Rebecca (not her real name, of course) was gang-raped by a group of 20 armed men in Harare! Hair-raising news of this nature is always hitting news headlines.
In fact Rebecca 's ordeal is a summarized version of what is happening not only in Harare, in particular, and the entire country, in general, but across the globe, where hardly a day elapses without having heard that so and so got raped.
The problem, as I see it, revolves around patriarchal cultures. Such cultures do encourage men to have incredible sexual prowess and to take delight in feeding on a diet of sexual aggression, a phenomenon that normally finds expression in rape or promotes rape. This is the entry point of gender based violence.
Despite some protestations to the contrary, most, if not all societies, the world over, are patriarchal, that is male dominated. Save for a few countries such as India, Malawi and Botswana, all other countries in the world are deeply rooted in male domination. And the cultural gown of patriarchy has a few patches of matriarchy. Ironically, this was also the case with the U.K, during the Victorian Age (1837-1901) , in spite of the fact that Queen Victorian was the major player in the title picture then , and hence the use of such terms as ‘anaclitic love’ and ‘masochism ‘(taking delight in suffering) for women ‘and’ nascissism’ for males.
But what is culture? According to the Merriam Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus ,cited in Encyclopaedia Britannica (2015) ,it is 'the integrated pattern of human knowledge ,belief and behaviour that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations .It is the customary beliefs ,social norms ,and material traits of a racial ,religious or social group'. In other words it is everything that sets one group of people apart from others as a distinct entity and encompasses such phenomena as dressing, language, mannerisms ,customs, norms and values and the whole way of life of life, in general.
Culture influences our world outlook (philosophy), in general, as reflectedenshrined in both our religion and laws and this was and is still mirrored in our behaviour and devil-may-care attitudes towards women. Sadly Attitudes are die-hards, especially bad ones .Unlike intelligence, that is inborn, culture is acquired through socialization, a life-long process by which the norms and values of society are inculcated into one from birth to death.
In a classical patriarchal society men perceive women as sex toys to manipulate or objects of male sexual gratification. And the situation is even worse in societies where recreational facilities are very scarce and abusing women becomes a form of entertainment. From a tender age young boys are taught poems which glorify sex, poems which they have to rote learn stanza by stanza .And by the time they reach adulthood they would be able to rehearse those poems up to mountain tops and having to unlearn that message overnight is a mammoth task.
I need to repeat ,for emphasis ‘sake , that even in this age of enlightenment ,indeed nothing pleases a man ,who is worth his salt, more than the mere knowledge that he is responsible for the emotional being of a multiplicity of sexual partners. Which is why male polygamy, known as polygyny, and not the female polyandry one, is mostly fashionable. Which is also why even King Solomon, in spite of the fact that he is the wisest known man, had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (1 Kings 11:3ff).
Such men have an unquenchable sexual appetite and it is no hyperbole to assert that they would salivate at the mere sight of a woman. Against this background, men who fell prey to HIV/AIDS and other STDs were ironically glorified 'Bhuru rinorwa rinoonekwa namavanga'(A bull that has fighting prowess can easily be identifiable through its multi bruises!.) In a bygone era an ideal man had to have extra-ordinary abilities of seducing as many women as possible.
In sharp contrast to women who were animals of prey, men were marauding sexual predators and armed to the teeth with Cupid ‘(the Greek god of love) s bows and arrows to hunt in a thick jungle of love where his arrow rarely missed targets.
If this intimacy cannot be attained through fair means then it must be through foul ones such as rape .In this regard ,some sex crazy men ,and macho women alike, are daring to , and are always ready and raring to use magic ,known as mubobobo ,in order to sexually ravage a person who has never given consent to and is not even aware that someone else is busy feasting on her him.
Needless to say, a patriarchal society is highly macho and its machismo is demonstrable through the subordination or violation of the rights of women. Rape is thus one of the many tools or instrument of bringing women under control! During war times the situation is even worse when members of the weaker sex are gang-raped in-order to boost the ego of these men as well as serving the insatiable sexual drive of sex starved soldiers. In case the reader is of a nervous disposition, this writer will not venture into the plight of illegal female travellers who suffer at the hands of these gang rapists at border posts. And during war-times it was not uncommon for soldiers to rape a ‘sell-out ‘’s wife in full view of the husband as a way of punishing him. But who is the victim here? And what is rape?
By definition rape is a deviant and or forcible sexual encounter between a man and a woman. In most jurisdictions, ( in which the offence is regulated by the Roman Dutch Common Law), this offence ,as evidenced by its definitional elements ,can only be committed by men save for a few countries like Botswana. Though it is mostly men who are rapists some women are also perpetrators of this vice and hence we see in Genesis 39:6-15 ,for instance ,Portipher 's wife almost forcing herself onto young Joseph ,the romantic magnet who was renowned for his ‘’beauty’’.Which is why in such countries as the latter the term has had to be redefined and is now gender neutral`
It is defined as' any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of another person, or who causes the penetration of a sexual organ or instrument ,of whatever nature ,into the person of another , for the purposes of sexual gratification ,or who causes the penetration of another person ‘s sexual organ into his or her own person ,without the consent of such other person ,or with such person ‘s consent ,if the consent is obtained by force or means of threats or intimidation of any kind ,by fear of bodily harm ,or by means of false pretences as to the nature of the act ,or, in the case of a married person ,by personating the person ‘s spouse ,is guilty of the offence termed rape’(section 141: of the Botswana penal code) .
According to the modern ,statutory , definition the offence of rape is not confined to reproductive organs but also through any object such as a broom and through any opening such as the nose, ear and mouth if it is for sexual gratification!.
Because patriarchy protects female offenders and discourages male victims from laying a charge, due to potential scorn from mainstream society, these culprits will continue with their deviant sexual practice. As a result patriarchy promotes female rape also. After all, and as mentioned earlier on, the well-to –do ,over-assertive women , do brag that they are also men and hence the machismo qualities.
This writer will also include both marital and statutory rape. Statutory rape (defilement) ,though it involves consent, that consent is not informed given that the victim has not reached a level of mental development to a point whereby shehe fully appreciates the nature and or implications of the act. Obsessed with the desire to feel youngish, some old sugar daddies and, jelly mummies alike, deflower the youngsters and that is indeed disturbing. How about girl children who are peddling their flesh? .Could her client also be dragged before the courts for statutory rape?
Marital rape, on the other hand, is non-consensual sexual encounter occurring within the bedroom between spouses. Unfortunately countries which are rooted in the patriarchal Roman -Dutch Common Law have the marital rape exemption clause which says there is no rape within wedlock. According to this reasoning, the payment of lobola , an integral part of our highly patriarchal African culture ,means a wife has surrendered her conjugal rights to her husband ,even if she suspects that her husband has a risky sexual behaviour which can easily put her life in danger.
Due to lack of time and space, this writer will not venture into forced wife inheritance, another aspect of a patriarchal culture, and this practice also amounts to rape. Other similar victims are girlfriends who are raped during dates. And even 'ladies of the night' in some cases fall prey also.
Perpetrators of rape usually raise such lame excuses as: the lady is my girl-friend or whore; the woman was moving alone at an ungodly hour; that the victim did not fight back or scream for help(As we have noted in the statutory definition above rape does not always involve physical force); that in agreeing to come for a date she was prepared for this eventuality; that the victim was putting on such provocative outfit as the so-called miniskirt which was in essence nothing but a belt wound around her waist in such a way that nothing was left to imagination , thereby moving around naked and therefore advertising her thighs; or putting on a skin hugging outfit that tends to hug one 's body in such a way that people can easily enumerate all the contours of her mountainous pair of guitar-shaped bums.
To the man concerned the lady was beckoning at him through action and action speaks louder than words. The macho-man would not want to betray his manhood by letting ‘the offer’ go. It is very strange indeed ,but not surprising in these macho societies , that men would want to prescribe what women should wear while the latter sex is not allowed that right and this is unconstitutional.(see section 15 of the Botswana Constitution on the Equality and Non Discrimination Clause).After all ,due to global warming ,the weather is getting hotter and hotter with each passing day and ,women ,through miniskirts ,need fresh air and ,besides ,our democratic societies’ law provide for freedom of dressing.
Additionally, dressing does not have a bearing on whether or not one’s conduct is decorous or has the praiseworthy features of human conduct. Also our constitutions provide for freedom of movement (see section 14 of the Botswana Constitution).
Be that as it may, as long there was no consent the common denominator is force and hence rape. The ground of justification, in a charge of rape, is consent, known in Latin as volenti non fit injuria. This defence must comply with a number of requirements and one of them is that it must have been given before the act. This means if the victim withdraws that consent before or during the encounter and the culprit nevertheless proceeds against the wishes of this ‘sex toy’, he can still be convicted of rape. In the same vein consent should not be after the act (post facto).
The following circumstances, inter alia, make a person incapable of consenting: those sleeping, in a drunken stupor, under hypnosis or the insane (an exception, however, is, in principle, during the lucidum intevellum period), youthfulness.
In some extreme cases someday old toddlers oftentimes fall victim to such sexually avaricious men. Maybe toddlers are also expected to be in long nappies too! That is a show or manifestation of manhood and it is hardly surprisingly then that men are oftentimes equated to a bull which hardly recognizes any boundaries when it comes to sex .Sadly, this archaic perception of manhood used to be an integral part of our culture.
Such sick rapists, most of whom are business tycoons, do that out of the mistaken belief that this practice may boost their business fortune. Others harbour the misconception that intimacy with kids would cure their HIV/AIDS status and false prophets and medicine men are equally to blame for spreading this myth. Similarly, such spiritual men, whose minds are rooted in patriarchy, tend to force themselves onto their clients who are desperate for a cure or, alternatively, misrepresent the nature and or effects of the act.
IEC Disrespects Batswana: A Critical Analysis
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has recently faced significant criticism for its handling of the voter registration exercise. In this prose I aim to shed light on the various instances where the IEC has demonstrated a lack of respect towards the citizens of Botswana, leading to a loss of credibility. By examining the postponements of the registration exercise and the IEC’s failure to communicate effectively, it becomes evident that the institution has disregarded its core mandate and the importance of its role in ensuring fair and transparent elections.
Incompetence or Disrespect?
One possible explanation for the IEC’s behavior is sheer incompetence. It is alarming to consider that the leadership of such a critical institution may lack the understanding of the importance of their mandate. The failure to communicate the reasons for the postponements in a timely manner raises questions about their ability to handle their responsibilities effectively. Furthermore, if the issue lies with government processes, it calls into question whether the IEC has the courage to stand up to the country’s leadership.
Another possibility is that the IEC lacks respect for its core clients, the voters of Botswana. Respect for stakeholders is crucial in building trust, and clear communication is a key component of this. The IEC’s failure to communicate accurate and complete information, despite having access to it, has fueled speculation and mistrust. Additionally, the IEC’s disregard for engaging with political parties, such as the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), further highlights this disrespect. By ignoring the UDC’s request to observe the registration process, the IEC demonstrates a lack of regard for its partners in the electoral exercise.
Rebuilding Trust and Credibility:
While allegations of political interference and security services involvement cannot be ignored, the IEC has a greater responsibility to ensure its own credibility. The institution did manage to refute claims by the DISS Director that the IEC database had been compromised, which is a positive step towards rebuilding trust. However, this remains a small glimmer of hope in the midst of the IEC’s overall disregard for the citizens of Botswana.
To regain the trust of Batswana, the IEC must prioritize respect for its stakeholders. Clear and timely communication is essential in this process. By engaging with political parties and addressing their concerns, the IEC can demonstrate a commitment to transparency and fairness. It is crucial for the IEC to recognize that its credibility is directly linked to the trust it garners from the voters.
The IEC’s recent actions have raised serious concerns about its credibility and respect for the citizens of Botswana. Whether due to incompetence or a lack of respect for stakeholders, the IEC’s failure to communicate effectively and handle its responsibilities has damaged its reputation. To regain trust and maintain relevance, the IEC must prioritize clear and timely communication, engage with political parties, and demonstrate a commitment to transparency and fairness. Only by respecting the voters of Botswana can the IEC fulfill its crucial role in ensuring free and fair elections.
Fuelling Change: The Evolving Dynamics of the Oil and Gas Industry
The Oil and Gas industry has undergone several significant developments and changes over the last few years. Understanding these developments and trends is crucial towards better appreciating how to navigate the engagement in this space, whether directly in the energy space or in associated value chain roles such as financing.
Here, we explore some of the most notable global events and trends and the potential impact or bearing they have on the local and global market.
Governments and companies around the world have been increasingly focused onÂ transitioning towards renewable energy sourcesÂ such as solar and wind power. This shift is motivated by concerns about climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Africa, including Botswana, is part of these discussions, as we work to collectively ensure a greener and more sustainable future. Indeed, this is now a greater priority the world over. It aligns closely with the increase in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing being observed. ESG investing has become increasingly popular, and many investors are now looking for companies that are focused on sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. This trend could have significant implications for the oil and fuel industry, which is often viewed as environmentally unsustainable. Relatedly and equally key are the evolving government policies. Government policies and regulations related to the Oil and Gas industry are likely to continue evolving with discussions including incentives for renewable energy and potentially imposing stricter regulations on emissions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a strong role. Over the last two years, the pandemic had a profound impact on the Oil and Gas industry (and fuel generally), leading to a significant drop in demand as travel and economic activity slowed down. As a result, oil prices plummeted, with crude oil prices briefly turning negative in April 2020. Most economies have now vaccinated their populations and are in recovery mode, and with the recovery of the economies, there has been recovery of oil prices; however, the pace and sustainability of recovery continues to be dependent on factors such as emergence of new variants of the virus.
This period, which saw increased digital transformation on the whole, also saw accelerated and increased investment in technology. The Oil and Gas industry is expected to continue investing in new digital technologies to increase efficiency and reduce costs. This also means a necessary understanding and subsequent action to address the impacts from the rise of electric vehicles. The growing popularity of electric vehicles is expected to reduce demand for traditional gasoline-powered cars. This has, in turn, had an impact on the demand for oil.
Last but not least, geopolitical tensions have played a tremendous role. Geopolitical tensions between major oil-producing countries can and has impacted the supply of oil and fuel. Ongoing tensions in the Middle East and between the US and Russia could have an impact on global oil prices further, and we must be mindful of this.
On the home front in Botswana, all these discussions are relevant and the subject of discussion in many corporate and even public sector boardrooms. Stanbic Bank Botswana continues to take a lead in supporting the Oil and Gas industry in its current state and as it evolves and navigates these dynamics. This is through providing financing to support Oil and Gas companiesâ operations, including investments in new technologies. The Bank offers risk management services to help oil and gas companies to manage risks associated with price fluctuations, supply chain disruptions and regulatory changes. This includes offering hedging products and providing advice on risk management strategies.
Advisory and support for sustainability initiatives that the industry undertakes is also key to ensuring that, as companies navigate complex market conditions, they are more empowered to make informed business decisions. It is important to work with Oil and Gas companies to develop and implement sustainability strategies, such as reducing emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. This is key to how partners such as Stanbic Bank work to support the sector.
Last but not least, Stanbic Bank stands firmly in support of Botswanaâs drive in the development of the sector with the view to attain better fuel security and reduce dependence risk on imported fuel. This is crucial towards ensuring a stronger, stabler market, and a core aspect to how we can play a role in helping drive Botswanaâs growth. Â Continued understanding, learning, and sustainable action are what will help ensure the Oil and Gas sector is supported towards positive, sustainable and impactful growth in a manner that brings social, environmental and economic benefit.
Loago Tshomane is Manager, Client Coverage, Corporate and Investment BankingÂ (CIB), Stanbic Bank Botswana
Brands are important
So, the conclusion is brands are important. I start by concluding because one hopes this is a foregone conclusion given the furore that erupts over a botched brand. If a fast food chef bungles a food order, thereâd be possibly some isolated complaint thrown. However, if the same companyâs marketing expert or agency cooks up a tasteless brand there is a country-wide outcry. Why?Â Perhaps this is because brands affect us more deeply than we care to understand or admit. The fact that the uproar might be equal parts of schadenfreude, black twitter-esque criticism and, disappointment does not take away from the decibel of concern raised.
A good place to start our understanding of a brand is naturally by defining what a brand is. Marty Neumier, the genius who authored The Brand Gap, offers this instructive definition – âA brand is a personâs gut feel about a product or serviceâ. In other words, a brand is not what the company says it is. It is what the people feel it is. It is the sum total of what it means to them. Brands are perceptions. So, brands are defined by individuals not companies. But brands are owned by companies not individuals. Brands are crafted in privacy but consumed publicly. Brands are communal. Granted, you say. But that doesnât still explain why everybody and their pet dog feel entitled to jump in feet first into a brand slug-fest armed with a hot opinion. True. But consider the following truism.
Brands are living. They act as milestones in our past. They are signposts of our identity. Beacons of our triumphs. Indexes of our consumption. Most importantly, they have invaded our very words and world view. Try going for just 24 hours without mentioning a single brand name. Quite difficult, right? Because they live among us they have become one of us. And we have therefore built âbrand bondsâ with them. For example, iPhone owners gather here. You love your iPhone. It goes everywhere. You turn to it in moments of joy and when we need a quick mood boost. Notice how that ârelationshipâ started with desire as you longingly gazed upon it in a glossy brochure. That quickly progressed to asking other people what they thought about it. Followed by the zero moment of truth were you committed and voted your approval through a purchase. Does that sound like a romantic relationship timeline. You bet it does. Because it is. When we conduct brand workshops we run the Brand Loyalty â˘ exercise wherein we test peopleâs loyalty to their favourite brand(s). The results are always quite intriguing. Most people are willing to pay a 40% premium over the standard price for âtheirâ brand. They simply wonât easily âbreakupâ with it. Doing so can cause brand âheart acheâ. There is strong brand elasticity for loved brands.
Now that we know brands are communal and endeared, then companies armed with this knowledge, must exercise caution and practise reverence when approaching the subject of rebranding. Itâs fragile. The question marketers ought to ask themselves before gleefully jumping into the hot rebranding cauldron is â Do we go for an Evolution (partial rebrand) or a Revolution(full rebrand)? An evolution is incremental. It introduces small but significant changes or additions to the existing visual brand. Here, think of the subtle changes youâve seen in financial or FMCG brands over the decades. Evolution allows you to redirect the brand without alienating its horde of faithful followers. As humans we love the familiar and certain. Change scares us. Especially if weâve not been privy to the important but probably blinkered âstrategy sessionsâ ongoing behind the scenes. Revolutions are often messy. They are often hard reset about-turns aiming for a total new look and âfeelâ.
Hard rebranding is risky business. History is littered with the agony of brands large and small who felt the heat of public disfavour. In January 2009, PepsiCo rebranded the Tropicana. When the newly designed package hit the shelves, consumers were not having it. The New York Times reports that âsome of the commenting described the new packaging as âuglyâ âstupidâ. They wanted their old one back that showed a ripe orange with a straw in it. Sales dipped 20%. PepsiCo reverted to the old logo and packaging within a month. In 2006 Mastercard had to backtrack away from itâs new logo after public criticism, as did Leeds United, and the clothing brand Gap. AdAge magazine reports that critics most common sentiment about the Gap logo was that it looked like something a child had created using a clip-art gallery. Botswana is no different. University of Botswana had to retreat into the comfort of the known and accepted heritage strong brand.Â Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital was badgered with complaints till it âadjustedâ its logo.
So if the landscape of rebranding is so treacherous then whey take the risk? Companies need to soberly assess they need for a rebrand. According to the fellows at Ignyte Branding a rebrand is ignited by the following admissions :
Our brand name no longer reflects our companyâs vision.
Weâre embarrassed to hand out our business cards.
Our competitive advantage is vague or poorly articulated.
Our brand has lost focus and become too complex to understand. Our business model or strategy has changed.
Our business has outgrown its current brand.
Weâre undergoing or recently underwent a merger or acquisition. Our business has moved or expanded its geographic reach.
We need to disassociate our brand from a negative image.
Weâre struggling to raise our prices and increase our profit margins. We want to expand our influence and connect to new audiences. Weâre not attracting top talent for the positions we need to fill. All the above are good reasons to rebrand.
The downside to this debacle is that companies genuinely needing to rebrand might be hesitant or delay it altogether. The silver lining I guess is that marketing often mocked for its charlatans, is briefly transformed from being the Archilles heel into Thanosâ glove in an instant.
So what does a company need to do to safely navigate the rebranding terrain? Companies need to interrogate their brand purpose thoroughly. Not what they think they stand for but what they authentically represent when seen through the lens of their team members. In our Brand Workshop we use a number of tools to tease out the compelling brand truth. This section always draws amusing insights. Unfailingly, the top management (CEO & CFO)always has a vastly different picture of their brand to the rest of their ExCo and middle management, as do they to the customer-facing officer. We have only come across one company that had good internal alignment. Needless to say that brand is doing superbly well.
There is need a for brand strategies to guide the brand. One observes that most brands âmake a planâ as they go along. Little or no deliberate position on Brand audit, Customer research, Brand positioning and purpose, Architecture, Messaging, Naming, Tagline, Brand Training and may more. A brand strategyÂ distils why your business exists beyond making money â its âwhyâ. It defines what makes your brand what it is, what differentiates it from the competition and how you want your customers to perceive it. Lacking a brand strategy disadvantages the company in that it appears soul-less and lacking in personality. Naturally, people do not like to hang around humans with nothing to say. A brand strategy understands the value proposition. People donât buy nails for the nails sake. They buy nails to hammer into the wall to hang pictures of their loved ones. People donât buy make up because of its several hues and shades. Make up is self-expression. Understanding this arms a brand with an iron clad clad strategy on the brand battlefield.
But perhaps youâve done the important research and strategy work. Itâs still possible to bungle the final look and feel.Â A few years ago one large brand had an extensive strategy done. Hopes were high for a top tier brand reveal. The eventual proposed brand was lack-lustre. I distinctly remember, being tasked as local agency to âlandâ the brand and we outright refused. We could see this was a disaster of epic proportions begging to happen. The brand consultants were summoned to revise the logo. After a several tweaks and compromises the brand landed. It currently exists as one of the countryâs largest brands. Getting the logo and visual look right is important. But how does one know if they are on the right path? Using the simile of a brand being a person – The answer is how do you know your outfit is right? It must serve a function, be the right fit and cut, it must be coordinated and lastly it must say something about you. So it is possible to bath in a luxurious bath gel, apply exotic lotion, be facebeat and still somehow wear a faux pas outfit. Avoid that.
Another suggestion is to do the obvious. Pre-test the logo and its look and feel on a cross section of your existing and prospective audience. There are tools to do this. Their feedback can save you money, time and pain. Additionally one must do another obvious check â use Google Image to verify the visual outcome and plain Google search to verify the name. These are so obvious they are hopefully for gone conclusions. But for the brands that have gone ahead without them, I hope you have not concluded your brand journeys as there is a world of opportunity waiting to be unlocked with the right brand strategy key.
Cliff Mada is Head of ArmourGetOn Brand Consultancy, based in Gaborone and Cape Town.