The President of Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL), Khumoekae Richard has described the Trade Dispute Act as a “dangerous law”. Recently members of Parliament debated a Bill in which teachers and other cadres were classified as Essential Services.
Addressing delegates at the just-ended elective congress of Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) over the weekend, Richard said the intentions of the Bill are evil and the regime wants to take away teachers’ rights to strike. He said the Trade Dispute Act will bring perilous and hazardous effects and that it spells doom for the youth in general. “I am submitting that it will act as transition line between youth unemployment and poverty. The government is both directly and indirectly sabotaging the very same young children she purports to shield,” noted Richard.
He said when the teachers’ morale is at its lowest ebb, results will reach all time low and those efforts of educating young people will be in vain. “Essential Service classification opposes and defeats the existence of a democratic participative education system. All these efforts will be in vain,” added Richard. He said this move by the government is meant to reduce trade union members.
“This would weaken the humongous strength of public trade unions as it robs them of their valuable membership. Trade unions depend on these government employees as a secret bargaining tool. An angry teacher can’t produce results” he said. When officially opening the congress, President of BTU, Johannes Tshukudu said teaching does not meet the International Labour Organisation standard definition of instruments that categorised it as essential service.
“There are some suggestions from some in the Ministry of Education and government who strongly feel that teachers must have their own Act. We as teacher trade unions are opposed to such thinking,” he said, adding that they rather propose for separate regulations for teachers different from other public servants derived from the same public service Act of 2008 No. 30. “Teachers have been long robbed and we can no longer reverse to Egypt again. We have crossed the Red Sea and we are moving forward,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tshukudu and his camp emerged victorious after taking all positions on offer. Tshukudu was standing against his former deputy, Kenathata Dipogiso who lost with votes of 122 against Tshukudu’s 390. The former Secretary General Gotlaamang Oitsile is now the deputy. The elective congress was held under the theme, “Organising and Empowering Education Workers: A must for the Reconstruction of Botswana Public Quality Education Crisis.”
Making outstanding art through waste material
Following one’s vocational calling can be a tall order in a world that still believes that white-collar work is the only way to make a living. No one knows this better than 28-year-old Khumoyame
Addam Ndove, who is a police officer by profession and an artist by vocation. While he is committed to his work as a law enforcer he dedicates most of his free time to making art. Ndove runs a company called Craft-eyed Designs which specialises in upholstery designing, artistic furniture and décor ornaments, mostly made out of waste materials such as empty oil drums, tyres and pallets, among others. The Francistown born and raised lad tells Vibe that his artistic journey started with a passion he had for art and using recycled material to create distinct new pieces.
One day he got an idea to try out a few art works and he went out to collect raw material and got down to work. “I knew I was talented in hand craft but had never explored my potential. I was impressed with what I managed to do. My work was interesting and outstanding. I also received positive feedback from the public and realised that this was something I could do out of passion and to complement my earnings,” he says.
Ndove explains that Art is a way of expressing himself. “I enjoy art because that is how I communicate and share what is in my mind.” He points out that he is also a businessman so selling his craft was not too difficult as he has the acumen. He however notes that the biggest challenge he faces is that a large number of Batswana do not appreciate art and therefore do not recognise the value of his work. Other challenges he faces include lack of operational space and shortage of capital.
He says that shortage of raw materials limits him from unleashing his full creative potential. Ndove currently runs his company alone and juggles it with his day job. He hopes to one day get an investor to bolster his business so that he can employ other people and grow the enterprise. “I would like to get a spacious workshop and showroom, and also hire relevant employees.” But doing what he loves makes him content. “Bringing an idea to life makes me fulfilled. I always feel great when I see my finished products.”
BOMU awards go on…
The 10th annual Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) awards will be held on 26 January 2019 at GICC. Revellers should expect performances from Lister Boleseng, Nono Siile, Perion, Slizer, Matheke Letane and Kwaito Nation among others. Tickets are said to be already on sale through Webtickets.
The awards will also be broadcasts.
Over the past few weeks there has been confusion over whether the awards will go and this week Phemelo ‘Fresh Les’ Lesokwane officially confirmed that it is all systems go. Artists caused a stir this week on social media when they indicated that was confusion and miscommunication around the awards. But Lesokwane insists that there is nothing confusing going on as the interim committee had been planning the awards for a while now, and had even roped in sponsors.
He said that the awards had been organised since last week but they had to change the date due to a few glitches. Lesokwane says that they had opted for the people’s choice approach to awards. “We have given the public the power to decide who they want to vote for under the different categories. What happens is that when you vote you sms the category and name of the artist to 16565. We are then going to tally the votes when voting lines close on 23 January 2019.
We will then cut down the number of entries based on the number of votes. This will make the process easier for our judges, who will listen to the artists’ CDs and give them points.” He further said that having a high number of votes would not automatically mean that an artist makes it. “One might have many votes but with low quality music and we consider that. We are looking at quality
Lesokwane said that when former chairperson Pagson Ntsie was outsed, the awards were still open. “Registration is still on at BOMU office in Kgolagano at Main mall. Those who had registered can check their documentation.”
Last year BOMU was wrecked by infightings following a ruling that Pagson Ntsie is not the legitimate chairperson of the music body. The ruling was passed in August by the Registrar of Societies. The ruling came following investigations regarding adherence to the BOMU Constitution and corruption claims. Accusations of financial mismanagement and poor leadership also cropped up.
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