Makatane, machikilane, mogatsa molamu le thobane, morubisi, officer. All these names and others refer to a security guard whether they work day or night shift. We all encounter security guards who work day in and day out to either protect us or our properties or at least give an impression that they are protecting us because some of them enjoy their sleep during working hours. Despite the few wrongs, these people do a great job in our lives and they seldom get recognition for the work they do.
There are many stories about security guards, some very funny while some very sad. Most of the people have encountered a good or a bad security guard especially when still looking for a job. There is a type of an all-powerful security guard who can actually refuse you entry into a building by simply telling you that “ga re hire,” thus adding to the pain of not being employed that you already have.
I remember while looking for a job I was refused entry into the property by a security guard who simply told me that ga ba hire. I tried to explain to him that I have a Degree because I thought he somehow mistook me for a potential competition for his job and he simply said, “ owaii, wena ebile o ko tlase. Ke tlhola ke busa le ba di masters le di doctor ha. Santse re sa hire morena.” This is a typical security guard who takes instructions as they are as saves the employer the trouble of seeing many job seekers on a daily basis and one wonders whether he is ever thanked for this dirty job.
There is a story that has done rounds in Gaborone of a very well-known businessman who was retiring from the directorship of a blue chip company and the company threw a farewell party for him. The ever grinding rumour mill says on the day of the party the security guard at the gate was told that only those with invitation tickets will be allowed entry into the premises and for some reason the man of the moment arrived with his wife without a ticket.
Upon exchanging pleasantries with the security guard things changed when he demanded the invitation card and then old man tried to explain that the party was in his honour and he was Mr so and so but the security guard insisted that “ go tsenwa ka di thekethe.” Apparently the CEO of the organisation arrived and witnessed the drama and tried to intervene and the security guard plainly told him that he is simply following the instructions they gave him and if they wanted him to allow everyone in without a ticket that was fine. Apparently the CEO had to go in, get a ticket from one of the staff members to come and give it to the man of the moment so that the security guard could allow him and he saluted him and let him through.
The funny thing about security guards is that despite the fact that we hardly ever appreciate the good work they do, they can wield so much power and can really humble one. During our days when we were starting at the University of Botswana there was a security guard at the Department of Student Placement and Welfare called Rre Mfanyane who knew almost every student that has been sponsored by government and he knew those that have failed and had been re-sponsored and those that have lost their sponsorship due to failing consecutively and he was very quick to embarrass one.
If you did not take his orders he’d simply tell you “ke tlaa o tima scholarship.” At times those that were already at UB would come with some confidence and try to jump the queue and rre Mfanyane would simply say “ako o fole line. Batho ba le bone ba batla scholarship jaaka wena. Bone e bile ba batoka ga ba feile jaaka wena.” That was the all-powerful man that many can relate with and it is so funny that despite keeping the order and ensuring that we were not bullied by the seniors none of us has ever gone up to him then or years later just to say thank you. But he did his job with so much pride.
Years later I encountered another security officer at UB and our confrontation was not good. Being a UB student I had nothing else to defeat him with except to tell him that I am more educated than him and he was nothing and the response he gave me scared me and kept ringing in my head. “E ke univesithi of Botswana papa. Ba tlile ba le bantsi ba le makgakga hela jaaka wena jaana mme ba feila botlhoko.
O icheke papa.” Every time I wrote the exams I remembered these words and for some reason I thought he would definitely know if I failed. Despite being an A student I still had this fear that he might have cursed me and for some reason he made me work hard but like any other security guard he never got what was due to him, a simple thank you.
There is another category of the humble and docile security guard who finds himself being abused in an organisation. They double as car washers and groundsmen. Many of us at the work places will take advantage of this guy because he had asked to wash our car so that he gets taxi fare or lunch money and we will make him wash the car every day and despite doing a better job than the guys at the car wash he will always get the coins in the ashtray or if lucky get P20.
Some of these guys work as guards in our homes and they find themselves working as groundsmen. They go around the yard picking the dog faeces, they sweep our yards and water the gardens and in return get nothing or if lucky some left overs. We forget the good work they do for us apart from what they are paid for and we fail to appreciate them. We instead see them as tools that have no right to say no to our demands.
There is also a security guard who mans the ATM in the malls and banks. This is someone who has not gone far with school, who does not have a good command of the queen’s language but finds himself or herself coming to the rescue of many educated people who cannot follow simple instructions on the machine written in the language they derive so much pride from speaking.
The poor security guard will be asked to help withdraw ewallet or cash send from the ATM, to help deposit money or check if the machine dispenses a certain denomination of Pulas. We have so much trust in them that we can even give them our PINs so that they assist us even though one would not trust the same guy if they were to meet them elsewhere.
How many of those that have been assisted by these security guards have actually said thank you to them, given them P20 or anything to show appreciation? The same people who for starters did not greet the poor man when they found them by the ATM would feel so important greeting a teller inside the bank with all smiles.
They’d ask the teller how their day is and how they have been. This conversation delays progress especially if the teller is a young enchantress and the customer is a man. Once the transaction is done the teller without asking would be given P200 for lunch and the man will leave the bank feeling so good thinking they have planted some seeds that will lead to some benefits. If it happens by mistake that the same man receives a call while leaving the bank to deposit money for someone and they see there is no queue at the deposit machine they will politely ask the security guard for assistance and the poor guy will get nothing. That is how thankless this job can be.
I hope this article will challenge us to start appreciating the security guards we deal with in our daily lives. Greet them, ask them how they are, how their families are doing. Say good night to them when you leave the office. Say thank you to them at the end of the day and just show appreciation. That is the best that you can offer. Appreciation.
Batlhalefi Leagajang is a former Editor of The Botswana Gazette, a Media and PR Consultant, an Entrepreneur and a Liberal Politician.
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.