.’ His view is that while Botswana has her eye on the opportunities that are availed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the country also needs to be thinking about whether or not the economy enables it to be.

“Europeans and Americans beat us at this not because they are smarter than us, but because their economies are far more advanced and far more developed,” he says. It is high time that Botswana and other African countries set all that they know aside and admit that they do not know. Secondly, be willing to learn, try and fail. “Our countries are notorious for pushing away people who try and fail. But we need to understand that entrepreneurship is all about trying and failing.” He wondered why people performed well while they are employed in the corporate world only to fail when they start their own businesses. “You are the same person, with the same skills, same training and education, same knowledge and ideas that you were using while in the corporate world to succeed.

“Why is it that when you are on your own you fail? This is because of the way our economies are set up. Once you leave the corporate world, your risk profile goes up,” he says. He strongly believes that as long as there is no room for fresh ideas and innovation people will not innovate. The two-time world public speaking champion says contrary to popular arguments that entrepreneurship should be incorporated in curriculum at lower and higher education in order to change the odds, entrepreneurship cannot be taught. “You can’t teach entrepreneurship, but yes, you can teach enterprise,” he says, adding that the knowledge of business is not business.

For example, he says no person can be taught how to act and behave when their financier comes to repossess their property because of a default of payment. He believes that for Botswana to fully embrace entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there is need for fundamental shifts, where for example, tech entrepreneurs are not expected to make profits on the first day or first month or even first year of business. “This is simply not possible,” he emphasised, adding, “Until we fix these things, we cannot build an economy for the future.” Thembekwayo, a venture capitalist regarded as one of the richest Under 35 South Africans believes this is why some of the world’s best entrepreneurs do not have a college education.

“How many Mark Zuckerburgs do you have in Botswana? They are plenty, it’s only that you do not know about them and they have not been given the opportunity to thrive.” Thembekwayo says Botswana needs to take a bold step to shift and change the status quo. “How do you industrialise, how do you automate, how do you talk about robotics and artificial intelligence if you can’t meet some of the most basic things like ensure provision of electricity for all,” he quizzed. “If we talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, these are the questions we need to start framing.”
He urged Botswana to educate young people for the future and ensure that they can think independently and come up with solutions, rather than educating them to test whether or not they can pass an exam.

Meanwhile, Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Minister Nonofo Molefhi said on behalf of Vice President Slumber Tsogwane that government is committed to overhaul and mordernise the curriculum so as to respond to the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as it will facilitate higher levels of research, development and innovation.

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Violence against LGBTI community is fuelled by some leaders – LEGABIBO



Recent remarks made by some politicians present enough proof that violence and discrimination towards the lesbians, gays, bisexual, trans*diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community is fuelled by some community leaders.

These are the sentiments shared by Media Advocacy and Communications Officer for LEGABIBO Matlhogonolo Samsam following media reports that some politicians were against the recent decriminalisation of same sex relations. In a statement, the LEGABIBO officer expressed “grave disappointment in the disrespectful comments made by some of the political figures” as published in The Midweek Sun. In the article entitled: “Homophobic Leaders! – Opposition politicians don’t want gays, lesbians,”  Independent Parliamentary candidate in Gaborone Central, Jafta Radibe is quoted as saying that “homosexuality is not a Setswana culture and that the President of the Republic of Botswana owes the nation an explanation how he came to legalize same sex relations.”
Radibe had complained that President Mokgweetsi Masisi did not consult Batswana before legalising homosexuality, adding that homosexuality is not Setswana culture and that the president owes the nation an explanation how he came to legalise same sex relations.

“The Law didn’t go through Parliament. It went through backdoor. Batswana need to know how it came about,” he said, adding that Batswana are still shocked.According to Radibe, men should not sleep with other men. “When a man sleeps with another man, his anus gets loose and in the long term, he will have to wear diapers. O nna segole,” he said.The Parliamentary candidate had earlier expressed disgust at government on radio during parliamentary debates, saying legalising same sex relations was a huge mistake.

He still stuck by his words during the interview with The Midweek Sun that he is against homosexuality and is never going to change his stance on the matter.“Government should have just let gays do their things the way they have been doing it without any legal recognition. It doesn’t make any sense.“When a man sleeps with another man, where is reproduction in there? But again I hear some of them became gays because of the love of money,” he stated.His take is that any man who has feelings for another man needs help and counselling. He also believes that homosexuality is a spiritual attack and that gays initiate others into it.

The way he sees it, gays should seek deliverance from churches. “I know a lot of men that were once gay but have since stopped after being delivered. Now they love women too much,” he said.
Radibe is not the only one from the opposition who shuns gays. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) triplets Ford, Thaga and Mopedi also mocked homosexuals last weekend at Tshekedi Khama’s launch warning the MC that ‘if he voted for the BDP, he is going to marry another man.’ They would also point to another woman in the crowd, telling her she would be made to marry another woman should she vote for the BDP and Masisi.

Earlier this year, BPF President Biggie Butale also lamented that Botswana was turning into Sodom and Gomorrah because of legalising homosexuality.“My personal opinion is that we are on our way to Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s a terrible decision. We have opened a pandora box,” he told The Midweek Sun back then.His take was that the court ruling is going to open floodgates for other undesirable things such as gay marriages, gays adopting children and gay parades.However it remains to be seen what will happen next as the Attorney General has appealed the court ruling in the case against Lesbians Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), which decriminalised same sex relations.

In response, Samsam notes that “sexual diversity has been with us since the beginning of time and one identifying as LGBTIQ is natural; what is not a part of our Setswana culture is hate, disrespect and exclusion of Batswana. Secondly, the decision made by the High Court of Botswana to decriminalise consensual same sex-sexual activities is a ruling which was made independent of the Botswana Government – the judiciary system of Botswana is independent and just. Mr Radibe claiming that ‘the law didn’t go through parliament and went through a backdoor’ undermines the legitimacy and independence of the Courts. The judiciary plays a vital role in ensuring that laws are followed and constitutional rights of all Batswana are protected.

“Community leaders need to acknowledge the diversity of our society and that all Batswana are entitled to enjoy their fundamental rights to Freedoms of Expression and Identity and the Rights to Liberty and Sexual Autonomy. Furthermore, by claiming that people “become gay because of the [their] love for money” and “that gays initiate others” is misleading and only contributes to the misconceptions about LGBTQ persons. There is no such thing as recruiting and initiating people into homosexuality. Lastly, religion is not to be used as a weapon of hate towards LGBTIQ individuals, but needs to be used to promote inclusion, love and Botho!

LEGABIBO wishes to caution political members to refrain from using the LGBTIQ community to decampaign other politicians, but rather one should be able to stand on their own merit, quality and worth. Politicians need to bear in mind the fundamental principles of democracy, human rights and the respect for rule of law and refrain from making utterances that will compromise the safety and security of others.  A true democratic and progressive leader should promote non-discrimination, diversity, dignity and respect for other all Batswana. LEGABIBO encourages all Batswana to practice their democratic right to vote this coming elections.

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Keletso Thobega



EYEING VICTORY: Shaffie Pandor is hopeful he will become victorious and become Lobatse MP

The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is deliberately being “driven to the ground” through privatisation to render it easy prey for some BDP “fatcats” and their cronies.

This is the contention of Shaffie Pandor, the Alliance for Progressives’ parliamentary candidate for Lobatse. He replaced Walter Sebate, who pulled out of the race two months ago to focus on a business project.  Pandor told The Midweek Sun that now that BMC was being privatised, there was need to audit the institution first. “BMC has a lot of land so if it is privatised where does this land go?” he asked before offering an opinion.

“We know that one of the reasons BMC was driven to the ground is because some “fatcats” including some BDP members and their cronies were eyeing the lucrative vast land owned by the company,” he said. Although BMC’s spokesperson Brian Dioka had not responded to our questions at press time, the beef parastatal has insisted in past comments that the company’s restructuring was motivated by market demands rather than politics. BDP’s secretary general Mpho Balopi was not immediately available Tuesday at press time either. Pandor, who is unfazed by his late campaign trail, said that he could not refuse when his comrades asked him to step in.

He is working closely with seven youthful AP council candidates.
Lobatse is one of the highly contested constituencies in the country. Former MP Nehemiah Modubule is fighting to regain his seat under the Botswana Movement for Democracy ticket.
Orapeleng Kakoma of UDC is promising fresh leadership, while Kamal Jacobs who lost the BDP primaries has resurfaced as an independent who curiously was recently launched by Botswana Patriotic Front patron Ian Khama.

It is a nail-biting race and the tallied results will have many on the edge of their seats when they are finally announced. But Pandor is confident that AP has what it takes to turn around Lobatse which has now been branded a “ghost town.” Economic revitalisation, he said, was vital and the fact that Lobatse is the oldest town in Botswana carries rich historical heritage which could be tapped into to create tourism returns. He also pointed out that shortage of water is a big and urgent problem in the town. He warned President Mokgweetsi Masisi not to touch the funds allocated to NS2 Master Water Project in Lobatse. “In the unfortunate event that Masisi takes power, he should not consider touching that money because it was set aside to improve water in Lobatse,” he said.

He added that many people in Lobatse still lived below the poverty line to the extent that many households still cannot afford to connect power in their homes. The 44-year-old is no political novice. He sits on the AP central committee. His political roots can be traced to Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).  He dumped the party in 2016 following the Bobonong fiasco. He said he decided to join the AP because it upholds values that resonate with his political ethics. Pandor comes from a political family. His mother is a councillor for BDP in Phitshane Molopo while his father is political activist and BNF stalwart Hussein Pandor, known as “Matlhola-adibona,” a popular call-in listener to local radio stations.

His father was close to the late Kenneth Koma. His late grandfather, Soleiman Pandor, was a business and political activist with close ties to South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC).
He passed away in the 1970s after failing to get medical assistance in SA because he was on the apartheid government’s list of prohibited immigrants. Pandor joked that in his family they have “planted politics in their backyard.” Despite being from different political camps, Pandor said they have learned to appreciate that they are individuals with different ideologies.

He learnt political tolerance from a young age as he lived with his uncle, the late Isho Abdul, who at one point was Member of Parliament for Lobatse. “From that young age I saw different politicians visiting our family such as the late Michael Tshipinare, Quett Masire and Khama among others. “Although my political ideologies changed as I grew older, that principle of political tolerance stuck with me,” he said.

Pandor was born in Kanye but raised in Lobatse and completed his schooling at Gaborone Secondary School. He did his Tirelo Sechaba in Sua Pan during which he fell in love with tourism and worked in the Delta for many years but his love for politics remained.
He has served as treasurer for BMD South East region and was once interim treasurer for BMD in Tlokweng.

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