High noon came on Tuesday when High Court judge, Justice Michael Leburu, in a landmark ruling which gained international prominence, decriminalised consensual same sex sexual act.
Until Tuesday, same sex sexual intercourse was a criminal act which carried heavy sentences, a maximum of it being put seven years behind bars, and five years for those who attempted to do it. The end of colonial era law, was followed by euphoria in the LGTB society a vast majority of them felt liberated. Free from statutory discrimination and free from retribution for expressing themselves.
The case was brought to court by Letsweletse Motshidiemang, a 21 year-old University of Botswana student in 2018. By the time scores of LGBT community dispersed from the court on Tuesday, a new dawn had arrived. WeekendLife conversed with members of the LGBT society who expressed their thrill after being suppressed for many years now.
“I am so ecstatic and I should applaud LEGABIBO team for representing us and fighting for us so tirelessly. It's about time the society recognises that LGBT people don't just wake up and decide to be gay. It’s never a matter of choice and the society should stop using religion to justify their prejudice on gay people. If my vote matters, so does my rights,” said Oratile Victor, the founder of Mister Gaborone pageant. Victor further shared that gay people have been treated so badly before, more so that even the law was against gay practices and everything tied to homosexuality.
“LGBTI people had to deal with stigma, discrimination, bullying in work places, schools and even in our communities where we live. Being gay has been seen as a taboo or something related with the dark world, hopefully this victory will also be an eye opener to Batswana to understand the issue of sexuality as it should be,” he explained. This issue saw former Flava Dome presenter, Loungo Pitse joining the party in celebrating the victory. Controversial local artist Motswafere took to facebook to celebrate a won battle.
“Thank you to all visible gay people, we take punches for those hiding and those shaming us for being visible and exercising our rights. You guys attended court cases, with Pride, with power and you have carried us to freedom,” he said. Local blogger on Stabane.com Brilliant Kodie highlighted that, same sex conduct being decriminalised is the confidence they believe they have been searching for as the LGBT persons in Botswana.
“Being backed by the constitution is going to enable us to deem ourselves as equals with heterosexuals. This also proves that indeed homosexuality has and still is African. Our narrative has been paused and with this win we are coming out to claim it,” he shared. Founder and the Overseer of The Kingdom of God at Hand church, Ketshedile Modise warned that the society must be careful when dealing with this issue.
“We must let love lead and not criticize, especially those who say they are Christians. If at all you are to criticize, you must have a solution to their problem which you're criticizing. Otherwise you have no right to criticize,” he said. “We must understand that those who are homosexual these days, they were born that way and until they meet a power greater than what they're going through, to change them. They need God. They are people. Homosexuality can happen to anyone, even to those standing out to criticise,” he said.
Modise also alluded that people may find themselves in the same circumstance as well in the future. “This is a test to the hearts of many people. A check to the society, to see what kind of people we have. Are our people intolerant as the outside world is? Thus, this is a check to the position of the hearts of the people. Let's accept other people as they are. Let's learn to love. You cannot solve someone's problem if you have not accepted their state and if you do not love them,” he said.
Reverent Thabo Mampane also argues that he believe that homosexuals are made in the image of God and hence he stand as a God representative to fights for the rights of those who are not respected. “I do not like it if the image of God is disrespected. People always say gay people embrace multi partners, why it is an issue when it comes to them. They have to behave like we behave. I am happy they won,” he said.
Policy and advocacy manager of LEGABIBO Caine Youngman said although they wish to see gay marriage in Botswana, but as for now they cannot. “We have the right to get married but our country is still at a certain stage,” he said. “Today’s court judgement sends a strong message that no one should be harassed, discriminated against or criminalized because of their sexual orientation. With this ruling, Botswana has said ‘no’ to intolerance and hate and ‘yes’ to hope and equality for all people,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.
“For far too long, people entering same-sex relationships in Botswana were discriminated against by the very same laws that are supposed to protect them. This court decision marks an exciting new era of acceptance, which should inspire other African countries to follow suit.” Botswana is the latest country in Africa to decriminalise same sex relations, following Angola in January 2019, Seychelles in June 2016, Mozambique in June 2015 and São Tomé and Príncipe, and Lesotho in 2012.However, another 29 countries in Africa retain laws criminalizing same sex relations, including Kenya, where a law banning gay sex was upheld by the Kenyan High Court in May 2019.
Fastjet Zimbabwe, the award-winning value-based airline, this week announced that effective Thursday, 30 June 2022, the airline will introduce a new service between Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Maun in Botswana.
The new route is scheduled to operate four (4) times a week on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fastjet will operate the route using a 50-seater Embraer ERJ145 aircraft. This aircraft choice is known to provide the versatility to build a sustainable regional network with the right-size capacity while offering customers comfortable seating with generous legroom.
Fastjet Zimbabwe spokesperson, Nunurai Ndawana, said, “The airline is thrilled to introduce direct flights from Victoria Falls to Maun. Using our Embraer ERJ145 aircraft, we believe this route will facilitate more travel between these two tourism capitals of Zimbabwe and Botswana. This route has for many years been only available by private charter.
So, with the introduction of this direct connection, we believe it will be able to spur tourism development and growth in the region”. Fastjet Group Chief Operating Officer, Donahue Cortes commented, “The Victoria Falls – Maun flight is the second new route being added onto the fastjet regional network, with flights between Victoria Falls and Nelspruit Kruger Mpumalanga planned to launch ahead of the Easter travel period.
Despite the hard-wearing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group remains dedicated to the recovery and growth of tourism in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana, and to bringing further connectivity to the region”. The new route will operate 4 times a week on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday connecting two of Southern Africa’s most iconic tourist destinations.
Botswana has been approached to host the 73rd Miss World, expected in 2024. During the appreciation event for Miss Botswana, Palesa Molefe, by Southern Epic Cycling Challenge in collaboration with The High Commission of India, Miss Botswana Management Company Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Benjamin Raletsatsi, confirmed that they have been approached by Miss World to host 73rd Miss World.
Speaking at the same arena, Raletsatsi highlighted that it has been his dream to host Miss World in Botswana. “Miss Botswana is one of the difficult projects to run. There are days I just wake up and ask myself why I am doing what I am doing because everything about me from integrity is often times torn apart.
Then Palesa came along and validated and confirmed that what I am doing is right because it is setting an opportunity for young girls in this country to have an opportunity to express themselves. Four years ago, when I took over Miss Botswana I had a vision, in my vision I wanted the first year to just be us participating in Miss World, second year was for us to participate and ask Miss World to allow us to host Miss World in Botswana, and the third year was for us to elevate ourselves as a country; whilst in year four we wanted to win Miss World.
We could have won Miss World in our third year of office with Palesa, but unfortunately COVID-19 happened. The idea is that this coming year as Palesa will be handing over her Miss Botswana tittle, she will be there to guide the next Miss Botswana on how to prepare for Miss World.”
Raletsatsi pointed out that the reality that Palesa did not win Miss World does not mean she did not do well. “She did exceptionally well”. He said at the end of Miss World there were ten pictures of Miss World participants who had a huge impact auctioned, and out of ten pictures two of those pictures were of Palesa.
The Miss Botswana management CEO highlighted that after the Miss World competition, Miss World responded to their request to host the 73rd Miss World. “They responded and said we can host 73rd Miss World if we are still interested in hosting it.
The current Miss World will be the 71st this year and then followed by the 72nd which is next year and the 73rd which will be in 2024 which has been offered to Botswana. The bigger challenge for me now is how I will be able to convince Batswana to bring Miss World to Botswana.
The honest truth is that Palesa has done her part as a change agent, it is up to us to do our part as Batswana to ensure that Miss World comes to Botswana and is a success. I was joking with one of my friends the other day to say, what Palesa has achieved in one year can take some companies, three to four years to achieve.”
You choose a path to be better or bitter, why do you have to expose a person, what do you gain from that? We react rather than become proactive. Mothers need help! Some said as social media turned into a battlefield this past Father’s Day.
Baby mamas came all guns blazing, ventilating their frustrations against absent baby daddies through social media posts. “As for me I feel women will be applying a hurting heart or she is bitter to expose baby daddy.
There are channels one can follow to solve this issues rather than rushing to Facebook and exposing them, it’s reacting rather than solving the reality of the problem, it won’t help you, after all what will Facebook do to you? Would it give you the food, would it make the father to support the child, but there are channels one can follow like one can consult with the laws then this man will know the right thing to do”, said Obonye Obza Thapelo who is baby daddy of two daughters.
Thapelo further argued that if you seek for definition you will lose a father, “we have our fathers, it’s not about the responsibility, if we are talking about a father on happy father’s day don’t talk about the definition, talk about father’s day, it never say define or describe whose a father.
When you come back to family, we have family dynamics, family faults and family failures, so if you have family failures, for example, if I have been taking care of the child while we were together and it happens we break up and I stop taking care of the child, are you not going to call me a father just because of my failures?”
“If we are going to look for the faults we won’t be building fathers that we want. “It says happy father’s day, it ends there, and it’s not about the responsibilities. A responsible father depends on one, I can be a fathers because I am your mentor, I can be a father that am not supporting financially but I can just call and check on my child, I can be father that have money but still fails to support but am there physically but not economically, am there emotionally but still am a father.”
“Speaking from experience, my baby daddy have never been there in my kids life so in my own opinion I think happy father’s day means to acknowledge fathers who are present in their children lives, man who are there for their children, I don’t mean for the mothers, am saying their children.”, Norah Moloi mother of three cried.
“Women are reactive to this issues because it hurts to be left alone with children. Seeing other women praising their baby daddies and as for us not even knowing what to say to our children, they don’t even know if this day do exist hurts. I grew up without a father too, I didn’t even had a privilege to wish him that, even happy birthday to him too. I think this now seem like a trend, it’s like a culture now because it’s like everyone is abandoning their children,” Moloi explained.
“There is co-parenting, I mean if you have problem with me exclude the child from our problems. For us to have a healthy children who are mentally fit we ought to be in the same page. Let us hide our problems from our children. When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers, that is why you saw on social media even kids venting out about their absent fathers.
“As for fathers who are not in their children’s life why should we wish them father’s day? It is like throwing a seed on rocks and expect it to germinate without proper soil, proper sunlight or even without water and expect to reap at the end of the day.
Do you expect such a planter to be praised that they have sowed anything? You are a planter yes but where is your seedlings, you just threw a seed and abandon it, as for me is a big NO! There is a mistake that men turn to make, they think children cannot see all the struggles mother goes through trying to made ends meets for them and later blame it on baby mamas for using children when tables turns.
“Ask yourself, are we to wish man who denied pregnancy father’s day? What of those who long abandoned their children? What is there to be wished? What is supposed to be happy about the day? We are not bitter, we are asking them to put themselves in our shoes,” Moloi expressed herself.
Adding on Calvin G Zacharia father of one daughter says that was a cry for help to single mothers, he said men who are not there for their children don’t deserve to be wished father’s day since they are not playing their role.
Zacharia urged mothers to involve the authority, “there is no use to pass remarks on social media without taking action. If the parents had messy break up they should find a common ground for the sake of their child/children”. It depresses the kids not having another party not playing the role on their lives.
“I think ladies are bitter, just because some man don’t give us money we start labelling them as deadbeat”, Boitshepho Gasefiwe mother of one. Men have their reasons for not being there for their children. There is always two sides of stories. Some kids I saw on Facebook I feel meddle in elder people’s issues without knowing the facts.
When giving his views, Thando Morgan, father of one daughter highlighted that he feels it depends on someone’s emotional intelligence, some act according to how their baby daddy treated them. “Baby mamas know their baby daddies better to find fit worthy a father title, some are venting out because they suffer alone in raising the kids alone.