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The Dalai Lama no show: Who is fooling who?

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There is more than meets the eye in the way His Holiness Dalai Lama cancelled his controversial trip to Botswana – allegedly due to ill health. Contrary to the official version from Dalai Lama’s private office, The Midweek Sun can reveal that miles away from this country, the Tibetan spiritual leader is continuing to honour his tight schedule. Not only does this evoke many questions, but speculation as well.

Among these are whether there was double booking, or was the Dalai Lama’s change of heart influenced by the small number of tickets that were bought for his event. Only 100 people are said to have bought the tickets. While Dalai Lama’s followers bought tickets with the hope of physically meeting him, they had a shock of their lives on Saturday when a public statement from his private office allegedly sent to both President Lt. Gen. Dr Ian Khama and the Mind & Life Dialogue – organisers of the event – advised that he would no longer make the trip due to exhaustion.

But surprisingly, on Monday August 14, 2017 two days before he was set to arrive in Botswana in a trip that was vehemently opposed by the Chinese government, Dalai Lama, who looked healthy, took to the podium to deliver the inaugural address at the launch of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) course on Secular Ethics at the TISS Convention Centre in Mumbai, India. The previous day, he had addressed the Interfaith Dialogue in Mumbai, Maharashla, India at the National Sports Council of India Dome in an address that lasted for 34 minutes.

At TISS, he spoke for close to an hour before taking his seat to continue with taking questions on secular ethics from the floor. In between the two parts of his address, he received different types of appreciation tokens. Throughout the address by organisers and other speakers, Dalai Lama kept on tapping his hand on the seat, when he took to the podium, he was just his usual jolly self, cracking jokes and laughing. In his usual trade mark style, he took his time sufficiently answering all the questions from his audience.

In his cancellation message, Lama says: “I was very much looking forward to coming to Africa again and visiting your country. I was especially interested in taking part in discussions of Ubuntu, which I feel reflects my fundamental belief that we are all interdependent and need to conduct ourselves with a sense of universal responsibility. “Despite my absence, I am urging the conference organisers to continue with their plans, to hold valuable discussion and publish the results.” Examining African values and healing practices in light of new scientific research on social connection and trauma, the Mind & Life Dialogue in Botswana explores the potential of Botho/Ubuntu as a framework for healing the legacy and trauma of wars and colonialism, and advancing social justice and women’s equality.

The last minute cancellation has no doubt hit hard on personnel and organisations that were involved in organising his trip as they either had to cancel some events or offer refunds for those that had bought tickets. Mind & Life Dialogue noted that the conference will continue as planned, but stated that instructions for refunds will be provided directly to ticket holders by the email address that was used to register. Speaking to this publication, Donald Molosi BlueBlack Productions, who had arranged a private concert by veteran South African musician, Vusi Mahlasela for the 100 people who bought the tickets, said the concert has been cancelled and Mahlasela will just render a musical piece during the conference.Playing along Mahlasela was going to be local stars Tomeletso Sereetsi, Punah Gabasiane and Kabo Leburu. On why Dalai Lama is still continuing with his schedule while he is reported to have been asked to rest for health reasons, a statement issued by Ngodup Dorjee, a representative of Dalai Lama for Africa ,states that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had to cancel visiting Gaborone, Botswana for the Mind & Life conference as in the past few weeks, he has found himself unusually tired in carrying out his activities and felt a strong need to take rest. “His physicians have also advised him to avoid undertaking long journeys for the next few weeks, however, it was agreed that he would finish his current programme in Mumbai, India and then return to Dharamsala for rest and recuperation.” In what is a blow to those who had hoped to at least hear from other prominent speakers, Graca Machel has also dropped out of being part of the Mind & Life conference. There was no official announcement from the organisers at the time of going to press. But on Monday night, Machel was removed from the official website.

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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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