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The life of a security Guard

Batlhalefi Leagajang
Through the Human Eye

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.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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