We ate Bot 50, now whither Botswana?

06th October 2016
The Fireplace


By Matshediso Fologang -

We ‘ate’ Bot 50 and what a marvellous display of national togetherness we showed throughout as a nation!

Despite the fact that some Batswana out of democratic and constitutional rights chose not to be part of this Golden Jubilee celebration, this Boipuso showed the world that yes, for these past few days we were a “United and Proud Nation.” Across the length and breadth of the globe, wherever our people were, they proudly donned the blue, black and white colours of our unique national flag with pride and confidence. In Brazil, Sweden, India, Australia, USA, UK and other places our citizens celebrated in their special way.

Through this drought stricken once wasteland, we ate this Bot50 with pride. The Kgotla as the bastion of our national being depicted a nation working in unity. The village Kgotlas were full to capacity as the royalty, the people, rich, poor, educated and the least educated rubbed shoulders and cheered and laughed together. At the National Stadium, the displays of all sorts were just out of the ordinary.

The performance by everybody showed we are not all below others. The country’s leader rose above his usual self and was articulate in all manners and to crown it all, he priestly raised his words to the Almighty God not to forsake Batswana and like a traditional leader appealed for rain. In the next six or so hours some rain was recorded in some parts of his Ngwatoland and Bukalanga areas. Perhaps some good omen for the coming twenty years.I was almost crying as I watched these activities through the lenses of Btv, whose crews were exceptionally good and spot on.

Cry I did as I watched the performance at the National Stadium. The pleasant surprise was the display of the political symbols of all the political formations in this our beloved Nation. I rejoiced that the mentality of exclusion was on the day not displayed. All the foreign dignitaries saw the displays and it meant so much as we showed that we are sure a tolerant nation. However, I was deep in me hurting that not all Batswana were part of this. Inside me I cried and went back to the yesteryears when we were one people with a common destiny.

Although we have always had political leaders who held diverse and varying views on the socio-political and economic conditions in our Republic, we were blessed then with the men and women across the political divide who embraced the simple concept of political inclusiveness. I recalled that we as a people have come a long way in our unity in diversity as a society which was willingly accommodative of each other’s views. The founding fathers of this Nation (be it BDP or opposition) worked together and founded a united and proud nation that we are today, through regular meetings (all Party meetings) held then.

I just wonder what happened to those meetings. I remembered the times when Dr Kenneth S Koma and other party leaders irrespective of their strength had the opportunity to sit with Sir Ketumile. Regardless of whether they finally agreed on the agenda or not, this was a nation building process.

As I enjoyed and cried over the celebration, I dreamt of a need for a shift in the mindset of the leadership across the political divide. In my village mind, the simple concept of “saam trek, saam werk” immediately comes to play. Why can’t we pull together and work together now to address our complex contemporary challenges through dialogue and negotiations than impose solutions. The way forward requires strong leadership across the board as the nature of governance challenges require collaboration. We need each other now as we embark on the road to 2036. Let us be all inclusive and accommodative.

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