It was indeed refreshing to read an article in the Weekend Post edition of 17th January 2015 by Kgosi Kgafela II titled “2015 is a year for forgiveness”. After stating that Bakgatla have, for the past six years, undergone a remarkable journey of challenges in Botswana and South Africa, Kgosi Kgafela II states several significant issues which I consider hereunder. In making such consideration, the underlying theme of my intervention will be that, for the sake of our beloved country, government and Bakgatla should forgive each other and reconcile.
Firstly, Kgosi Kgafela II says “through these challenges, we have exposed the truth where it mattered most, consequent to which we have gained valuable lessons about the status of society and the future we should build”. As regards ‘exposing the truth’, there is no doubt that government would also profess that, in seeking to enforce the law, it stood by the truth. However, both government and Bakgatla would agree that each of them, as per Kgosi Kgafela II’s words, ‘gained valuable lessons about the status of society and the future we should build’.
The lesson that Bakgatla may have learnt from this six year journey is that because our law is influenced by the Positivist as opposed to the Natural approach, our law is not "Law as it ought to be" or "Society as it ought to be", but, as the English jurist John Austin (1790-1859) said, “The existence of law is one thing; its merit and demerit another. Whether it be or be not is one enquiry; whether it be or be not conformable to an assumed standard, is a different enquiry.” (1832, p. 157). Therefore, even if Bakgatla’s view on our law (e.g. the validity of the Constitution) had some merit from a Naturalist point of view, government’s view was always going to prevail from a Positivist point of view.
On the other hand, government’s greatest lesson may have been that when dealing with a Kgosi, especially if he or she has the support of his or her tribe like Kgosi Kgafela II has, you cannot pretend that you are dealing with an ordinary person. Government should have learnt this lesson when it, in 1994, suspended Kgosi Seapapitso IV and installed his son, the then heir apparent, Leema Gaseitsiwe, on acting capacity.
There arose such acrimony between government and BaNgwaketse that government business in the tribal area was compromised. Leema Gaseitsiwe’s life would never be the same because though he was, after Kgosi Seapapitso IV’s reinstatement, appointed as Court President in Jwaneng where he worked before he had car accident in 1999 which left him paralyzed, he never lived like an heir apparent until his death.
Though in terms of the doctrine of the rule of law our law rightly provides that all are equal before the law, just like the state President, cabinet ministers, Diplomats and Members of Parliament (MPs) are not treated as ordinary people, a Kgosi cannot be treated as an ordinary person. While enforcement of the law should be without fear or favour as our Constitution demands, diplomacy, privilege, or, at the bare minimum, etiquette, should have informed government to deal with Kgosi Kgafela II differently.
Secondly, Kgosi Kgafela II says “our names have indeed risen from the ashes… and resurrected a new life through serendipitous circumstances”. Though he says this in reference to his publication, The King’s Journal, I wish to construe this to mean that, though it took too long, reconciliation efforts between Bakgatla and government have commenced.
Though it will have been born of serendipitous circumstances, as Kgosi Kgafela II says, the peace and harmony that would emanate therefrom will be a resurrection of a new life where Bakgatla, like other tribes, live in peace and harmony with their government. Not only that. It will also be a resurrection of a new life where Bakgatla, like other tribes, live in peace and harmony with each other since the stand-off inevitably divided both the tribe and the royal family.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, Kgosi Kgafela II says “the Greatest Lessons learnt so far, are those of forgiveness; where we shall find in 2015 people forgiving their adversaries for the perceived wrongs committed – as King David did in 2 Samuel Chapter 18 & 19”.
It is this phrase which persuaded me to write this article for I hear from Kgosi Kgafela II a yearning for forgiveness between Bakgatla and government. Therefore, regardless of the perceived wrong that either party believes the other has committed there should be forgiveness. If forgiveness can be possible between adversaries, as King David did, there can certainly be forgiveness between Bakgatla and government since they are not adversaries.
Fourthly, Kgosi Kgafela II says “the forgiveness discussed is not the false type designed to conceal cowardice, or to obfuscate responsibility; but one that comes from the bottom of the heart, as a result of having appreciated the lessons of Nature arising in a challenge: And applying those lessons in a way aimed at bringing about a miracle of change taught in the book ‘A Course in Miracles”. Certainly, if Bakgatla, Kgosi Kgafela II in particular, and government have learnt the lessons from their stand-off the forgiveness described herein should be possible.
In the result, Bakgatla, Kgosi Kgafela II in particular, and government have to swallow their pride and take responsibility for their actions by either apologizing to each other or facing whatever consequence they have to face if such is truly inevitable. This will indeed be the beginning of forgiveness for forgiveness does not mean abdication of responsibility. Nor does it go hand in hand with forgetting. In fact, ‘forgiving and forgetting’ is potentially dangerous since it leads to half-hearted forgiveness.
If such genuine forgiveness were to obtain, Bakgatla and government will have gained valuable lessons about the status of the society and the future they should build. That future requires that Bakgatla be led by their Kgosi, Kgosi Kgafela II, not from South Africa, but from Botswana where his seat of power truly is.
That future requires that Bakgatla, like other tribes, have their Kgosi in Ntlo ya Dikgosi. That future requires that Bakgatla, like other tribes, be under the full control of government. History cannot forgive us if the history of Bakgatla were to be distorted by the banishment, albeit self-imposed, of their Kgosi. Similarly, history cannot forgive us if it were to be recorded that there is a time when Bakgatla’s allegiance to the state was in doubt.
â€¨Kgosi Kgafela II concludes his article with a quotation so illuminating that failing to reproduce it will be unforgiveable. It says: “Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you? In no fantasy have you ever seen anything so lovely. Nothing you see here, sleeping or waking, comes near to such loveliness. And nothing will you value like unto this, nor hold so dear. Nothing that you remember that made your heart sing with joy has ever brought you even a little part of the happiness this sight will bring you”. (p.352 paragraph 1 lines 1-5: The forgiven World).
Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.
The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.
Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.
At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.
Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.
Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).
This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.
In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.
Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?
Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.
POSITIVITY Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.
“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)
We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”
Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.
Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be. You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.
When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.
Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.
However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.” “Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)
COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT
Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.
It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.
Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.
Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.
The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.
It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.