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Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent demystified


Nowadays, young people have an enquiring minds and I recently came across a post of a young person on social media asking who was Princess Marina and why one of the biggest government referral hospitals was named after her.

It would appear that the person in question was not happy about the naming of the hospital after somebody that Batswana hardly knew. There are institutions all over this country that are named after individuals who have made a mark, one way or another in the history of Botswana. Some of the icons who have had the honour of having institutions named after them include She John Nswazwi of the Bakalanga-ba-ka Nswazwi, the legendary segaba player, Ratsie Setlhako, the first  President of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama, Kgosi Kgari Sechele of the Bakwena and the celebrated radio announcer, Phillip Moshotle among others. 

As mentioned before, many of these individuals have made an impact in the history of Botswana and but still many have never heard anything about this woman, Princess Marina. Princess Marina was born on November 30, 1906 to noble Greek and Danish families. Her father was Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark. Her family was generally poor and forced into exile when she was 11 following the overthrow of the Greek monarchy.

She became a member of the British royal family when she married Prince George of Kent, the fourth son of King George V of the United Kingdom (UK) on November 29, 1934 and became known as Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent. Princess Marina was the last foreign princess to marry into the British royal family. After her husband’s death, the Duchess of Kent, continued to be an active member of the British royal family carrying out a wide range of royal official assignments on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.

Princess Marina represented the Queen at the first Independence Day celebration in Botswana which took place on September, 30 1966. This was the second African country she had visited on a royal assignment the first having been Ghana on the occasion of her independence in 1957. This event most certainly made the princess an important part of the history of the country no wonder,  she is one of the few members of the British royal family who has had an institution named after her in Botswana.

One can only guess that while the Queen was somewhere nicer and cooler, it was the Princess who had to bear the unbearable September Botswana heat and dust as she observed the Independence Day proceedings. There is no doubt that as a representative of the Queen, she was afforded all the respect that a royal deserved and that under the sweltering heat, she delivered a message from the Queen herself. Unfortunately, Princess Marina was not able to make a follow-up visit to Botswana because she died on August, 27 1968.  

Interestingly, a local magazine carried a story that gave readers a glimpse into Princess Marina’s Botswana visit when one Trevor Bottomely, a government officer at the time noted that prior to the event, she like other women in Gaborone wondered if she had chosen a suitable dress for the occasion. The same Bottomely, who had been tasked with executing fireworks display at the conclusion of the handing-over ceremony would also note that, “…another rocket, finished, sparking and spluttering under the car which was waiting to take Princess Marina back to her residence.”

A eulogy published in a UK newspaper described Princess Marina’s funeral thus: “Senior members of the Royal Family have attended the funeral of Princes Marina, the Duchess of Kent, Princess marina, 61 died on Tuesday from an inoperable brain tumour, only hours after it was revealed that she was seriously ill.” According to the report, the mourners were led by her niece by marriage Queen Elizabeth II. Although she died only two years after visiting Botswana, it is clear Princess Marina’s legacy will remain in this country for many years to come given the fact that the largest referral hospital in the country was named after her.

Perhaps individuals who have been present at the first Independence Day will be challenged to write a broader article focusing on the princess. We, as a nation need to rewrite our history so that our children and their children get to understand it better.

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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

… 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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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    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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