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Sweet reminisces and bitter regrets

Ernest Moloi

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How fascinating it is once in a while to look back on one’s life and recall all those standout moments and sore gaps that punctuate one’s trod from the cradle to the grave!

As a young man back in 1993/4 or thereabouts, I received a call from the office of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana – at that time Prof. Thomas Tlou. It was him on the line. We had not met face to face before then.

He told me he had just returned from a UNESCO meeting in Paris, France and had been given a parcel by Professor Rex Nettleford to forward to me. Our newspaper at that time was housed in the main mall along Botswana Road. I wasted no time in getting to his office!

Prof Rex Nettleford was the professors’ professor! He was the Rector and Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. I had met him in Saskatchewan, Regina – Canada while attending the Silver Jubilee of Gemini News Service, which I wrote for at the time.

It was not only Gemini that I corresponded for at that time, I also wrote for AFP, the French news agency and would frequently liaise with their southern Africa regional office in Jo’burg.
Prof Nettleford had been invited to the celebration in Saskatchewan as a guest speaker and was one of the few people of colour at that conference. The others were the then Editor of the Ugandan Monitor, the Editor of Namibia’s New Era, a reporter from Papua New Guinea and yours truly!

Nettleford stunned me.
He exuded a natural aura that distinguished him an intellectual par excellence. And indeed he was as I was later to learn. Yet he was humble and down to earth to the point of extending a hand of frienship to lowly mortals like myself!

Perhaps it was because as a descendant of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, he felt a tinge of sweet nostalgia, a longing for an Africa that none of us could imagine, whenever he interacted with brothers and sisters from the Mother Continent!

He gave such a profound speech that had everyone in that University Hall in Regina gaping in awe. What I remember to this day, is the absolute silence that attended his presentation – it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop – and that was an African in the Diaspora speaking.All the whites held on to every word that issued from his mouth and afterwards wanted an opportnity to take some snapshots with him. We were honoured that the Professor immediately took a liking to us and didn’t have to compete for his attention.

He walked with us through the University gardens and sat with us at the Hotel lobby imparting and freely sharing so that we could drink from his fountain of wisdom! It was such an honour to meet Prof Nettleford especially after my recent trip at the time to Accra, Ghana where I had studied for sometime at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. Here I had the opportunity to visit the Elmina Castle in the Cape Coast and to see with my own eyes the Door of No Return through which Nettleford’s forebears had gone through to reach Jamaica and finally the Mainland of America, where they would work the corton fields and create the wealth that we envy today from their sweat, blood and tears!

It was also in Ghana that we visited the Volta Region, where then President Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings originated. But at this place we were treated to one of the monuments that have immortalised the legend of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, whom I am honoured to have studied at a school he founded, Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) in Accra.

This Nkrumah was inspired by the writings of the Jamaican, Marcus Garvey when he went and studied in the USA. And so, Nettleford was pleasantly surpirsed when he learnt that I was not only familiar with the works of Garvey, but his pioneering role in Pan Africanism. That is why he decided he would share some of his seminal works on Ras Tafari with me. But back to Prof Thomas Tlou! When I got to his office he couldn’t believe I was the person Nettleford had asked him to deliver the package to.

He saw a small boy out of league with people like Prof. Nettleford.
And that is how I got to know Prof Tlou! As for the parcel, suffice to say the contents have been shared with many Batswana in fact one of the books to this day remains with one Ras Jesus in Gantsi. I must now ask him through this piece to return it so that I can share it with other brothers and sisters.

As for regrets, when an emissary of President Sam Nuyoma’s government met with me at the then Gaborone Sun Hotel and tried in vain to recruit me to join Radja Munamava’s New Era! I mean that was a whole minister for Godsake, but I put country before everything else, only to later lose my job that year!

I spent the next ten years rueing that lost opportunity! But then again, you never know your worth until you’ve been down and out, I am confident today that the world is now my oyster!

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Congratulations on your appointment Nchadinyana!

Joe Brown

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Dear Tebogo LebotseSebego

My dear friend Tebbie, I send my heartiest greetings to you and your bosom buddy Tebbie in the hope that you are both at your healthiest state considering all things past in your otherwise eventful lives.

But more than anything else, I write to congratulate you on your recent ascendance to the position of Vice Chairperson at the BNSC. Ke gore golo fa you are at the very apex of this country’s sport administrative pyramid and I am quite sure even Tebbie must be wondering how you made it past him.

With the new position, I bet things are now awkward between you two given that somehow the man now has to listen to you for a change. Ke gore when he wears the head of family hat to try and armtwist you into submission, you can equally change topics and talk about sport administration issues, where he would have to submit to your authority. Should he return to lead that beleaguered Botswana Football Association, you can use your position to order that he be suspended so that he goes back home to take care of the family without external interference.

Ke gore his position as President of Notwane Sporting Club is no longer anything to brag about around you. You are her boss now and while he bleeds thousands to serve in his inferior position as President, wena you will be paid some handsome allowances to make decisions for him o le Vice Chairperson. And let’s say for whatever reason that Morule guy is incapacitated and you take over as the ultimate boss, you can either use or abuse your powers to make or break this poor Tebbie guy shem. In fact, you should use maemo ao to ensure he does not go back to that bewitched BFA position.

He is just fine where he is as Notwane President. See how much peace there is around you and your family ever since he quit the position albeit unceremoniously? Le go nona o nonne. I guess even your family and business finances improved for the better as he was now able to focus on what ideally should be dearer to him than anything else. Kana rre yoo o kile a batla go go bolaisa baloi ba bolo! Remember how his football enemies, seeking to topple him from that BFA top post, sought the intervention of traditional doctors, witches and wizards to eliminate him! And because you both used the same name and surname, the wizardry missiles got confused on their intended target, not able to distinguish between Tebogo Sebego and Tebogo Sebego.

You got inexplicably ill for some time during that period of heightened tensions between him and his sworn enemies. And remember the people who wanted to eliminate him were the very same who had once claimed allegiance to him, and once his use for them had expired, they connived to stab him in the back. Where are they now? It looks like the gods have turned on them as well. Nothing has gone right for them and suddenly no one wants to associate with them anymore. I guess a new crop of pretenders has now emerged and they will again use your darling Tebbie to ascend to the summit of the ill-fated sport body only to disown him again once their mission is accomplished.

I tell you even he would be a fool to return to that fire again. But you would be the bigger one to advise and make him believe he still has something to offer up there. If any chance my dear, abuse your new position in any how you can, to block his path back there. Use a weakness of him that you know too well, to enact a new law into the election process of BNSC affiliate bodies, that will disqualify him from standing. Kana ke gore I keep seeing flashes of information that suggest he wants to return there. Don’t let that happen. He is more appreciated where he is now than he will be where he wants to go. I know the guy, just as you are, is made of sterner stuff and can parry away any negativity bedeviling the so-called beautiful game, but I am scared for him – that this time the wizardry missiles might just hit him where it hurts the most – and surely you can’t survive that!

It seems to me there is just something to eat within the BFA leadership that people will kill or die for. Yet when they are up there they never have peace. Imagine the strain on your family when he is restless as a BFA President and you on the other hand have to deal with a new wave of evil pretenders who will be jealous to see where you are now in the hierarchy of Botswana sport.
I hope you have not fooled yourself into thinking that everybody is happy for you.

There are those within your circle right now who are already concocting a cauldron of witchery against you. People who ask in hushed tones what exactly you are being thanked for while they claim ‘happy-for-you’ and ‘proud-of-you’ in the public space. The angels who publicly sing your name on social media but are the same devils who under the cover of darkness ask what your electors see in you after failing the local netball association. Batho ba! Tlhe mma rona we see and hear them. Nna mme ga ke moloi ga ke bue ope ka leina – but be careful who has the most flowery words for your epic rise. There are serpents beneath that innocent looking flower. Mme kana le wena you know gore this our Botswana is infested with people who are never happy to see others do good for our sport. If you do anything progressive, you are the enemy.

So I hope as you sit up there and plan things out with Morule, you are aware there will be those on counter-attack mode – invalidators who will always be looking for any wrong in any right you do. And they will make sure to amplify the wrong such that the right even looks insignificant. Baloi! But I know you all too well to know and understand what your ascendance could be coming with. Forewarned, they say, is forearmed. Get down to business with this knowledge that you have three sets of people to appease – those who genuinely want to see our sport grow; those who want to thrive in the chaos that is besieging our sport; and those who just hate you and would want to see you fail just for the heck of it.

Your starting point should be to work and serve with all the three in mind. That way you will go about setting up your strategies of growing the sport industry with the right ammunition to thwart any such negative energy as to dampen your spirit. I know they say the higher you go the cooler it becomes – I hope wena you will not disappoint those who believe in you. Whatever you do up there, remember at some point you were down there crying for this and that, and blaming those with the powers for not helping you achieve your goals.

Do not suddenly forget what is going on ko tlase mma. Be the fiery fighter you have always been and let your documented love for local sport energise you even further to fight fire with fire. Even if you have to step on the toes of the minister who put you in the board; and even if you have to be a pain in the necks of your board colleagues who then elected you Vice Chairperson, as long as it is for the good of the sport you love, then just do it.

It is better to fall and die for the truth than to live and thrive on the dishonesty of sycophancy. I know you to be brutal in your thoughts and such should be the trait that was key to your initial appointment into the board by an honest minister who truly wanted to see things change for the good. The minister put you there without fear of hate nor to seek any favours, and therefore prove to him and those who entrusted you with the VC position that you are just what was needed to help turn around the fortunes of our sport. The problem with the past leaders was the tendency to be ‘too nice’ with the ultimate leadership that appointed them.

They were often afraid to upset those who ‘made them who they are,’ forgetting that actually, it was who they were that put them in that position in the first place – never a favour! How many times have we celebrated the appointments of certain individuals because we knew what they could offer, only for them to cool down and offer nothing once they are up there? Don’t be that kind of person. If you have to resign because for whatever reason you are not allowed to do what you think is best for local sport, then do so. And be public about it. Otherwise what would be the purpose of the appointment in the first place? And don’t hide behind existing laws. Don’t hide behind Morule and say kana wena o Vice fela.

Rona we see you as THE LEADERSHIP. Gore o Vice or eng we don’t give a hoot. O nne s’thulaphoko and make us remember you and your mates as the sport leadership that changed Botswana sport for good. Just do about anything at whatever cost – be it reputational or monetary. Sometimes as a leader you have to be unpopular for doing what is right. Seek no favours, fear no hate. Afterall the haters ba tlaa ba strong! And while at it, again do about anything – anything at whatever cost – to ensure the BNSC affiliate bodies are led by people who deserve to be there.

We are tired of sport codes that are on autopilot led by people who are only in it for themselves. And remind Chillyboy that I have since asked him to see to it that mass national sport bodies like volleyball, netball and basketball receive funds – just P1 million per sport code per season – to run national leagues. That is little money that won’t hurt government coffers. And le wena, together with your colleagues, should push for that. But more importantly, congratulations on your rise Nchadinyana!

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Diligent people

Yvonne Mooka

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I was listening to the late Dr. Myles Munroe’s podcast on Diligence recently. I should admit it left me challenged to revisit the way I do things.

He says that diligent people get up early enough to arrive on time to appointments and to complete chores prior to arrival. He advises that appearing punctually shows others that the person is dependable. In addition, a diligent person takes initiative to complete tasks rather than waiting to be told what to do.

Therefore diligence is simply giving your best on anything set before you. Munroe states that diligence requires continuing on a task that is unpleasant. Even if a task is difficult to complete, a diligent person does his best. If the work is physical and the person is out of shape, a diligent person finds ways to improve his physical fitness or health in order to complete the task.

The book of Proverbs in the Bible talks extensively about the different traits of a lazy person versus a diligent person. If you desire to grow in diligence, the book of Proverbs offers timeless wisdom on how to do so. Without further ado, here are five must-have traits of a diligent person.
A diligent person is an excellent planner

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5 Achieving a goal requires a detailed plan with a deadline. A friend of mine, who is studying Mechanical Engineering, has wisely exclaimed many times, “Plan your work and work your plan!” Diligent people give themselves directions and then follow through on their plans. A diligent person will both plan well and pace themselves, thus finishing assignments without getting burned out.

Produces excellent work
“Do you see the man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.” Proverbs 22:29
Excellent work attracts the attention of excellent people. A diligent person not only works hard, but does his or her best work every time. When you are a diligent, excellent worker, you will be offered opportunities that you never could have orchestrated on your own. Excellent work is truly the best promoter.

Is faithful in everyday tasks
“He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!” Proverbs 28:19
The diligent person in this verse is faithfully tending to their daily responsibilities. In other words, a diligent person will take their everyday work seriously. Instead of wasting time on things that bring no reward, a diligent person will focus their energy on productive activities, even if that work is not particularly exciting. Thankfully, even boring work will reap a harvest if we remain faithful.

Is self-motivated
“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8

A diligent person stays on top of their work without their leader constantly cracking the whip! They refuse to procrastinate, instead choosing to fulfill their duties in a timely manner.
Facebook/Instagram: Yvonne Tshepang Mooka
LinkedIn: Yvonne Mooka
Twitter: @yvonnemooka
Email: yvonnequeen2003@gmail.com

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