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VALENTINES DAY: Put a price tag on love day!


Stumbling upon headlines that Americans will spend a stunning $18.9 billion just to celebrate Valentine’s Day was, to say the least disturbing.  Undeniably, Valentine’s is the hallmark of love and spending for love is acceptable to some extent, but I believe by now even the worst suckers for the “special day” know by now how commercialized the day is, but some people believe in splurging their good money to demonstrate their feelings for that special someone, love and money have always gone together!


It is quite intriguing too that even locally, a lot of people have spent to celebrate the day, what with our shops going all out with the crazy specials on lingerie, chocolates, lovey-dovey mugs, teddy bears and a list of other totally useless items.


What is preposterous however is the notion of self-gifting on Valentine’s Day. Some women have been known to buy and send themselves flowers or chocolates or a cuddly, fluffy red and white toy while some even have gone into lingerie shops to buy themselves matching pairs of lacy underwear.


Valentine’s has really come a long way. For centuries, the day was a mash-up of a wild Roman pagan festival known as Lupercalia, a Roman festival during which men slaughtered a goat and a dog and used the hides to lash the women in order to enhance their fertility and the celebration of two catholic saints (both named Valentine) who were executed on February 14, by Emperor Claudius II of ancient Rome. By the middle ages, it was the norm to give loved ones hand-made cards or flowers during valentines.


The Valentine’s we celebrate today was most probably spurred by entrepreneurship, and research suggests that we have Richard Cadbury and Esther Howland to thank or this. Cadbury belonged to the famous chocolate making family, he then had an idea to package the delectable in heart-shaped boxes and selling them, this was in the mid-1800s.


Howland built her reputation as the “Mother of the American Valentine” by designing and popularizing high-quality lace-paper Valentine cards featuring messages of love and devotion through her company, the New England Valentine Company which she reportedly kept thriving for decades.


A random survey in a local mall shows that most men spend only because they feel obligated. An elderly gentleman spotted at a bookstore’s Greeting Cards section said he was buying his wife and mother of his three children a card. “She simply wouldn’t be happy if I don’t buy her anything, I buy her simple things like a card or chocolate, just anything special,” he said adding that if he could spend more he would because it would make his wife happy.


On asking him if he ever got anything from his wife, the gentleman revealed that he has always gotten gifts from her and she was the one who made him believe in buying valentines gifts. “I think she gives thought to the gifts she buys because I can keep the gifts she bought me before, last year I got a foot massager, and I have shirts, t-shirts and even socks from way back.  I tried to discourage her in the beginning because I was clueless about these kinds of things but failed,” he said.


Another younger looking man, who only wanted to be identified as “Kg” said he always wants to go all out to impress his lady. He revealed that he had spent the last two valentines with her. “The first Valentines I took her out to a dinner and presented her with some chocolates and perfume, clearly I was trying to impress her but now I feel I have to keep that standard.” He however said he was now trying to spend less but still trying to make her feel special. “I doubt it will match the first time we celebrated together because I obviously spent more then, but it will still be as romantic this time,” he added.


Some men believe in spending because they think that is what most women want. “Girls love us to spend on them, especially during days like Valentines, when you don’t buy her anything your love is suddenly questioned,” says Teddy Mokgosi.
He says that he has had experiences with past girlfriends where their fights were about him not buying a birthday or Valentines’ gift and he has resorted to buying a gift, or spending money on a dinner or lodges just to “keep the peace”.


Another couple seen at the same mall revealed that they both agreed about spending less for valentines’ because they didn’t need a day to validate their love or relationship.  They said that they intended on spending the day like any other and go out together in the night, like always.


Contrary to popular belief, most women do not make a fuss about the price tag of a gift they receive.


Host of popular RB2 program Night Caps, Otshidile Onkabetse believes that a lot of people want to be appreciated and want it expressed through gifts.  “I think every man feels the pressure whether a woman expresses her desire to be spoilt on the day or not. Shopping outlets and the media are doing a real good job at reminding people to do something for their partners on valentine’s and while others may turn a blind eye, most people feel the pressure.

On the flip side there could be some ladies who make it known that they want a man to spend on them, but i think it’s only because they want to be appreciated, i should think that if men only knew that women just want to be appreciated and that it’s not only about the gifts but rather the thought and the effort. Even if he did something extraordinary which showed he loved and appreciated her without spending money she would still feel special,” she said.


She says that she personally doesn’t care much about the gift or its price but would still appreciate it “I would just like someone to go the extra mile to celebrate the love we share and not the day. I think that’s where people miss the whole point of valentine’s, it’s not just a day set apart to buy gifts and celebrate the day itself but a day to celebrate love, if people saw it that way their approach towards the day would be different and even buying gifts would be less burdensome on those who purchase and for those who receive,” the radio personality asserted.


For 22 year old Precious Jansen, using money to buy expensive gifts on Valentine’s is a total waste. “Although it is sweet that someone would want to buy something for their loved one, I don’t think people need to spend money on luxurious stuff, even a home cooked meal would do the job,” she said.


While it is very unlikely that sharing priced gifts on one glorified day alone could in any way assure a happy or healthy relationship, it is worth noting that the high of that one day does add memories to one’s love life, but then again, with another Valentine’s literally upon us, it’s worth wondering how deep a whole we have put in our pockets, or of those we love.

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ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.

Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”

Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.

On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.

He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”

President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.

“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”

When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.

“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”

He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.

“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:

He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”

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Masisi saddened by deaths of elephant attacks

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed a strong worry over elephants killing people in Botswana. When speaking in Virginia this week, Masisi said it is unfortunate that Batswana have paid a price with their own blood through being attacked by elephants.

“Communities also suffer unimaginable economic losses yearly when their crops are eaten by the elephants. In spite of such incidents of human-elephant conflict, our people embrace living together with the animals. They fully understand wildlife conservation and its economic benefits in tourism.”

In 2018, Nthobogang Samokwase’s father was attacked by an elephant when travelling from the fields, where he stayed during the cropping season.

It was reported that the man couldn’t run because of his age. He was found trampled by the elephant and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

In the same year, in Maun, a 57-year-old British woman was attacked by an elephant at Boro and died upon arrival at the hospital. The woman was with her Motswana partner, and were walking dogs in the evening.

Last month, a Durban woman named Carly Marshall survived an elephant attack while on holiday in the bush in Botswana. She was stabbed by one of the elephant’s tucks through the chest and was left with bruises. Marshall also suffered several fractured ribs from the ordeal.

President Masisi Botswana has the largest population of African elephants in the world, totaling more than 130 000. “This has been possible due to progressive conservation policies, partnerships with the communities, and investment in wildlife management programmes.”

In order to benefit further from wildlife, Masisi indicated that government has re-introduced controlled hunting in 2019 after a four-year pause. “The re-introduction of hunting was done in an open, transparent and democratic way, giving the communities an opportunity to air their views. The funds from the sale of hunting quota goes towards community development and elephant conservation.”

He stressed that for conservation to succeed, the local people must be involved and derive benefits from the natural resources within their localities.

“There must be open and transparent consultations which involve all sectors of the society. It is against this backdrop that as a country, we lead the continent on merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development.”

Masisi stated that Botswana is open to collaborative opportunities, “particularly with identifiable partners such as Virginia Tech, in other essential areas such as conservation, and the study of the interplay among the ecology of diseases of wild animals and plants, and their effects on human health and socio-economic development.”

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Gov’t commit to injecting more funds in fighting HIV

24th March 2023

Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.

“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”

Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.

“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”

He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.

In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.

Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.

Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”

“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”

Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.

“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”

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