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Congratulations on your appointment Nchadinyana!

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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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This lockdown is going to plunge many into depression

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Dear Mokgweetsi Masisi

Today, Wednesday April 1, 2020, marks exactly two years since you were sworn in as President of this republic, and I wonder how you will be celebrating this milestone while under quarantine. Kana right now we could be coming over there to celebrate with you had you not blundered by attending  that State House pool party in Namibia. Your residence would be lit this time, ree ja joy in celebration of your second anniversary since your ascendance to the highest office on the Tswana land. Knowing you, this corona thing would have been shoved aside to allow the world to know gore you are turning two years as President – even after announcing a lockdown on Tuesday. Akere wena you are often thus – you say this, you do the other. Kana gape it would be your chance to show that Namibian President gore le wena you can gather people for a celebration even amidst this state of public emergency. Akere le ene despite global warnings against international travel he decided to host a party and invited you – the result of which you are now in quarantine. I just wonder how Atsile and MmaAtsile are coping with an absent Daddy and Hubby. In fact, we haven’t heard much of our lovely First Lady since you went into quarantine – even at this odd hour when a mother-figure is needed to reassure the nation that all will be alright. O re costile motherlove Morena. Kana if it wasn’t for that reckless trip, we could be seeing her around with you. Jaanong mmanyana gatwe a seka a go atumela shem…
Anyway, it was great to see you looking fit and strong on Tuesday morning BraMEK, and we are glad you are showing no signs of infection. Kana yo mogare e bile ga o tlhaole. It doesn’t care if you are a British Prime Minister, German Chancellor or a Royal Prince. Neither does it care if you are a Head of State, or popular football star or internationally-acclaimed movie star – e ralla anyone Covid-19, rich or poor; black or white and everything in between. So seeing you looking that healthy after that risky Namibia trip has helped reassure us that within the gloom and doom of the socio-economic crisis created by the virus world-wide, there is that silver lining of remembering that it does not just infect unless invited to, and that even when it has infected one, death is not always a given. I realise however that you waited for your anniversary day to pass without impediment before you could institute the start of the lockdown tomorrow. We support your decisiveness nonetheless and promise to abide by the guidelines laid before us to boost our survival chance against this monster of a virus. I see you have even tried to do all in your power to ensure individuals and business entities do not feel the extreme wrath of this Covid-19 and the attendant lockdown. Among the things in your rescue package I see you talk of tax holidays for businesses; access to credit; immediate reconnection of water; decrease in fuel prices; an economic stimulus package; loan guarantees for businesses; restructuring of loans with banks; relaxed payment of insurance premiums for both individuals and companies; provision of a wage subsidy for citizen employees of businesses mostly affected by the virus in order to enable them to retain employees; expedited payments to business entities by government and parastatals … and other interventions intended go fokotsa manokonoko a Covid-19. Yet there are those still in tears Big MEK, who ask gore bone gatwe bone ke ba ga mang. These are the folks who live from hand to mouth, who worry that the lockdown will kill them even faster than the virus itself. Akere Tautona there are people who make an instant daily stipend from clearing the weeds, doing laundry, selling fatcakes, selling cooltime, veggies, sweets and mabudula on the streets as well as those who sell traditional beer? How do they make money for their groceries ne Tautona? What measures do you have in place for them? In your address on Tuesday morning you did not elaborate on that and I pray that by the time this letter reaches you, you would have clarified the matter. Kana these are the people who will not comply because one way or the other, they would have to go out there to hassle. I bet they were wondering who exactly you were talking to when you mentioned the issue of panic buying. You need to urgently come up with a plan for them BraMEK, otherwise they may have to choose between death by hunger and death by corona. Go riana there is one mosadimogolo in Ramotswa who was made to spill away her traditional brew last week, despite having started the fermentation process two days before Trade Minister Peggy Serame decreed that there would be no sale of alcohol. Gatwe mosadimogolo o sale a bedisa ka Tuesday before the ban on sale of alcohol was announced ka Thursday. Her brew got ready for sale on Saturday but your men of the law came hard on her, making her throw it all away. Imagine such instances BraMEK on our oldies who seem to have been left out in your disucusions ahead of the sale ban of bojwala. Others BraMEK say you never even bothered to address their worries against landlords who will still demand rent for their houses despite the tenants not going out to work and make money on the streets. There are also these chaps who depend on our absence from our homes to make a living – the ones who take advantage of our absence to break into our homes to take what they never had to sweat for. Ba re o ba bolaile because homesteads will be occupied throughout the day. They worry that with soldiers and police officers expected to be unleashed on the streets, they may have a difficult time to do any work at night. And in the case these chaps continue to work and flout the lockdown and extreme social distancing rules, what can we expect you to do with them Tautona? Could they straightaway be charged with attempted murder should they test positive for coronavirus? Akere by coming into our homes they would have exposed us to harm? And then there are the ladies of the night BraMEK, although I know you would argue that the law does not recognise them. But hey, they are there and their hassle is real. If you are going to keep their customers under lockdown, how will they survive? Kana e bile these days they are a bit sophisticated – they rent houses from which they operate, where their clients meet them for a roll in the hay. They have to make money for both the rent and their meals. If we don’t aid them they too pose a risk as they might sneak out to go and meet their clients ‘halfway’ and end up infecting each other. As I said earlier, I hope you do something about these forgotten citizens, even if it is it could mean dropping a bag of Tsabana in each household. Note also that suddenly – after you announced the lockdown – some employers out there are beginning to label their traditionally lowly-regarded workers as ‘essential service employees.’ Yet they have nothing to offer them commensurate with the new label. Others are dismissing employees already, claiming the lockdown will kill their business. And with the grounding of public transport vehicles, these companies have no plan how to get their essential service workers to the workplace. Ne kere le bone ba o ba tlhodumele Tautona. And on a more serious note, I worry about our mental health BraMEK. I tell you this lockdown is going to have its toll on the mental health of many. There is too much anxiety right now and there is a general fear of the unknown. With no light visible at the other end of the tunnel, many will be choking in there, worried about the uncertainty of everything including the well-being of relatives, the security around their jobs, the inability to attend funerals of their loved ones… resulting in rising stress levels and possible depression. Some couples will be annoying each other and expect cases of GBV to rise during this period. I hope you will look into such matters to ensure people are given some form of counselling and advice, especially through television and radio. Otherwise we thank you for acting on this lockdown thing sooner than later – although I still feel it should have come earlier. It was always going to be pointless to wait for deaths to go uncontrollably high before we could take the virus seriously. You had no choice but to put us down into extreme social distancing. Mistakes are going to happen along the way, and I hope we will help you go through correcting them amicably together without pointing fingers. And what an opportune time for bonding to happen! Parents will school their children and tertiary students will have enough time to reorganise themselves in preparation of the next time the coursework rooms open. Husbands and wives who all along did not see eye to eye will emerge from this lockdown a lot closer. And during the potentially lonely days, I hope there will be enough and clear communication to keep people at ease. For now it is Goodbye Mr President. Pass my warmest regards to my cousin Neo and her little girl. And sorry about the sleepless nights you and especially Health Minister Lems Kwape have to endure. I really feel for the poor chap; and pass this message to him that we all love him. We see what he is doing and what he is going through. Cheers for now MEK.

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Ebenezer!

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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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