Mayibuye iAfrika

“Mayibuye is another South African song. It comes from the townships, locations, reservations, whichever, near the cities of South Africa. Where all the Black South Africans live, and it’s simply a plea to all Southern Africans, to come together, share their problems, try to solve them.

In the manner and fashion that our great forefathers and kings: Ngqika; Hintsa; Shaka; Dingane; Cetshwayo; Mzilikazi; Sobhuza; Moshoeshoe; Sekhukhune; Kgama; Luthuli; Lobengule, and all of them, would have been proud of.

And the words Mayibuye iAfrika simply mean, come back Africa.”

#Jazz

#Return

#Mayibuye

#Remember

#MiriamMakeba

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Can the Subaltern Speak?

What a time to be alive. It warms my heart to witness my dear sisters, amid a very male dominated and male centred setting, unapologetically asserting their position and breaking the “culture of silence” when it comes to gender-based violence, particularly rape, against women. And not just towards the rapists but also how the victims’ cases are generally mishandled by not the police only, but the courts, men (myself included), community (esp friends & family), workplaces, churches, NGOs, and the government.

Of course, while at best, as men, we can empathize with women, that is, put ourselves in their shoes. We can never truly know what it feels like to be routinely objectified, threatened and ignored. The uncomfortable truth is: this is owing to the unearned privileges that we continue to enjoy at the expense of women (how many of us men have actually been terrified of the likelihood of getting raped?).

Therefore, the logical thing to do in regard to this pervasive problem in Botswana is to LISTEN to all women: the victims, the survivors, the activists, teachers, cashiers, lawyers, maids, ministers, the young & the elderly as well as many more and adopt the recommendations they propose in the fight against sexualised violence.

That’s all we have to do, listen. And learn.

Quite often, as men, we are too quick to open our mouths (again, myself included, as I shut up) without really having any lived experiences of women. And I’m afraid that this socialised reaction we are too good at does more harm than good: victim blaming.

Re baakanya lehatshe!

#justiceforzinedine

#gayatrispivak

Reverse culture shock

“Culture shock is an emotional and psychological reaction to the loss of an individual’s own culture. It involves the loss of familiar signs, symbols and social interactions. Culture shock occurs when unpredictable cues are thrown at a person and the individual does not know how to respond (Gaw, 2000, cited in Mooradian 2004). On the other hand, reverse culture shock can be defined as “the process of readjusting, reacculturing, and reassimilating into one’s own home culture after living in a different culture for a significant period of time” (Gaw, 2000, p.83-84).

In my 11 years here, I have settled in to take a lot of things for granted, especially when it comes to the financial costs: the daily mobile phone calling, wifi in my flat or just about anywhere, “perfect” public transport, eating at McDonald’s, and how poverty shows itself, so to speak.

Of course, I have been home quite often: however, my time at home in both 2017 and 2018 were different compared to previous years. Very.

While at home in 2018 I told my mother of the wood-smoke (mosi) I immediately sensed, I told her of the chirping birds waking me up in the morning, the mooing cattle in the afternoon, the goat and sheep bell in the evening as well as the barking dogs at midnight. I also told my mother of the traffic congestion in Kanye. Indeed, I loved the traffic jam, the birds and animal sounds, but no so for the mosi scent.

In addition, I went to her storage room where together with her mother, my 93 year-old grandmother, they helped me look for ditlatlana, the countless baskets that my grandmother had weaved. I gazed at them for a long time and was reminded of my memorable time in Gasita back in 2017, where I bought one tlatlana from one of my respondents for P100. Not only that but I also wondered why I was never taught to weave baskets?

“Nkgosi ka na ke le Peace Corps”, alluded my mother. While “Peace Corps” would have different connotations for me, what was interesting was how my mother articulated my reverse culture shock. It appears that she positioned it to or closer to whiteness, that is power. I was reminded of sometime in 2015, when I arrived at the Gaborone Bus Rank and immediately started taking pictures non-stop. Perhaps, owing to my socialisation and how I grew up seeing whiteness, I wondered: did I turn white?

Back to my mother, in her home, she has hosted mainly White American Peace Corps Volunteers between years of 1987-1996. She has interacted with them, observed them and exchanged letters with some following their return to their country of origin.

She went on to remind my grandmother that I left home at only 19 years back in 2001 to study in South Africa. And immediately, in 2007, moved to Scotland.

Of course, I am very much aware of these changes, and I believe I am going to embrace them, and not by any chance “hide” myself or reduce myself from what I want to do or feel like doing. So, next time you see me at Kwa ga Walebatla, or Ga Mma Thipadibogale or even at the Bangwaketse Filling Station enjoying mangwinya with Petrol Attendants, come over for a selfie.

Of course, as much as I am interested in the experiences of Batswana abroad and how we navigate(d) our ways in successfully settling in host countries I am also interested in how the Batswana returnees transit to a smooth adjustment.

To the same extent I have changed while away from home, I believe home has also changed.

Beef with Botswana Beef?

Why is is that in 2018, high quality beef that is imported by the UK from countries such as Botswana is (potentially?) mislabelled as “British beef”?

In Botswana, the mood is generally celebratory when the important market for the country’s beef, EU, is mentioned.

Since independence, the EU (the UK in particular) has been the main beef market for Botswana.

According to the UK BEEF LABELLING GUIDE(BL1):

“Beef imported from a non-EC country for which not all the compulsory labelling information is available…. you must label with the wording “Origin: Non-EC” and Slaughtered in [Botswana]. You should also supply a reference number or code when the beef is cut or repackaged after import.”

While British beef label obviously appeals to the market and is probably more profitable, is not labelling Botswana beef accordingly robbing the country of its “shine”? Is value lost as soon as the meat reaches UK shores?

Or perhaps the question should be: where does beef imported from Botswana end in the UK? Where can one buy it?

Perhaps, should we, as citizens of Botswana, simply be grateful that there is a privileged lucrative EU beef market for Botswana and not ask any questions?

While imported beef is “obviously” -recut and repackaged”, is developing countries such as Botswana not denied their development by not disclosing and positioning them as beef producing countries, too? Or declaring that the tender sirloin steak comes from Botswana will suddenly make it lose taste?

#britishbeef

#botswanabeef

One day I will

One day I will finally visit the Okavango Delta

One day I will visit the northern part of Botswana

One day I will take the long trip to Ngamiland District

One day I will take a long stroll along the banks of Thamalakane

One day I will enjoy a sunset cruise over the Okavango Delta in the iconic mokoro

One day I will sit down with the adept Wayei mokoro polers and together enjoy the Okavango Bream

You see, long before Facebook, Instagram or Twitter reminded me of the beauty of this wetland and sorrounding areas

At primary, I was patiently taught of the delta and fine areas such as Chobe National Park

I was taught that the unique delta form the basis of livelihoods of the local population such as the Hambukushu people whose name we enjoyed repeating

Patiently, I was taught of the Moremi Game Reserve

I was taught of the Mabuasehube Game Reserve

I was taught of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

I was also taught of the red dunes of the great harsh Kgalagadi Desert

Yes, one day I will ride a horse across the thorn bush landscapes of the Kgalagadi Desert

Perhaps without thinking critically, I took great pleasure in drawing the Mogwaafatshe

My small eyes widened as the strict Madam eloquently narrated how the traditional Basarwa were nomadic hunter and gatherers

While at Tlhomo Junior Secondary School, we took a school trip

The school trip was to the Hyundai Motor Plant in Gaborone

Sometimes I wonder, whether a trip to see how the mokoro was manufactured in the Okavango Delta would have been ideal?

One day I will finally visit the Okavango Delta

One day I will visit the northern part of Botswana

One day I will take the long trip to Ngamiland District

One day I will take a long stroll along the banks of Thamalakane

One day I will enjoy a sunset cruise over the Okavango Delta in the iconic mokoro

One day I will sit down with the adept Wayei mokoro polers and enjoy the Okavango Bream

Photos: Thalefang Charles via Facebook; tourismupdate.co.za; botswana.co.za; ridebotswana.com

#oneday

#okavangodelta

#botswanatourism

Harambee: Hip Hop Pantsula

Between 2001 and 2003, in Midrand, a town situated between Johannesburg and Pretoria, while some of us were obsessed with the American Hip Hop culture, there was a unique and powerful voice that kept reminding us to also embrace our own. 

Quite often, I would give my Botswana Government bought expensive CD changer a break and switch to the local Radio Stations. My favourite was YFM. If I remember well, they even had a show titled Harambee, and to open the show, they always played one song called Harambee.

I remember that the soundtrack to my introduction to South African Hip Hop was the track Harambee. Skilfully sang by one Hip Hop Pantsula, shortened to HHP.

Of course, I would later learn that the concept of Harambee, which is in Swahili, means “all pull together”, and it can be found on the Kenya coat of arms. 

Indeed, together with concepts such as Sankofa, Botho/Ubuntu, Harambee is one of my philosophical foundations that I hope will guide me as I navigate my way through this life. 

Thank you HHP. Ke wena Bosso!!

#Harambee

#RIPHHP

#Bosso

Boipuso: celebrating 52 years of independence

06.10.18

I had a great time. I enjoyed talking to the young radiographer who studied in Glasgow, Scotland, and has been working at Marina Hospital in Gaborone. He has recently arrived in London to study for MSc in Medical Ultrasound. 

I enjoyed my time with a lady, wearing a blue leteisi dress, from Middlepits, who is a nurse in Manchester. Her knowledge of Kanye in really good. She spent 3 years at the Kanye College of Nursing.

I enjoyed my brief conversation with a lady from Kanye. She schooled at Mathiba, went on to study at Seepapitso too. She is here studying for her Masters in Law. 

I also enjoyed interacting with a gentleman who tells me he used to play for Southern Pirates (check photo). I told him my team was Kanye Swallows. With great joy, he stated that he used to strike for the Buccaneers with the legendary Zola. 

I enjoyed my time with a gentleman from Mmathubudukwane. Who also went to Seepapitso. A top chef based in Poland. I reminded him that he is an inspiration. I will take his advice on Wednesday when I attend the Masisi Lecture in Oxford. 

I had a good time talking to one particular gentleman with a guitar on his back. I enjoyed listening to how he chronicled his time in the UK. He mentioned the Kalahari Band. He mentioned Hugh Masekela. He told me of the year 1985. He told me of the time Mma Chiepe was the ambassador. When he heard of my plans, he agreed and re-emphasised that Botswana should be at the centre of what I do. 

This was during the networking event at the Wesley Euston Hotel organised by the Botswana Community in the UK to celebrate 52 years of independence.