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Vusi’s CD & DVD Launch; an inspirational Youth Empowerment narrative

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela.

Regular readers of my offering, here and elsewhere, close friends and immediate family will attest to the fact that I am not a night crawler or a party animal. The word ‘boring’ has been used describe my lifestyle and personality several times. 

I’m used to it; feel free to describe me as such, if you want. The only time I’m not home resting, writing or reading during weekends and holidays is when I’m either honoring an official invitation or there is a really special lady involved directly or indirectly.

The reason I prefer to be indoors on weekends and holidays is simply because I’m not blessed with singing and dancing tactics. It is also because I’m one of those that are not economically blessed; I honestly cannot afford to sustain the night life lifestyle. I also don’t like the sight of fellow citizens being divided into socioeconomic classes; they call them platinum, gold, silver and bronze circles in most cases.

I know our country has been declared one of the most unequal societies in the world, but I still can’t stand being in a place where societal and economic inequalities are proudly promoted and celebrated. At the recent Miss Botswana pageant a colleague laughed at me when I told him I will not eat the food offered in our section.

I explained to him I am doing it in solidarity with fellow countrymen in the same room but denied the food simply because they are victims of manufactured socioeconomic inequalities. I told him I religiously subscribe to the African sprit of “Ubuntu”. I also shared with him a short story of an anthropologist that proposed a game to children in an African tribe. he put a basket full of fruits near a tree and told the children that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits.

When he told them to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that when one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said, ‘UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?’ UBUNTU’ is simply a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as: "I am because we are.”

These are simply part of the reasons why I prefer staying home resting, writing or reading during weekends and holidays.

But the past weekend was a unique weekend, an extraordinary weekend. It was one of the very few weekends I happily made a voluntary decision to forego my comfort, rebel against the cold and upset my already upset cash flow by attending a music show. This time around it was music festival by a renowned local gospel artist –Vusi Mtoukfa.

Based on the buildup, the actually event and the event aftermath, it is safe to conclude that it was indeed an amazing show. Most, if not all, media houses speak highly of the event. Similarly, based on the number of cooperate sponsors that associated with the show, it was evidently an extraordinary show.

I am not an expert on issues of; stage presence, security, time management, sound quality, stage setup and so forth, but most experts were in agreement that all aspects were on point. As confessed earlier, I’m not blessed with singing and dancing skills, but from the way I witnessed the crowd move and sing along to Vusi’s songs, one could easily tell the crowd was having a really great time.

Well, I must also admit I had fulfilling night in my own right. For me attending Vusi’s show and seeing multitudes of people embracing his music, was the highlight of the night. It felt like a fiction story in real life. It felt like watching part of a sad series with a happy ending.

Like most of you, I do not know Vusi personally, I have never met him, I hope to get an opportunity to meet him one day. Like most of you, I’m just familiar with his songs and, like most of you, I have learnt about his fortunate and unfortunate life stories through the media.  From my understanding; Vusi is a gifted young artist, a gospel singer to be precise. He started singing at the tender age of 13, for a very young artist in the early 2000s his music and talent did exceptionally well.

Unfortunately as he gradually graduated into his prime teenage years, his life and music career turned otherwise. Media reports tell us he did not do well in his studies, he messed up his music contracts at the time, he turned to drugs and alcohol, and he also had endless cases of promiscuity and affairs with older women. At some point he accused of murder. Unfortunately as is the nature with our society, his tribulations and challenges became center stage and made headline news.

As is the nature with our society, he was swiftly and conveniently written-off and literally buried alive. His downfall was celebrated in some corners of the country. Nonetheless, after many years of harsh hardships, tribulations, controversy and criticism, he evidently triumphed against all odds. He dusted the dust, nursed his wounds and did not give up on life and his career. During the darkest moments, he maintained focus with hope of seeing the light.

Though it was evidently not easy and it took a very long time, it seems perseverance, dedication and faith in God pulled him through. In this regard to me his latest CD and DVD launch was mainly about this, and my attendance was fundamentally to honor and celebrate this reality. 

More importantly, I intensely believe Vusi’s real life story is not just a tale of restoration and a music career. It’s a story with fundamental teachings and inspiration for young people in our country. It is a story about the life most of Youth battle with.

It is a story about living a genuine human life. One wise fellow once said, ‘show me a man who has never made a mistake, and I will show you one who has never lived’. It is a unique and necessary story; it is a classic real life story. It is a story most young people need to hear quite often. It is a story that can, and should, be used to inspire and restore lives of many young people across the country. It is a story destined to give hope to the despairing.

As youth advocate I have seen many cases of despair among our country’s children, it is really disheartening. Socioeconomic hardships have seriously driven some of our young citizens into lives of; crime, drugs, prostitution and bleakness.

Some are already behind bars, some are in psychiatric hospitals and some have committed suicide. One of the greatest challenges with these young people is restoring hope and self-confidence, convincing them that there is a second chance in their lives.

Though the NYP (National Youth Policy) and associated guiding Youth Development Frameworks speak profoundly about Youth rehabilitation and restoration, it is clear there is still way much more that needs to be done in this area. I believe Vusi’s life story is one of the tangible (real life) stories that should be used to inspire and change lives of many young people in this country.


*Taziba is a Youth Advocate, Columnist & Researcher with keen interest in Youth Policy, Civic Engagement, Social Inclusion and Capacity Development (7189 0354/gtaziba@yahoo.co.uk)

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WeekendLife

Death or Divorce – a tough choice for many

24th May 2022
pic

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: clairemom26@gmail.com
Twitter: speakclairely

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WeekendLife

7 Days to go before As One Music Concert

24th May 2022
ATI

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.

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WeekendLife

Phakalane soars to new heights

24th May 2022
Magang

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.

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