When she was just 12 years old, Samukelwekahle Gaelesiwe lost her mom to a short illness. But she clings on to the memories they created together for the short years she had her.
“You are the child of the universe, no lesser than the moon and the stars…you too deserve to shine.” She remembers this line clearly although it has been nine years. These are the words from a poem her mother used to recite to her. Although she recalls clearly the lines from her favourite poem, Gaelesiwe knows too well that her mother will never come back to her-this harsh reality has led to her believing that there is no such thing as dealing with grief.
“My mother believed in dreams and felt like she deserved all good things, she had a rough childhood but that didn’t stop her from dreaming. She believed she was like the moon and stars, and she too deserved to shine. And she truly did,” Gaelesiwe said during an interview with WeekendLife. She recalls how her mother’s passing instantly turned her into caretaker for her two younger siblings.
On opening up about the ordeal Gaelesiwe, said she believes that the only thing that can help her deal with her grief is if her mother were to come back to them. “The only way to deal with grief would be to bring back our loved ones and that is impossible, no words could better us or erase the pain and life in itself will keep reminding you every day that your loved one is gone”.
According to Dr. Sithandazile Msimanga-Ramatebele, a Counselling and Psychology lecturer at the University of Botswana the loss of a loved one can be painful and bring about feelings of and an experience of negative reactions in the weeks and months or for however long period following the loss of a loved one: among them, sadness, difficulty sleeping, painful reminders of the person, activities once shared and anger as well.
She however explains grief as a normal and natural process/or reaction to a significant loss or of any kind be it as a result of a cause such as death of a loved one. “However people deal with grief differently due to an array of reasons which include contributing factors such as age, level of resilience, religion, nature of the loss and the level of attachment towards the deceased,” she explained.
Msimanga-Ramatebele stated that one’s level of resilience depends on support from friends and family or the way one was brought up, “upbringing can be a contributing factor in terms of the way one was taught to use internal strength to conquer external circumstances,” she said. Other factors she explained are the level of attachment in regards to emotional connection (the level of the relationship) and financial support from the deceased, as well as the nature of the death of the loved one(if sudden death or a pro-longed sickness).
“All these factors can lead to different reactions with reactions varying due to age as well,” she stated. Despite counselling some survivors find it difficult to adapt to the new reality of the loss of their loved one leading them to substance abuse and suicidal thoughts which research says is more than just a life-disrupting emotion response.
Grief can get complicated and it can lead to neuropsychological abnormalities such as brain changes in brain activity that can impair memory and the ability to regulate emotions and if untreated it can lead to prolonged sleep disturbances, physical pain in the heart, feeling of hollowness in the abdomen as well as suicidal thoughts. “People whom we help who usually experience this are those who have dealt with the loss of a child and those who don’t grieve,” Msimanga-Ramatebele said.
Some victims are able to cope and can keep going because of their inner strength, but it is not every day, sometimes, the pain comes back and hits you right in the face and its like it never left, Gaelesiwe revealed. “No one could possibly understand death until they have had a personal encounter with it and even though some survivors seem ‘okay’ the case may be different when you are all alone,” she said.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.