Batlokwa Paramount Chief, Kgosi Puso Gaborone was left disappointed after his morafe rejected the proposed revised Tlokweng development plan during a consultative Kgotla meeting to get feedback on the plan.
The morafe’s contention is that there is simply not enough land to accommodate the said developments. According to the morafe, priority should be given to their land needs as most of them do not have residential plots. At a second consecutive meeting, they made it known that they are not interested in the revised plan, pointing out that they already feel that they have been robbed of residential land; and that the developments that have already been effected albeit not benefiting them but have instead enriched some elites.
When presenting the overview of the plan, Kgosi Gaborone indicated that he was aware that his morafe is against the plan, following the Kgotla meeting held on May 5th this year. The chief indicated that he was aware that the main objection from morafe is the failure to allocate them residential plots. Kgosi Gaborone said while he understood his morafe’s grievances, they should also consider developments that should be made at the village as it experiences growth.
He added: “We should not speak like people who don’t have direction and vision; the land issue which majority of morafe has raised is a clear concern but as the population keeps growing there should be developments in the village so that adequate services can be availed to the growing population as well.”
However, members of the morafe stood their ground, not shying away from differing with their leader. One resident, Ms Moitaletsi Katse stated that the development has only impoverished Batlokwa. “The period within which the development plan was formulated in short period of time is cause for concern, how has the plan benefited us before? We are saying no to this plan because our kids don’t have land, we have been robbed of too much land before and we are landless in our own ancestral land meanwhile there are the rich whose status keeps growing at the detriment of the poor.”
A resident Mr. Abel Lekoko who is also a Project Management Practitioner and Tlokweng farmer’s committee association highlighted that the plan was formulated without putting Batlokwa’s needs first, and is all about “taking away land and not about development anymore”. This proposed plan will take away what Batlokwa has now (land) and will continue to be beggars in our own land, therefore the consultants must do what is called Environmental Impact Analysis, not Environmental Impact Assessment as it is the case with the plan,” he said.
He further decried that the plan focuses more on developing the environment but it does not entail what impact it will bring on the people and does not include a budget for compensation to compensate those whose land will be repossessed. As the controversial plan has not excluded the current Batlokwa farming land, farmers also came out with guns blazing to reject the proposed plan which will see some of the agriculture land being repossessed to make way for developments. One farmer Ishmael Seitshiro resisted the idea of annexing the ploughing and communal grazing land adding that farming land should remain as it is as it has remained before during the tenure of the great founding fathers of Tlokweng.
Meanwhile, University of Botswana lecturer Dr Letshwiti Tutwane differed with his tribesmen on the issue. He said that the proposed developments were necessary to the village, although he stated that he does not support farm land being repossessed. Further, he blasted the land board for misleading the morafe about the availability of land and raising their hopes by putting them on waiting lists whilst there is no land at all. Tutwane recently announced he would be contesting for the BNF primaries for Parliament for the Tlokweng Constituency to be held at the end of next month (June).
Batlokwa have also proposed that a task force team be sent to the government to negotiate about buying or repossessing portion of land from the Ruretse farm owned by the Khama family and some from business Moghul Derrick Brink and such land should be allocated to Batlokwa as residential plots. They also insisted that president Masisi should be called to address the issue of land shortage in Tlokweng with immediate effect.
In conclusion, Kgosi Gaborone assured his morafe that there will be compensation for the land which will be used for the said developments. “I assure that there is compensation for the land that will be repossessed with consultation procedure with owners, and the compensation will be calculated based on the market value of the land taken”.
In an era where the advocacy for the rights and inclusion of marginal groups, especially individuals beset with profound and multiple impairments, grows more fervent, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development is actively devising schemes to integrate these individuals comprehensively.
Embarking on a pioneering venture, heralded by the Minister Douglas Letsholathebe, the establishment of a novel facility designated for individuals faced with disabilities is on the horizon, set to inaugurate in Maun by mid-2024.
This forthcoming entity, bestowed with the title “Maun Center for Learners with Severe and Multiple Disabilities,” is set to emerge as a sanctuary for those grappling with intense and diverse disabilities in the expanse of the Ngamiland District. Its mission extends beyond serving as a haven; it aims to elevate educational standards and secure outstanding scholastic achievements for this special cohort.
With palpable optimism, Dr. Letsholathebe heralds that this sanctuary, a collective effort of the ministry’s allies, is constructed and awaits its ceremonial launch in the June of 2024, marking a significant epoch in the winter season.
“Construction of the Maun Center for Learners with Severe and Multiple Disabilities has concluded, now in the stewardship of my Ministry. We are poised for its operational unveiling come June 2024,” Dr. Letsholathebe revealed, signaling a new chapter of assurance.
The Government of the Republic of Botswana is steadfast in elevating the status of individuals with disabilities, fostering an environment where their rights are fervently protected and upheld.
Echoing this commitment, the recent adoption of the Persons Living with Disabilities Act marks a historic stride. Its foremost objective is the establishment of the National Disability Coordinating Office alongside the National Disability Council, aligning with the mandates of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This movement is expected to significantly influence the integration of disability-centric issues.
Moreover, this legislative framework is set to fortify ongoing initiatives, increasing the economic participation of disabled individuals, thereby enhancing their living conditions and steering them towards securing a life marked by dignity and fulfillment.
In light of historical evidence, individuals bearing disabilities have consistently encountered significant obstacles in securing employment, often finding themselves at the margins of the workforce. Constraints to equitable employment opportunities compared to their non-disabled counterparts were a common plight.
A substantial portion of employers harbor reservations about integrating people with disabilities into their workplaces, fearing potential complications. Only a select few are open to the idea of employing individuals with disabilities. Consequently, these individuals face heightened unemployment rates and a lack of social support, exacerbating their vulnerability to economic hardship. The International Labour Organisation (ILO), along with the nation of Botswana, champions the cause of workplace inclusion for people with disabilities.
Statistics from Botswana’s multi-topic survey for the fourth quarter of 2021 underscore the situation. The labor force comprising individuals with disabilities saw an uptick to 11,553 from 8,649 in just a year. Among these, 4,313 were males and 7,240 were females. The unemployed tally stood at 2,195, against 9,358 who were employed. A notable majority resided in Urban Villages, with the remainder spread across rural locales and cities.
During this quarter, individuals with disabilities accounted for approximately 1.3 percent (9,358 persons) of the overall 717,418 employed populace, marking a significant increase from the previous year. The distribution of employed persons with disabilities across various areas also saw changes, with urban regions employing a majority, followed by rural areas and cities.
The report further delves into the occupational landscape for people with disabilities, noting a predominant employment in service/sales roles over elementary positions – a contrast to the broader employment data.
Despite a reduction in unemployment figures for individuals with disabilities from the preceding year, the unemployment rate stands at a worrying 19.0 percent, with disparities between genders. Urban areas house the majority of the unemployed, with rural areas and cities following suit.
Unemployment across different age groups reveals a balanced distribution, highlighting a widespread issue across the demographic spectrum. This paints a vivid picture of the ongoing challenges and gradual progress within the sphere of employment for people with disabilities.
Majority of employers are still hesitant to employ people with disabilities because they believe they may bring problems in the workplace. Only a few employers are willing to hire workers with disabilities. This as a result makes people living with disability to be affected by high unemployment and insufficient social protection which then further increases their risk of poverty. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is advocating for the inclusion of people with disability in the world of work and Botswana as a country too is advocating for their inclusion in the workplaces.
According to statistics Botswana, multi-topic survey quarter 4, 2021 labour force module report, the total labour force for people with disability was estimated at 11,553 persons, an increase of 2,904 persons over a period of twelve months (from 8,649 persons recorded in Q4 2020). From this total, 4,313 persons were males while 7,240 were females. In addition, 2,195 persons were unemployed whereas 9,358 persons were employed. Furthermore, the data showed the majority of labour force with disability were in Urban Villages (6,185), 3,708 were in rural areas and 1,661 in Cities & Towns.
The essence of community and local flair reigns supreme as St Louis Lager takes a bold step with its ambitious “Hype the Homegrown” Initiative, designed to bolster the visibility and support for local artists and home-based brands, weaving them into the fabric of mainstream success through revolutionary partnerships.
The launchpad for this endeavor has been set with a plethora of creative projects. Among them, a musical odyssey titled “The Journey,” featuring the fusion of local House and Pop virtuoso Hanceford Magapatona, widely celebrated as Han C. Enriching the project further are talents like the visionary Producer Flex the Ninja and the RnB Phenom, Priscilla K, whose track “Away” has captured hearts. This six-track EP, ripe with local genius, is up for grabs across all streaming services, inviting listeners to a world of Botswana’s finest.
But “Hype the Homegrown” transcends the bounds of musical exploration, delving into the realms of fashion and lifestyle, stitching a dynamic collaboration with Collections by B.K. Proctor. This venture, rooted in 100% local ownership by the trailblazing Rapper and Entrepreneur Bokang βBKβ Proctor alongside Digital Maverick, Fifi Wale, showcases a vibrant melding of St Louis Lager and Collections by BK Proctor insignias across a series of street-savvy sneakers and tees. These exclusive pieces have hit the shelves at the Collections by BK Proctor boutiques within the bustling hubs of Gaborone Fairgrounds Mall, Grand Palm, and Toro Junction Mall in Francistown.
Unveiled by the marketing maestro of Kgalagadi Breweries Limited, Gaamanngwe Ramokgothwane, this initiative not only shines a spotlight on KBL’s enduring commitment to the arts but also underscores the wealth of creativity brewing within Botswana, deserving of grand stages and accolades. Ramokgothwane passionately advocates for a collective embrace of this homegrown brilliance, positioning “Hype the Homegrown” as not merely a campaign but a clarion call to action for institutions far and wide to champion and elevate local talent.
Echoing this sentiment, KBL’s steward Carlos Bernitt envisions a future where these artisans not only sparkle locally but also etch their mark on the global canvas, all through the unified backing of Batswana. With “Hype the Homegrown,” a legacy of innovation, creativity, and inspiration is in the making.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Seipati Olweny, acknowledged this campaign as a turning point for the creative community. She stressed the indispensable role of local talent in crafting Botswana’s cultural tapestry and stimulating economic diversification, pledging unwavering support from the ministry towards this collective journey of uplifting local flair.