Kagiso Thutlwe this week whitewashed Rhoda Sekgororoane to retain his mayoral position – a move that surprised many; particularly due to his alleged sell out tendencies and the infamous sell out smile. His rendezvous in President Ian Khama’s OK1 jet; dining and wining the city’s elite, the close relations to the ruling party, the condemnation and all – the Gaborone City Mayor will not let go of his signature smile to please anyone, writes DAVE BAAITSE.
Perhaps everyone believed that he had reached the end of the road and would not see the light of day come election this past week. More often than not, Thutlwe has found himself in hot soup as his comrades accused him of living a life that did not reflect the struggle. While he said being elected for yet another term as the city’s Mayor will afford him the opportunity to continue his efforts of transforming Gaborone into a Diamond City, Thutlwe is adamant he will not change his character.
He is of the view that his critics do not understand leadership. The young mayor describes himself as a happy man living a free life. “People always accuse me of my signature smile, I was born like that and I cannot pretend, that is me,” he said. He challenged WeekendLife to his Facebook timeline to see all pictures of him where he wore the same signature smile in many of his timeline photos. He further stressed that he sees no problem with partying the nights away, as a young man enjoying his bachelorhood.
According to him, he has employed a rather poles apart strategy to engage with the Government of the day to get the job done. “If you differ with people, it does not mean you have to fight them. I am a diehard member of the Botswana National Front (BNF) but I will engage with everyone starting with the President to Cabinet Ministers and everyone else,” he said. He does not shy away from commenting on his partying ways and his love for the devil’s waters. Those are some of the perks that come with being the city’s head boy, he insists.
Recently, a picture of him with former US president George Bush broke the internet-but for all the wrong reasons; it was a meme! His smile had brought him more condemnation, with the picture being captioned ‘The smile of blacks around whites that saw Africans being colonised’. In the photograph, Thutlwe was laughing his lungs out, with his mouth stretched to maximum elasticity. Commenting on the moment that made him victim to the viral meme world, Thutlwe said that he and former president Bush were only sharing a light moment and Bush had commented that at his age (Thutlwe) he would have not made Mayor in the US.
Who is Kagiso Thutlwe?
His Worship Kagiso Calvin Thutlwe, 33 is the current Mayor of Gaborone City serving his second term. Born in Mochudi he started his primary school in Shoshong where he met Nehemiah Modubule and was recruited into the United Socialist Party at a tender age. At the time, he said, they were fascinated by singing struggle songs and recruiting more members into the movement and were being led by a veteran politician, an ally of Modubule, George Alfred.
His rise in student politics started as early as his days at Naledi Senior in Gaborone where he made his way into the Council of Students. The journey continued at the University of Botswana (UB) where he was introduced to the political ground and was mentored by some BNF stalwarts of the University at the time, amongst others Nelson Ramaotwana. He said lecturers such as Elmon Tafa and Dr Sebina also helped mentor and refine his ideology as a communist. He also learnt a lot from Bushi Manamola, a former South African Communist who was also a very close ally of the movement.
Upon his graduation, the former UB Student Representative Council (SRC) President became a BNF activist and won the 2014 General Elections as the Village Ward Councillor in Gaborone and was also elected City Mayor unopposed. He made history becoming one of the youngest Mayors in Africa.
His role as a Mayor
His biggest role as a Mayor is to supervise the council and to make sure they take services to the people. He said he is mandated to make sure that there are no potholes in the city, roads are well maintained and lights are working perfectly. He pointed that currently one of their challenges is that of lack of offices. He said they have been fighting the issue for a very long time now and during his second term in office he wishes to see that come to pass.
Thutlwe said at the top of his wish list, is seeing their plot at the Central Business District (CBD) being developed. He is also working on the long proposed motion by his predecessor Haskins Nkaigwa to develop the Bus Rank Terminal. He said the terminal can be privatised and benefit a lot of young entrepreneurs.
He said they have also been funded to develop the Bonnington Farm. In Mogoditshane, immediately opposite Grand Palm hotel entrance and the Bonnington shopping mall stands two sets of silo quadrants and a ruined farm house. According to research these were built by Dan Le Cordeur Sr. and his wife Rene a few years after purchasing the farm in 1944. Dan Le Cordeur Sr. was formerly from Capetown but his father was of French Huguenot descent.
Le Cordeur Sr. was a farmer, cattle baron and businessman who at one time owned the entire land from Broadhurst to the foot of Kgale Hill, at least 3 shops in Kgale, Gabane and what is now the Bonnington shopping mall. The site was listed as a National Monument in 2006 and the silos recently restored through the Adopt a Monument Strategy of the National Museum in a collaboration started with Plascon Freeworld, PG Timbers and BMB. The Mayor says he also has plans to create a foundation that will assist struggling students in continuing their education, as well as continue with motivational speaking in schools.
Rebecca* is a woman in her late thirties. She holds her head high and walks with a sway in her steps. There is an air of confidence when she speaks. So when she tells me how her husband has been abusing her throughout their 17 years of marriage, I am taken aback.
“Everyday is a new experience for me. I don’t know what version of husband I’ll meet; the one who will scold me for forgetting to lay out his clothes or the one who will hit me for putting too much salt in the soup,” she says while wiping tears. 17 years is almost two decades. I ask her why she has had to endure all that pain for a long time but she only shakes her head and does not answer.
Like Rebecca, hundreds of women experiencing domestic violence find it difficult to leave. For some, it is for reasons best known to them, for others, they simply do not know why or have the words. People who have not experienced abuse find it unfathomable that survivors stay in their relationships and not leave. It seems almost like they enjoy it. But until an experience has been felt, it is easy to give directives on how to act.
For Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai, it took 6 years to escape the suffocating grip of her abuser. “It was a traumatic experience,” she tells me. “I can tell you this for free; the same intensity used to abuse you is the same intensity used to beg. When he does this, pity begins to set in and you become confused on what to do.”
Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai
I ask Ms. Demilade Lawal, a psychologist from the University of Chester, in an interview, if there is a psychological reason behind this and she affirms.
“For a lot of women, it’s a glimmer of hope that things are going to get better. And that glimmer of hope can be understood when we are aware of the social cycle of abuse. There is a tension phase, an abuse phase and a honeymoon phase. In the honeymoon phase the abuser temporarily changes his ways and alters the victim’s decision to leave. Then the tension starts and then abuse follows.”
Another reason women remain entangled with their abusers is the fear of the unknown, the unclear reality of what would be after leaving.
“The truth is, as much as this person abuses them, there is an emotional connection. They love this person, there is a traumatic attachment whether they are aware of it or not. It is not the best love environment but it doesn’t change the fact that this is how they feel about the person that abuses them. So the thought of starting afresh without this person whom they have grown to love despite the abuse is just as frightening,” Ms Lawal says.
Although this may sound like an unjustifiable reason to some who have not walked this path, Ms. Rahmatulai agrees.
“In my case, I loved him very much. I could not imagine going to tell my family members or friends that the man I loved started hitting me as early as a month into our marriage. I was embarrassed. So I stayed back, hoping it would get better,” she says.
Research shows that one of the many reasons why women remain in abusive marriages is a lack of income which results in total financial dependency on the abuser. Could this be a strategy to trap the victim in an abusive cycle?
“While I was married, my husband would give me very little housekeeping money. He knew I did not have a job and the money would be insufficient but I could not say a word. I had to feed my children. If I complained I would get beaten. He provided for everything in the house, what authority did I have to question him,” Ms Rahmatulai says to me.
I ask Rebecca if she has a job and she says no. She mentions she’s an interior decorator but she barely gets offers. When she does, her husband collects everything.
A major factor for avoiding abusive marriages is to identify red flags. However, these flags are sometimes mistaken for natural behavioural traits. In Ms Rahmatulai’s case, she tells me she noticed her husband was quick tempered and ill mannered before marriage however she waved them aside as he had never hit her during courtship.
How then can abuse survivors find the courage to leave?
“The decision to leave is a process, it takes a shift in perspective – realising that you deserve better and that your kids deserve to grow in a healthy home where they don’t learn to be abusers or think it’s okay to be abused,” Ms Lawal says.
“When I pack my bags to leave, my husband would hit me. When I unpack, he would hit me. I started going to school to get a degree and then later I started trading. When I had what seemed like enough then (N80,000/ $192), I left my husband regardless of the worst that could happen. I realised if I stayed long enough, I would be dead,” Ms Rahmatulai says.
“It’s been 20 years since I left. I’m 51 and a lawyer now. I have dedicated my life to helping women in abusive marriages leave. So many men have called me a home breaker but I say it’s better to break a home and save a life.”
*Rebecca has asked to stay anonymous by using a pseudonym.
Claire Mom is a Nigerian journalist and an advocate for human rights. Email: email@example.com Twitter: speakclairely
Multitudes of music lovers are expected to throng Francistown’s Obert Itani Chilume Stadium for the highly anticipated As One Music concert next weekend.
Updating WeekendLife on the preparations of the event, Kesego Okie said the preparations for the show are going well and they are working around the clock to make sure that they fulfill all logistics that need to be concluded. She said, ATI has been working hard alongside the featured artists to give Batswana the best experience at concert.
She said that the concert has been accepted well by Batswana and they are very happy with the ticket sales. ”But of course we are looking forward to more ticket sales as more people are showing more interest in being part of this historic event and we are grateful to all our partners and sponsors.”
She appealed to the Francistown Business Community to come on board and support the initiative as it’s a concert for the people. Okie said Francistown was chosen for a reason as they believe it is a gate way to a number of other strategic places in Botswana like Maun, Orapa, Phikwe and Kasane.
“We also felt that since the city has been greatly affected by COVID-19 an event of this magnitude was befitting to be held in Francistown so that we can also play our role in uplifting the socio-economic livelihood hence we believe it is vital for the business community of Francistown to embrace us so that collectively we can contribute meaningfully together as one to the community of Francistown”.
She indicated that they have a large number of artists particularly from Francistown that have shown interest during the show activation and other artists that have collaborated with ATI in the past and those that have contributed in the growth of his music, and it would be very difficult for them to fulfil the mandate of the show without support particularly from the corporate community in Francistown.
Tickets for the event are sold at P50 kids, P150 general, 500 VIP silver circle and VVIP for P1500. All tickets are sold at all Liquarama Outlets across the country.
Founded 30 years ago by David Magang, Phakalane Estates came from humble beginnings to gradually expand into developing one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the country which attract high income dwellers.
When the development began in the early 90s the estate was to be developed into 13 phases. It is then that a decision was taken by the developers to come up with plans that would be appealing to certain groups of the society.
Phakalane Estates continues to make its mark in the property development space, this year, they have managed to invests over P45 million on major renovations to the Golf Estate properties namely the hotel, golf course, and conference center.
Already the company has erected 84 single and double bedroom apartments which commenced early this year. The construction of these new apartments has been set for Peto Estates, a gated community within the Phakalane neighborhood strategically placed a stone’s throw away from multiple shopping centres such as Mowana Park and Acacia Mall.
“We want the best for our clients that is why even in Peto, we have various apartments for every one and also bearing in mind that the people should be not far from the complex,” Phakalane Estates’ Lesang Magang said in an interview.
So far the roads tarring has started at Sebote estate which is part of the estate expansion, it is expected that even things electrically will get handed to the Botswana Power Corporation which will be the last stage plus the lights on the streets. “In terms of infrastructure we don’t compromise we ensure that it is world class so that we don’t disappoint our clients. Those that brought houses earlier when they sell them it comes at a profit.”
Following the success of the launch of Peto Estates back in 2014, when over 300 plots ranging in cost from roughly P300, 000 to P1.4m were immediately sold out with a high surplus of demand, Phakalane Estates boasts strong confidence in the market demand for new apartments in the area.
The apartments are set to follow the trend of the estates with state of the art modern designs and facilities that will unequivocally catch the eye of professionals in the market for a smaller yet upscale rental property in Gaborone. Phakalane Estates CEO Subramaniam Parthiban has expressed plans for the creation of an all-new industrial park in Phakalane aiming to expand and consolidate the existing industrial strength the community already boasts.