Today’s Good Friday not as good as in the past

28th March 2018



As the Easter weekend approaches, I can’t help but remember the good old days of the pre-independence days growing up in Ramoutsa. Good Friday as we all knew and called this period was one of the major calendar events in the then Ramcity, or as the current generation call it, Razzy. Just like the Christmas and New Year Festive periods, this time of the year was a good period to be home. Those days there were limited chances of being employed within the country then known as Bechuanaland Protectorate. Almost all able bodied men and women had joined the trail to the Witwatersrand as “ kitchen girls and garden boys” or mine boys or some labourer is some factory in the City of Gold, Egoli. Good Friday was one of the periods when these folks returned home for the long weekend. This is no more. Botswana no longer export labour, and where it does, it is at an insignificant level.

We no longer have klevers coming home from “Mjipa” as it happened then. During those yesteryears come Thursday and early Good Friday morning a number of vehicles registered as TJ (Johannesburg) TU (Roodepoort) TS (Springs) and others would cross the Ngotwane river and move all the village to deliver bo aubuti le bo-ausi le bo ou-lady le ma-timer. All the time we the moegies knew and expected goodies to come in those boxes and checkers ( plastic bags). This was yet another period when those who had brothers , sisters and parents arriving expected a feast at their homes. It was always miserable for those who didn’t have any family down south or if the truck drivers didn’t deliver any box at their homes.

Interestingly, all that was usually contained in these boxes were dried food as leftovers from the table of the “Miesies” - dikwakwala as were called. Many of us were happily brought up receiving these regularly from our parents. Any family that didn’t have relatives working in Gauteng would envy those who received these. Life went on. We depended more on these in the drought years. We survived. We were never to expect any assistance from the system. We were never a basket case despite the hardships that the colonial Bechuanaland went through. On the lighter side, we were always surprised by the new changes in the faces of our bros and sisters who came home from down south. They had quickly acquired new accents and some funny walking styles. Many came back to see our environment as too rural though they had not been away for too long.

These were the days when everyone who went to the Rand came back with light complexion. For us moegies we were told the water in their new found home was responsible for their change in complexion. Those were the days of facial creams like Ambi Special and many other light complexion creams. In all this, people wanted to be light in complexion resembling their white bosses. Sadly they had this feeling that every black was inferior and a good-for-nothing. We who remained behind in the bundu village were envious of friends, sisters and brothers who appeared more white than us. Such was life. There is no longer anything to look forward to except the annual church rituals. In our Botswana today, we no longer wait in anticipation for any truck from the south delivering dikwakwalla and where lucky, some second hand clothes from the white South African.

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