O gorogile ka pula Kgabo – more rains to come!

06th April 2018


By Matshidiso Fologang

Just before the beginning of the 2017-2018 agricultural season (paka ya temo) all sort of predictions and stories were made and told about the season. We heard that there would normal to above normal rains. We were excited. But soon our excitement was dampened by what we were told was the heat wave. We looked up the sky every day with hope. Almost all the villages held prayers for rain. Still no rains came. We had fears that we might be heading for a devastating year of drought.In the long gone years we always expected and received rains this time of the year. The environment would be green and all over there would be pools of water all over. As also pastoral farmers with livestock kept in the communal setup, rain meant that there would be enough grazing all over. We were never a people used to providing supplementary feeding for our livestock.

We had good grasses every season. Drought was part of our life and we had means to survive it. In the recent past we have as society had to adapt to changes in our cultural traits, norms and value, due to the fact that our people (who have read big books that we were exposed to) have told us of stories about the changes in the weather patterns. We have been told of things that we do not comprehend. We have heard stories of the gases and smokes that we produce being responsible for the changes in the climate patterns in our world. How could smoke (mosi) really stop the rain? This Sunday, at my ancestral Motswere tree, we sat around the transistor radio to follow the proceedings as the nation welcomed a new Big Lion (Tautona- President).

Not all of us followed the Queen’s language but one thing that people here wanted to hear was how the President would solve the inconsistent rains. We had a heated argument over the explanation that our smokes contributed to ozone layer problem. How could smoke be a problem? One elderly man had a very strong opinion that smoke created clouds and therefore rain. In the old days he argued when we used cattle to till our fields we annually cut trees and burned the branches. All who had masimo did. The argument here was with all in the neighborhood burning the tree branches, there would smoke all over. Later that evening or night, rain would come down in droves. How then could the smokes of today be responsible for affecting the rains.

Of course in the morning of the inauguration we were blessed with some showers and hence the older guys insisting that the rain meant our new President had some connection with the rain Gods and given the chance he could consult and the unreliable rains we experienced in the past would be forgotten. The fact that the ceremony in Gaborone had to be carried out inside the Parliament building to my elder relatives signified a positive future. All we could say was “Goroga ka Pula Kgabo.”

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