A group of University of Botswana researchers have found out that bridal and baby showers as well as Naomi/Laban showers build communities and express the concept of botho in urban Gaborone.
The study, Botho and Community Building in the Urban Space: An Exploration of Naomi, Laban, Baby and Bridal Showers in Gaborone, funded by the John Templeton foundation (USA) at a tune of P300 000 sought to investigate how Botho/ubuntu and community building are manifested in Gaborone. Researchers used multiple case studies of Naomi/Laban, Bridal and Baby Showers. Naomi/Laban showers are gendered celebrations organised by women for a mother or father who will either receive a dauther or son in law. The researchers attended a total of 31 showers altogether involving 451 participants. All showers were in Gaborone.
According to the researchers, Botswana has a growing urban population in towns, cities and urban villages where encroachment of poverty becomes a real threat, however, the showers, which have become a common young woman centred movement in Botswana’s major cities presumably express the botho ethic and spirituality in urban areas as well as help alleviate poverty. Botswana cities, as most in the world are as a result of rural urban immigration, where the community spirit can wilt, giving way to individualism and pockets of dehumanising poverty.
Naomi and Laban showers, according to the researchers are a Botswana creation and were started by a group of spiritual women from Kanye, Gaborone and Mahalapye and derive from the Bible stories of Naomi and Laban. Through the showers, a mother/father is prepared to receive a son/daughter in law; further they teach mother-in-laws how to treat their daughter-in-laws so as to end the well known phenomenon that mothers and daughter in laws never get along well. The women have gone on to register an association and named it Gontse Golekane Association and continue to build families and communities.
The researchers attended 31 showers over a year all in Gaborone. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used during the research. Furthermore, they found out that the showers lead to forging of new relationships, support networks, empowering each other as well as echo compassion and empathy through advices shared at the showers as well as gifts bought to help the new bride, new mother or parent-in-law.
Speaking at the dissemination of research results, Dr Baipoledi Kekgonne said that the research would enable the country to become a knowledge-based nation that is able to measure how its indigenous resources enrich and enable our contemporary society as well as be further explored to enhance the development of the society.
The project objectives were to explore the views of Batswana on the expression of Botho in urban areas in Botswana; examine how botho ethic was understood and manifested in traditional Botswana communities; analyse how botho is expressed in contemporary urban settings of Botswana; investigate how botho activities in the urban space construct and reconstruct gender; and to highlight how botho can inform the building and maintenance of justice-loving communities and assist to curb poverty. The John Templeton Foundation funded the research to a tune of P300 000.
The Research Project which took over twelve months yielded some interesting findings on Baby Showers and Bridal showers. These two are mainly a female youth affair. According to the findings, showers are arranged by female friends and relatives of the pregnant woman or the bride to be. “The organizers contribute money towards the celebration which is held a few weeks before the baby is born in the case of a baby shower and a few weeks before the wedding ceremony in the event of a bridal shower.
In both cases the setting is like that of a small party in which the place is decorated, usually with a theme color which every attendee is to wear; attendees bring presents, food is served at the end with music playing,” revealed the findings. The study opines that the two showers are an educational space where the youth engage in teaching and advising the recipient about the new status they are about to acquire; of motherhood or marriage respectively. “There is moral, spiritual, financial and material support.”
Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Botswana (UB), Professor Kgomotso Moahi has applauded efforts by a group of researchers at the university as being representative of the university’s vision of being a centre of excellence. Moahi was speaking at the dissemination of research findings for the “Botho and Community Building in the Urban Space: An Exploration of Naomi, Laban, Baby and Bridal Showers in Gaborone” study last week Thursday at Trinity Hall in Gaborone.
Deputy Permanent Secretary – Research, Science and Technology from the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology – Dr. Edinton Kekgonne Baipoledi said that his ministry supports and encourages research that informs the public and policy makers. “We can no longer tolerate findings that accommodate dust and used for promoting papers only,” he said.
“I am gratified to note that our indigenous resources and concepts are subjects of a scientific research. This research project focus was botho and community-building. The research enables us to become a knowledge-based nation, one that is able to measure how its indigenous resources enrich and enable our contemporary society, and how they can be further explored for enhancing the development of our nation,” said Baipoledi.
According to World Population Review, women aged 16-19 are four times more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault and female college students ages 18-24 are three times more likely to experience sexual assault. Transgender people and those with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault or rape.
From these very statistics Botswana can be found second only to neighbouring South Africa with the highest rape cases in the world. The number of incidents per 100,000 citizens do not take into account the number of cases that have not been reported to authorities. This goes without saying that Botswana may very well be on the same level as South Africa if not surpassing it.
Most of these victims have a hard time dealing with the violence they faced to an extent where it affects their day to day life.
WeekendLife interviewed rape survivor, Patience Ruwona, who was raped at the age of 15. Ruwona shared her gruesome experience and what it took for her to find healing, gather strength and move forward.
“It happened eight years ago and at the time I was only 15 years old. My mother was staying with her boyfriend at the time. So it happened that one day I came early from school. I was still doing form 2. I was the first one to come back from school. The boyfriend was home. So when I was changing into home clothes in my room, the boyfriend came in without even knocking. He then told me my mother has left some money so that whoever comes back first from school can go and buy meat,” Ruwona narrated.
“I then told him I will come get the money when I am done. He went back to his room. So after I finished changing, I went to their room. I knocked and he told me to come in. When I got, I found him half naked with only a towel. That made me feel very uncomfortable because when we were growing, we were taught never to enter an elder’s room when they are not fully dressed. I told him I came to collect the money and he pointed the dressing table.”
Unbeknownst to the young unsuspecting Ruwona, her mother’s then boyfriend would then grab the young lad, rip apart her garments and have his way with her. When Ruwona threatened to expose him, the audacious perpetrator would laugh in her face, telling her that there would be nothing her mother would do about the incident. And true to his words, Ruwona’s mother did not flinch upon hearing the gruesome crime that befell her daughter.
“In the evening when my mother came I told her everything. It was a simple thing to her and she never took it seriously. I told her I am bleeding and she said go and wash up we will talk about this some other time. Just like that suddenly I recalled that man’s words and I truly believed him. Till then I have not told anyone about this. I thought my mother is going to protect me, so if my mother failed to protect me no one else could protect me,” said a distraught Ruwona.
Seeking help after being raped
“Physically I had no desire to have sexual intercourse, I was scared. Years passed by and emotionally I was still battling because there were days I had flashbacks of the rape. It’s like a wound, it can never heal but it can stop bleeding. It never heals. It will bleed another time. I felt uncomfortable around men and I never went for counselling. I never went for anything, I thought I will cope on my own,” she said.
“So one day I decided enough is enough and I decided to speak out. That time I figured counselling would be best. I later went for counselling and I was doing well. I had to accept it happened and put everything in the past. Forgiving my mother helped me to heal.”
Director of Save A Woman, Babedi Samakabadi, has highlighted that rape is a permanent wound that one has to live with for the rest of their lives.
“The first thing the victim can do is to admit that they have been abused and they should be able to talk about it to whoever they can trust; could be a close relative, a counsellor, a friend or a pastor. It is not easy to take a step towards your healing but it must be done.
Victims of rape, must create a huge room in their hearts to forgive the perpetrators even when they are not sorry, forgiveness will help the victim to make peace with life and the future. Forgiveness will allow the victim to be able to get over the horrible experience and not associate the intimate relations as abuse at all times,” said Samakabadi.
“If one doesn’t allow themselves to heal and move on, dating and engaging in intimate matters are going to be a problem in their lives. As the victim can disclose to whoever they trust like friends or family, they are also advised to seek more especially professional counselling for proper psychological therapy, as the memories of the incident may torment the victim therefore therapy may assist with getting to live with such memories without being drawn back or life progress being affected . Lastly, the victims must know that issues as these aren’t easy to deal with through our own ability, we need God for strength, wisdom and courage. We have no power to diminish some of the weight in our emotions or the damage done to our souls and hearts, hence we need God to carry us through.”
If you or a loved one is in need of help in dealing with rape or gender based violence, the following organisations provide free counselling services;
BOFWA (Botswana Family Welfare Association) 390 0489
BOSASNET (Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network) 395 9119
LIFE LINE 391 1270
MBGE (Men and Boys for Gender Equality) 395 7763
BGBVC (Botswana Gender Based Violence and Support Centre) 390 7659
BOCAIP (Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme) 391 6454
After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.
On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.
The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.
Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.
The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.
At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.
“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”
The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.
The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.
The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.
However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.
Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.
Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.
“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.
“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”
Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.
Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.