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Stuart White

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?”  So sing the nuns in The Sound of Music in their desperation to curtail the exuberance of their enthusiastic novitiate with a heart of gold but a tendency to headstrong impulsiveness.  And I bet the English Cricket Board know just how they felt.  For ‘Maria’ just substitute ‘Kevin Pietersen’ or KP, if you prefer.  For he is the problem they have never been able to solve and this week it appears they’ve given up trying.

This South African born cricketer has had controversy as his middle name pretty much ever since he appeared on the cricketing scene.  Now best known as a batsman, KP went through the training and selection process in his native South Africa as a bowler where he was thought to have potential and might have had a promising career, making his First Class debut playing for Natal in 1997. 

But he grew impatient with the slowness of his rise through the ranks, blaming the racial quota system in South African cricket which he felt was holding him back and soon after he flounced off to England in high dudgeon, the first of many flounces and many demonstrations of high dudgeon that were to be characteristic of his undoubtedly charismatic career. 

Even over in England he also had to wait his turn and pay his dues by playing in county cricket for 4 years, before eventually being picked to join the England squad in an ODI against Zimbabwe in 2004, quickly followed by a place on the Test Squad team in the Ashes the following year, after which he secured a more or less permanent spot on the team. 

And his stats as an England player are undoubtedly impressive: 104 test matches, a total of 8181 runs, including 985 4s and 81 6s;  136 ODIS, 4440 runs, including 427 4s, and 77 6s;  37 T-20s, a total of 1176 runs, including  119 4s and 32 6s.

No doubt then the man can bat but he’s also a prat!  These are only some of the controversies that he has initiated in his 10-year career with England:

1. In 2003, he was trying to chart out a path to international success so when Nottinghamshire were relegated to the second Division, Pietersen wasn’t happy and voiced his opinion to the people who matter at the county. It is reported that Nottinghamshire Captain  HYPERLINK "" Jason Gallian threw Pietersen’s kit bag from the dressing room.

2. In 2006, Pietersen slammed the South African quota system in his book and also took a dig at South African captain  HYPERLINK "" Graeme Smith for his sledging tactics during England’s tour to South Africa in 2004-05, describing him as a ‘muppet.’ In reply, Smith stated, “I’m patriotic about my country, and that’s why I don’t like Kevin Pietersen.”

3. Pietersen created quite a stir with his switch-hit when, during a One-Day International (ODI) against New Zealand, he changed his footing several times and pulled the ball through the off-side. This continues to divide opinion, but it hasn’t stopped Pietersen from continuing to play the shot.  

4.  This was a doozy. Peter Moores took over as England coach in 2007 and Pietersen was given the captaincy in 2008, after Michael Vaughan’s withdrawal. He was off to a good start after winning one test against South Africa at The Oval and all 4 ODIs 4-0 but humiliating tour defeats against the Windies and the Indies were laid at his door for his controversial captaincy style.  Before the year was out, the differences between Pietersen and Moores were evident as the former declared that he couldn’t work with the coach.

As a result, Moores was axed, but Pietersen too lost his captaincy. The ECB stated that he had resigned, although Pietersen didn’t exactly remember putting his papers.  This was the shortest reign as captain in English cricketing history.  

5. When England played Pakistan at home in 2010, Pietersen was left out of the ODI side and he expressed his disgust with an explicit tweet. The tweet was deleted, but not before it was noticed by the world and the England management.

6. During the England-West Indies Test series in 2012, Pietersen set his sights on former England player Nick Knight, tweeting, “Can somebody please tell me how Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for Tests? Ridiculous.” As a result, the ECB fined him for his outburst. The amount was never revealed.

7. On June 1, 2012, the world was stunned when Pietersen called time on his ODI career when he opted for the lucrative IPL instead, leaving the ECB stunned.

8. In a test series against South Africa, England’s chances weren’t helped by Pietersen sending texts to some of the South Africans, with helpful hints as to how to bowl out Captain Andrew Strauss as well as derogatory remarks concerning Coach Andy Flower. As a result, Pietersen was immediately removed from the test team.

9. In the Ashes 2013-14 a silent war brewing between Pietersen and Flower. It was reported that Flower told the ECB it was him or KP.  Initially, Flower was backed by the board, but he then quit in early February 2014. Pietersen’s future seemed more secure, but then came the final blow on February 4 as the ECB decided that they have to move on and communicated their decision to the batsman and the world.

But it’s said that revenge is a dish best served cold and how sweet that must have tasted to newly-appointed Director of England Cricket, Andrew Strauss this week whose first major decision was to advise KP that he would not be playing for England this season, despite the batsman having given up his IPL contract and returned to county cricket to try and prove he deserved a place on the team and despite the fact that this came on top of his unbeaten 326 for Surrey in a match this week against Leicestershire.  

His England career now seems over once and for all, finishing with a bang and a self-pitying whimper as KP took to social media again to garner sympathy.  There are those in the cricketing fraternity who believe he deserves a little.  He was a big star with a big ego and some believe it was the job of management to manage him better. 

The counter to that is how do you control a loose cannon who goes off at odd moments in unexpected places – you might just as well blame meteorologists for tsunamis and earthquakes. And anyway, he’s down but hardly out, with lucrative contracts in the Caribbean Premier League, a return to the IPL and potential other T-20 contracts. 

So the world has not heard the last of Kevin Pietersen yet and I suspect that even when he finally retires to that great cricket pitch in the sky there’ll still be messages from beyond the grave of a less than angelic nature.  
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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