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Francistown to get a Mining Museum

Francistown will have a Geology and Mining Museum in Gerald Estate by 2021, the Deputy Director of the Department of National Museum and Monuments (DNMM), Steven Bogotsi has revealed in Selebi Phikwe last week when address council.

The museum is one of the Department’s NDP 11 Projects under the Museum and Heritage Development Programme. The museum will be a specialised one showcasing geology and early mining in Francistown area. Mogosi explained the museum will be a first of its kind in Botswana and will be declared a national monument.

The museum will be called Gerald Estate National Monument (GENM).He said GENM is significant for its unique columnar joints discovered during Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC)’s housing construction in the area, further explaining that the columnar joints are “a rare dolerite geological feature formed 180 million years ago.”

“The outcrop needs to be protected for appreciation and research. The Museum will present and exhibit other rocks, minerals, fossils and other geological material in Botswana for research, public education and appreciation,” he said.
The museum will definitely be a welcome development for residents of Gerald Estates who are reportedly to have been angry at Government for not consulting them when the columnar joints were taken from their area to be erected at Francistown International Airport and Tropic of Capricorn.

The implementation schedule indicate that the museum is currently at design stage which construction expected to commence in 2019/20 while exhibition is expected to start in 2020/21. Mogotsi said P230 million has been allocated for the Heritage Development in NDP11 which also include the Ivory Museum in Gaborone, 20 District Monuments which were approved by cabinet in October 2017, refurbishment of permanent exhibition at DNMM Head Quarters in Gaborone, and refurbishment of exhibitions at Community Museums.

The Ivory Museum will also be a specialised Museum within the Natural History Centre, the Botanical Garden in Village. The objective of the project is to preserve Botswana’s bio-diversity and showcase the story of African Elephant, Mogotsi has said. The proposed developments include a reception area, exhibition halls, offices, laboratories, boardroom room, store rooms and a library. The project will be done in two phases with Phase one entailing the undertaking of a management plan, pre-development studies and Architectural designs for the project. The second phase will entail construction and completion of the project.

The 20 heritage sites which will be developed in NDP11, Mogotsi said they will grow the economy and diversify the tourism product. Development will include access roads, electricity, and water connectivity while basic infrastructure will include interpretation centres, exhibitions, offices, ablutions, campsites, staff accommodation, furniture and vehicles. The Deputy Director noted that the Development of heritage trails will also provide linkages of heritage sites with other facilities of interest.

“There are over 2,500 recorded heritage sites access was developed at only 100 heritage sites through Ipelegeng in NDP10, five gatehouses at Tsodilo, Mogonye, Gcwihaba, Domboshaba and Kolobeng. Access roads, ablutions and campsites were developed at over 100 Sites and 70 custodians at some of the sites,” revealed Mogotsi.

Refurbishment of Permanent Exhibition at Head Quarters project entails refurbishing of the permanent exhibition.  Mogotsi revealed that a consultant will be engaged in September 2018 to start work on storyline and designs for the exhibition. A new interactive multimedia exhibition to appeal to wider audience will also be introduced as part of the project.

“The scope includes architectural modification of the exterior space and once complete the National Museum will attract more tourists and general public especially school children,” said Mogotsi. The Refurbishment of Exhibitions at Community Museums project will assess heritage collections and improve exhibitions at seven Community Museums namely Bathoen II Museum, Kgari Sechele II Museum, Phuthadikobo Museum, Khama III Museum, Supa Ngwao, Nhabe and Kuru Museums.

The project also entails conducting a study to improve collection management and determine appropriate facilities for exhibitions, refurbishing of exhibition facilities and building of new gallery spaces for museums which may require additional exhibition space. He revealed also that his Department is conducting consultations to identify stakeholders or individuals who are affected or likely to be affected by the projects and who may have an interest in these projects such District Councils, Local Authorities, the Private Sector and communities.

“We are conducting meetings with stakeholders to inform them about the DNMM projects as well as obtaining input from stakeholders for ownership,” he said. Mogotsi stated that DNMM will engage a consultancy to conduct feasibility studies to assess the practicality of each project, determine products and services, establish economic and social benefits, identify linkages, and outline activities to ensure project results as well as assessing the sustainability of the proposed projects.

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People with Disabilities Face Barriers to Political Participation in Botswana

23rd February 2024

Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.

A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.

The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.

Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.

By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.



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Neo Kirchway- Defying the odds

23rd February 2024

In the heartwarming tale of Neo Kirchway, a beacon of inspiration emerges, shining brightly amid life’s adversities.

Defying the constraints of destiny, Neo Kirchway, a resilient Motswana soul now thriving in the United States, stands tall despite the absence of her lower limbs. With unwavering determination, she tends to her cherished family – a loving husband and four children – engaging in the daily symphony of household tasks with remarkable grace.

Neo’s indomitable spirit traces back to the fateful year of 1994, a time when medical intervention called for the amputation of her curled legs. Embracing this pivotal juncture with unwavering courage and the blessing of her mother, she ventured forth into a world adorned with prosthetic legs, eager to script a tale of triumph.

Venturing beyond borders, Neo’s journey led her to the embrace of the United States, where serendipity intertwined her fate with that of her soulmate, Garrett Kirchway. Together, this harmonious duo navigates the ebbs and flows of life, their bond fortified by unwavering love and unyielding support.

In a bid to illuminate paths and embolden hearts, Neo leverages the digital realm, crafting a sanctuary of empowerment on her YouTube channel. Brimming with authenticity and raw emotion, her videos chronicle the tapestry of her daily life, serving as a testament to resilience and the unwavering human spirit.

Amidst the digital cosmos, Neo, affectionately known as “KirchBaby,” reigns supreme, a luminary in the hearts of 658,000 enraptured subscribers. Through her captivating content, she not only navigates the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and childcare but also dances with celestial grace, a testament to her boundless spirit and unyielding zest for life.

In the cathedral of Neo Kirchway’s narrative, resilience reigns supreme, echoing a universal truth – that amidst life’s gales, the human spirit, when kindled by hope and fortitude, emerges as a beacon of light, illuminating even the darkest of paths.


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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.


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