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.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.