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The plight of Gathoka children

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Dikabelo Baganne of Gathoka settlement, a stone’s throw away from Molepolole would love to be a pilot, but the 12 year old girl’s dream seems far-fetched due to circumstances surrounding her family background.

The standard six pupil at Lephaleng Primary School is open about what she fears would make her dream not come true. “I’m suffering. I don’t have school uniform, I don’t have clothes and I depend on donations,” she told The Midweek Sun this week. The young girl has dropped from an A student to C over the years.

She has eight siblings, who have children of their own to take care of.  Her older sister Boitshwarelo Baganne says that she-Dikabelo, has since started performing unsatisfactorily in her studies. She explained that parents at Gathoka neglect their children for alcohol.

“Our parents drink too much. They neglect children and this frustrates them from a tender age,” she says. She narrates that children from Gathoka often start school from the age of 12 due to lack of parental care. Others quit school along the way. According to the older sister, young girls from the settlement resort to giving themselves to men, something she says has led to increasing teenage pregnancies in the area.

The 34 year-old mother of three had her first child at the age of 17. She survives by doing piece jobs in Molepolole. Her other young sister Boikhutso Baganne, 17, became a mother at the age of 16. She was doing Form three when she fell pregnant and had a promising future as a renowned soccer star at school.

Her dream, she says, is to become a nurse and that would only happen if a Good Samaritan could come to her rescue and connect her with social workers. “I love my baby but he is the reason I’m stuck here. None of my family members want to help me with him but I really want to go back to school,” she says.

A community activist from Molepolole Khumo Motsemme says she has visited Gathoka residents several times. She pointed out that children’s lives were unpleasant, citing being sexually molested by Zimbabweans as a leading problem. She states that more than 50 children do not go to school due to lack of parental care and support from their alcoholic parents.

Girls, from as young as 14 have become ‘sexually active’ and this she says, is driven by extreme poverty in their families. A lot of time, she adds, mothers go to shebeens with children which puts their lives at risks. Boys often leave school from as young as Standard two. “These people are a true epitome of poverty and children feel it the most,” she says.

A teacher from Lephaleng Primary School says pupils from Gathoka are generally known to be poor performers due to their circumstances. “They record a rising number of absentees and poor grades. Some come to school dirty and without uniforms,” she says.

Gathoka falls under Lekgwapheg ward in Molepolole. Social worker Goitse Barupi did not want to be drawn into an interview, and referred this reporter to Kweneng senior assistant council secretary Gofaone Kgabanyane, who was reported to be out of the country.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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