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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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Ebenezer!

Yvonne Mooka

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This year marks my 10th year as an employee of The Botswana Guardian and The Midweek Sun newspapers, under the CBET Pty Ltd company.

I still remember one afternoon of 2010 when I was in Francistown. I was waiting for my graduation from the University of Botswana where I did Bachelor of Media Studies. I had just started a freelancing job with Mmegi in the Ghetto when one of the Guardian/Sun managers Tlotlo Mbazo called me offering a job opportunity. See, during our time, UB newspaper- then known as The UB Horizon was hyped and big.

We distributed it across newsrooms in the country. In addition to this, one of my former Journalism lecturers Julia Cass had advised us to always cut our articles and keep portfolios and later send them across media houses for opportunities. So when MmaMbazo called me about an opportunity that had come up, I knew she had seen my work that I had submitted a few months before closing at UB.

Coming into the Guardian/Sun newsroom the first days was exciting yet challenging at the same time. I found many male colleagues that were also very loud and pushy. Intimidating. At times, annoying. Some were old, reminding me of the set up in international newsrooms where journalists are older. The 24 year-old me then was timid and emotional…but zealous and curious. I was impressed however by the female journos that oozed energy and passion.

The truth about the media industry is that there was a time when it was male-dominated. Women were thrown into light beats and strong ones were tackled by males. Though it was the case with Guardian/Sun then, seeing the likes of Phemelo Ramaribeng nee Ramasu pursue News was encouraging. Her human interest stories to a larger extent  contributed to my love for Human Rights issues.

I worked under the leadership of great men who all shaped my career in special ways. The likes of peculiar Mpho Dibeela who has since gone into newspaper ownership; Mike Mothibi, the sophisticated writer with a passion for farming; courageous Abraham Motsokono who called a spade a spade and not a big spoon; fatherly Ernest Moloi who helped build resilience in me; Mbazo, woman of the board who leads tenderly but with a stern posture; Justice Kavahematui with a very calm demeanor; Joe Brown-Tlhaselo the perfectionist who pays attention to every detail in the paper – in fact it was Joe-Brown who welcomed me the first day by offering me a chair and lunch! And then there is  Boitshepo Balozwi, my editor-turned-friend who every now and then blesses me with pearls of wisdom when ‘the devil wants to lie,’ as well as Dikarabo Ramadubu, our moving encyclopaedia.

Still under this list falls Beatrice Mbulawa, the magnificent General Manager who came with a unique style of managing a media house as a finance-steel lady. Joel Konopo and Ntibinyane Ntibinyane have always been deep hence their now establishment of the bullish INK Centre for Investigative Journalism. In 2012, they took me to Amabunghane Centre for Investigative Journalism in South Africa where my mindset changed altogether. That was an investment that I will always use in my Journalism. Douglas Tsiako also deserves recognition for always believing in me. Special mention of Ditiro Motlhabane for always putting me on my toes about my stories as my News Editor.

My colleagues across every department in The Guardian/Sun throughout the decade, both new and old, have been fascinating. The team is a rare, winning breed. Group dynamics is as real as it gets but I can say unfazed, that I learn a lot from every single individual in our newsroom. The energy here is right. It’s amazing.

So much can be said about my decade in our newsroom. Perhaps, my number one lesson is that of servitude. Journalists are servants. They should serve. At church we say EBENEZER – Thus far the Lord has brought me. Thank you.

Facebook/Instagram: Yvonne Tshepang Mooka
LinkedIn: Yvonne Mooka
Twitter: @yvonnemooka
Email: yvonnequeen2003@gmail.com

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The thrill of being boys in the fields of plenty

Matshediso Fologang

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Boys will always be boys. This weekend after a long time I took a walk from my maternal ancestral mekgoro/ditlaagane to the southwest, much along the recently ploughed masimo. In this journey all memories of the early 1960s came to mind.

Then boys were generally a law unto themselves as they could move all over and invade the masimo and take ripe magapu and nche (water melons and sweet reed) without the owner’s consent. Such was known as “go itaya khutu.” It was never considered stealing but helping our boyish greed. This weekend as I traversed these fields with green ripening products I couldn’t help but reminisce about my youth. The things we did then?

We could just raid a field and help ourselves with whatever was ripe. Such acts were punishable by caning of the wrong doers. Still such did not deter the boys from the adventure. Such was the things the boys did with such impunity. Such acts of thuggery were only lessened by some fear of certain fields that were known to be owned by dingaka (traditional doctors) and baloi (witches). We had serious superstitious beliefs that we knew we could become crippled or die if we dared help ourselves with produce from such masimo.

Walking through these masimo, I went deeper into the area and started remembering the past like it happened yesterday. Activities I was part of just came back to mind like these happened yesterday. I recalled one such day we were herding clan cattle and goats. Around midday we realised our morning fill was no more. We were a bit hungry. How could we be hungry in the midst of plenty? Boys being boys, we raided the next nearest tshimo. We helped ourselves with water melons.

We carried our loot into the bushes nearby. We had a feast.  Just as we were ready to leave, one of us came up with a story that the old lady whose field we had raided was a moloi. It was revealed that she would find out who had stolen her melons. Panic and fear gripped us. She was going to get us all dead. She would just doctor our footprints. Such stories we had heard in our daily lives but for us to be potential victims was the worst nightmare then.

Living in a superstitious society then, the things we did then make me just laugh today when I look back. On this adventurous day we drove the cattle and goats up to the nearest hillocks. Something bad happened. As we had almost forgotten the earlier fear, we now raided the trees for indigenous fruits. We climbed up these trees to pick the fruits. One of the boys accidentally fell down and injured his back.

Being products of a superstitious clan the only explanation we could make for this accident was the curse (boloi) of the owner of the melons we had earlier stolen. The next problem we faced was to explain the visible pain our colleague endured. Tradition had it then that anyone who had fallen from a tree would eat his meals from a bed pan until he healed. We all bullied the victim not to show signs of pain.. We were cruel and it was all about being boys. Such was being boys.

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