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Gogontlejang Phaladi’s life story

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 At a tender age of four, popular child prodigy Gogontlejang Phaladi shocked her pre-school teachers when she told them that she wanted to go and look after her paralysed mother.

Her mother Onnameditse Phaladi had been involved in a car accident. “One day I was shocked to find her cooking rice,” says the mother. GG, as Gogontlejang, now 23, is known, has always been a rare child. What her mother recalls from when she was eight months old is that her nanny fed her traditionally-brewed drink because she would not sleep. She would then oversleep and when she woke up, her parents realised that something was not right with her. “Blood tests indicated that she had been fed Bojalwa jwa Setswana and when we asked the helper, she said it was because she was refusing to sleep,” she says. But again, even as a toddler, GG would always clean up after her mess and liked order, according to her mother.

She says that even when they forced her to watch children’s TV programs like Sesame Street, GG would refuse and opted for Molemo wa Kgang, BBC and CNN. Her mother says that even her bedroom was always adorned with pictures of state presidents and policy makers. What she also recalls is that at the age of five, Gogontlejang faced rejection after rejection when she wanted to register her NGO called Gogontlejang Phaladi, Pillar of Hope Organisation. The NGO is mandated with community capacity building, human rights advocacy, promoting gender equality and doing humanitarian work. It took seven years to finally register it. “They were saying she was young and suggested we register it in our names, which we refused. We even sought legal assistance,” she says. After her NGO got registered, then came another challenge: Traditional leaders would not let her address them at Kgotla meetings.

Her message was simple – That the poor, sick, women and children should be cared for. To them, it was a sign of disrespect for a child to address elders. But her mother says after finally allowing her to speak, they started wanting more of her. “They stopped demanding a Letter of Permission and started to praise her good speeches,” she says. While at primary school, Gogontlejang turned herself into an activist for children’s rights. Her mother says that she stood up and spoke against teachers who were sending pupils back for not paying school fees and for coming to school with uncovered books. “She’d go straight to the head teacher and say that it was not the children’s fault that their school fees weren’t paid,” she says.

Because of her rising stardom then, Gogontlejang was regarded as mentally-disturbed by members of the public. People were saying she behaved like an adult and that she should just be a child and play with other children. It was at the age of seven when her parents took her to South Africa to see psychologists who confirmed that she was perfectly normal, and that she is a child prodigy. “They told her that she was seven but had the mind of a 17-year old,” says her mother. Her father, Greek Phaladi, describes her as a humble and kind child. He says that he observed many differences in her from her age-mates when she was growing up. “Even at church, she maintained order and would report her cousins for misbehaving, yet she was five years old,” he says. Not too long ago, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II recognised her as the 10th Commonwealth Point of Light award recipient for her humanitarian work.

In psychology research literature, the term child prodigy is defined as a person under the age of ten who produces meaningful output in some domain to the level of an adult expert performer. Child prodigies are rare, and in some domains, there are no child prodigies at all. The list includes, among others, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, an Australian who first took up the harpsichord when he was just three years old. He composed his first piece of published music at age five, and by his teen years, he had already written several concertos, sonatas, operas and symphonies.

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VACANCY: President of the UDC

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Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Advocate Sidney Pilane says Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) does not have a President.

He revealed this week that UDC leader, Advocate Duma Boko was given the leadership of the coalition on a temporary arrangement. Advocate Pilane who was addressing the media this week, following the expulsion of his party from the UDC stated that in the buildup to 2014 general elections it was agreed that Advocate Boko should be presidential candidate for UDC, an arrangement that ended at the time when the UDC lost the 2014 general elections.

“It was decided that Botswana National Front (BNF) should be given the presidency so that Advocate Boko could be our presidential candidate. The late Gomolemo Motswaledi of BMD was to be his running mate. We made this arrangement in preparation to taking over state power.

So, all that has passed, we contested and lost so it is all in the past,” said the BMD leader. He stated that constitutionally, the UDC has no president because the president has to be elected during the UDC elective congress. Advocate Pilane pointed out that UDC according to the Constitution should hold its congress every three (3) years.

He stated that even all the members of UDC National Executive Committee have to be elected at the congress and as it stands, “there is no president or Vice Presidents because they were not voted into those positions.”

Advocate Pilane said instead of building the UDC brand their colleagues at Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front have resorted to petty issues. He told the media that the leadership of the two parties have taught their members to insult BMD leadership and its members on social media and any other forum.

He had no kind words for the BCP, calling the party a divisive party that thrives on insults and divisive tendencies. He said the BCP leadership had encouraged its foot soldiers to use social media to insult him and members of the BMD.

According to Advocate Pilane, these are some of the things that have made the two parties remain in opposition for far too long without even coming close to toppling the ruling party. He described them as dishonest people who will plunge the country into chaos and that is why Batswana do not want to give them power.

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VIDEO: A Gaborone hotel Prophet caught in the act

Yvonne Mooka

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In a matter that closely resembles that of a South African Cabinet Minister, Melusi Gigaba’s masturbating video clip, a visiting Zimbabwean Prophet, Ronald El Melchizedek of Altar of Grace this week denied that he has been sending nudes to church sisters and demanding same from them.

In fact, the ‘man of God’ has earned himself the name, ‘Botswana’s Omotoso’ by girls that allege he has sexually exploited them. Pastor Timothy Omotoso is a Nigerian clergyman accused of sexually exploiting over 30 young girls from his church in South Africa.

“He is an Omotoso and even though they hide it at his church, some of us have received messages from him asking for our nudes. Actually, he has asked for my nudes several times,” says one church sister.

The Midweek Sun has gotten hold of a 34 seconds video clip of the youthful prophet playing with his manhood. Looking like he is in a hotel room, the man stands fully naked in a muted video that, depicts him speaking and teasing the recipient. In a standing position, he starts off by caressing his manhood, giving it a close up and ends up lying on the bed, facing up.

At least three young women say they received the video from the prophet and that he usually asks for nudes from them. One of them actually says he has been pestering her, demanding to have sex with her. “He likes to send me messages of how horny he is for me. But again, he likes asking for nudes from women.

Even married women at his church have fallen victims of his sexual harassment. I left the church because he disgusted me by doing such things yet calling himself a man of God,” she says.

The woman however says that Melchizedek, a Zimbabwean who holds services at Gaborone Hotel when he is in the country, is a man of accurate prophecies. “He moves mightily in the prophetic but he likes harassing church sisters. It is known in his church. He is married but controlled by the spirit of lust,” she says.

The Prophet responds
Melchidezek told The Midweek Sun that he was aware of the video of him doing the rounds through WhatsApp, but was quick to label the whole thing a scam.“Yes we are aware. Those are scammers from Benin who hacked into my wife’s Facebook account and phone and stole our videos and pictures. So they wanted to blackmail us and we refused, that is why they are doing that.

It is just an effort to harm the work of God but God is in control,” he told The Midweek Sun. He would not be drawn into responding to, or even discussing the allegations levelled against him by church sisters, but instead gave this reporter a mobile number of a person he said was his wife.

The said woman confirmed that the video was posted by scammers. “That was done by scammers. We have reported them to Benin police,” she said. She however would not give the name of the police station nor go into further details.

This incident follows on last week’s revelations reported by this publication, where several girls spoke anonymously about pastors, prophets and ‘men of God’who were using them sexually in church. Many were uncomfortable to reveal their names, forcing this paper to also conceal the identies of the accused churches and pastors involved in the dirty acts in the name of God.

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