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Bully Beef


If there is one thing that really gets my goat it is hearing stories of bullying, because, having been a victim myself this is a sensitive subject for me. My experiences with bullies range from being mocked and ridiculed for my funny accent at school to being terrorised and terrified on the school bus or walking round town, where I was often hit for no apparent reason. I even experienced bullying in one of my first jobs. My earliest memory of bullying was in primary school when a note was passed to me telling me that Tom Benson was going to fight me after school.

No rhyme or reason, I just got the memo implying that this was just not my day! Now maybe I just have one of those faces that lend itself to being picked on or maybe many times I was in the wrong place but I suspect incidents of bullying are less to do with such things. Schools now have anti-bullying campaigns, policies etc and the subject is discussed in form classes within the school environment but in my day it wasn’t spoken of and you kept quiet for fear of making things worse.  But I haven’t forgotten it and as a result my interest in bullying these days is not on the victims but the perpetrators. If I had my way I would develop an anti bullying hotline where people could be reported and then publicly shamed for their crime, much like the treatment of sex offenders.

Studies indicate that it wasn’t as simple as my face or my funny accent didn’t fit, though they were always a good starting point.  In fact who gets bullied is hard to predict and to the bully it’s any excuse. It’s not always the different, weak or vulnerable that gets picked on ask singer Demi Levato, or Justin Timberlake or actress Jennifer Lawrence – you see what good company I am in? Tyra Banks got called "Lightbulb Head." Chris Colfer was stuffed into lockers. Rihanna was mocked for not being "black enough." And as for Howard Stern, he had to go to judo school just to learn to defend himself. Even Michael Phelps the best Olympic swimmer of all time suffered at the hands of bullies.
As you might expect many make a lifetime habit of bullying others. The same people who you ran away from after school or avoided on the school bus, progressed their tactics into the workplace where they continue their bullying ways.  The difference from school bullies and workplace bullies is that in the workplace and as the perpetrators are adults the actions are less obvious, more subversive and the impact possibly more damaging. Harry Levinson, Ph.D., the Dean of Organizational Psychologists and Head of the Levinson Institute in Waltham, Massachusetts says 40 years of consulting have given him some idea of what management bullies do and why.

“They over-control, micromanage, and display contempt for others, usually by repeated verbal abuse and sheer exploitation. They constantly put others down with snide remarks or harsh, repetitive, and unfair criticism. They don't just differ with you, they differ with you contemptuously; they question your adequacy and your commitment. They humiliate you in front of others.”
So why do they manage to keep their positions?  Because research shows that successful corporate bullies create problems, but they are competent. Often they are very bright workers. And therein lies the problem says Laurence Stybel, Ph.D. “They make a significant contribution to the company as workers. They get promoted because of their technical expertise. Then they wind up supervising others, and spew on people in support functions, or competitors, perhaps even their own bosses.” The typical successful bully thinks, “They won't do anything to me-I'm the best they've got,” Stybel says.
Sadly we see this far too often.  If you achieve results an organisation will forgive your volatile nature, disregard for people’s rights and rudeness, trading this off against corporate profits. So why bother to teach management skills? If good management is not considered essential in the journey to corporate wealth rather let’s teach the principle of the shortest distance to achieve your goal. What is the sense of insisting on a modus operandi of best practice behaviour if others have carte blanche to disregard it and abuse at their will?

According to Jay MacDonald once a bully has targeted you, he or she, since bullying is an equal-opportunity trait – rarely moves on voluntarily. It's up to you to shake them off. Unfortunately, it's the bully that usually wins. Data sourced from the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute indicates that 70 percent of targets lose their jobs once they've been targeted; of that, 31 percent leave voluntarily for health reasons, 37 percent are constructively discharged and the remaining 2 percent just fall through the cracks.

But it’s not all doom and gloom if you have been bullied. According to an article by Bianca Lorenz and from a study on victims and bullies the research showed that victims tend to be more successful—but less healthy—than bullies in adulthood. In general, victimized kids grow up to do better than the kids who bullied them.

They made more money, had more friends, and were much, much less likely to be convicted of a crime—but they still did worse than those who weren’t bullied at all and their mental and physical health tended to be worse than everyone else.  But Michael Phelps seems fairly sorted, Justin Timberlake is laughing all the way to the bank and I somehow doubt Rhianna ever has to feel lonely.  And me – well, judge for yourself!

STUART WHITE is the Managing Director of HRMC and they can be reached on 395 1640 or at

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

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.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

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.

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)


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.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

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.

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