Last week, I paid tribute to one of the heroines of my life, Honourable Gladys Kokorwe, the living legend. This week, in commemoration of Women’s month, I pay tribute to several other heroines of my life.
Those in my home village, Tshesebe, know her as Magie or MaNkwebi. She was born Boatametsi Margret Mnungwa Morima. She would later be called MaaLameck with reference to our first Born, my elder brother. Today, she is commonly called MaaBinda or MaNkwebi. She is my mother, the daughter of my late grandmother, Kganetso ‘MaaBilly’ Morima, and my late grandfather, Johannes ‘TaTjikukwa’ Morima. She is my mother, the daughter in law to my late grandfather, Seroba ‘Ta Caphus’ Binda, and my grandmother, MaaMotsiripane.
Against all odds and adversity, she has served her community of Tshesebe and surrounding villages with distinction. As far back as the 1980s, when volunteerism was not yet fashionable and there were no allowances, she served as a volunteer Thuto Gaegolelwe facilitator under the Department of Non-Formal Education.
From the 1990s to date she has served in almost all committees in the village, including the Village Development Committee (VDC); Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Red Cross (RC) and, her passion, Home Based Care (HBC). It is with the latter that she has made the greatest of impact, assisting the sick, the needy and orphaned and vulnerable children. She has, of course with the assistance of others in the community, fed the hungry, housed the homeless, and nursed the chronically sick.
In meetings, she keeps minutes with the excellence of a Chartered Secretary, yet she is hardly educated, she, having sacrificed her own education for her siblings as was common in those days. Yet, she found time to nurture the growth of ten children, all of them boys, with twins for that matter. In fact, there was a time when her burden was twofold. This was in the 1990s when she and our father, Shadreck Caiphus ‘TaNkwebi’ Binda, housed four of her siblings and her mother.
Her name Boatametsi, from the phrase Boatametsi bogosi jwa legodimo, meaning the kingdom of God is upon us, was not in vain. Clearly, MaaBinda’s parents’ desires when they named her were not in vain. At Tshesebe Primary School, I met two other heroines of my life, Mma Maloiso and Mma Lenyatso. Mma Maloiso was firm, yet parental. She would punish us yet nurture us and give us hope. When punishing us she would utter the words ‘ndoo ku khwa zwikia’, but she said that with love. She also taught her own children, yet she treated all of us the same.
Mma Lenyatso was the Deputy Head Teacher, but she was, in fact, the de facto Head Teacher, yet she did that subtly without undermining the de jure Head Teacher. Nor did she raise alarm with the community and the authorities. What stands out for me is how she handled herself with calm when we lost our Head Teacher, Mr. Malunga, in traumatic circumstances. She became our mother and father. I later realized how much of a responsibility she had, but she never cracked.
At Thamani Community Junior Secondary School (CJSS), I met another heroine of my life, Mma Ndzinge, who taught me Agriculture. She had such commitment to work that one could only admire even at such a young age. But what I admired more about her was her discipline. Her manner of dress was conservative, but impeccable. Even outside the classroom, she was the embodiment of a teacher, never to be been in such places as bars and bottle stores.
At Materspei College, I met another heroine of my life, Ms. Tebatso Menyatso, who taught me English Literature. It is her teaching of Harper Lee’s award-winning novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ that awoke, in me, the spirit of resistance to injustice. The way she highlighted the book’s themes of the scourges of rape and racial inequality was exceptional.
She lived what she taught. She was humble. She believed in fairness for all, and she treated her students alike despite their varying socio-economic circumstances. She would later exhibit these traits when she later worked for the Women Affairs Department (WAD) where she championed the cause for women emancipation and empowerment.
At Tirelo Sechaba, I met another heroine of my life, Mma Barati, in whose home, in Bokaa, I lived with Herbert Mabutho. She accepted us, accommodated us and took care of us as if we were her own children. She gave us access to all the rooms in her house. She allowed us to use her furniture, cutlery and utensils, some of which I had never seen. When she visited, because she stayed in Gaborone, she brought us all sorts of food and goodies. I remember how she used to cook bogobe jwa ting for us.
Most importantly, she took keen interest in our lives. She gave us counsel, not as strangers, but as her own children. She taught her children, Barati, Molosiwa, Talita and Bonolo, that we were their brothers. Even when I later reunited with them, about ten years ago, they had the same regard for us. Unfortunately, Barati had departed before we met again. May her soul rest in eternal peace.
At Tonota College of Education (TCE), where I trained as a secondary school teacher, I met another heroine of my life, Mma Ntloedibe, who lectured us in Religious Studies. She taught with passion. She led a discipled life both within and outside the lecture room. It was her exposition to the world’s religions and her emphasis on the religion’s ethical codes that made me fall in love with ethics, something which motivated me to teach Moral Education and write books on the subject though I had not studied it.
At Molopo River CJSS in Phitshane Molopo where I first taught, I met another heroine of my life, the late Mma Sebonego, who was the School Head. She turned my youthful exuberance into positive energy, allowing me to grow by mentoring me when I served in the school’s Management Team and the School Board of Governors as the Teachers’ Representative.
Admittedly, at the time, owing to my leftist inclination, and having been in the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the College, I was ‘troublesome’, but she never sidelined me. She gave me responsibilities when I deserved them, and she denied me when I was not deserving. When I started my writing career, she supported me, giving me leave of absence to deliver my manuscripts in Gaborone, and allowing me to attend workshops organized by my Publishers.
When I started my volunteerism with the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC), she allowed me to attend meetings and workshops. She allowed the youth free access to the school’s resources. It was during my stay at Phitshane Molopo that I met another of my heroines, Mrs. Chuma Sesinyi, who was the District Youth Officer.
Her love for youth development when youth development was not yet as fashionable as today was unparalleled. She served the youth selflessly, sometimes putting her own job at risk by supporting youth Non-Governmental Organizations beyond the parameters set by government. Her support for the then Good hope Sub-District Youth Council, Borolong District Youth Council and Southern District Youth Councils, which I had the privilege of serving as chairperson, was without measure.
Unfortunately, we parted when I left teaching and the district to join BNYC. Fortunately, my loss was soon replaced when I met yet another heroine of my life, Mrs. Tlhabologo Nzdinge, when she served as the Director of the Department of Culture & Youth. She heightened, in me, the spirit of selfless youth service; the spirit of country commitment and honor. The youth called her ‘mother’ for she was truly a mother to our youth, a shoulder to cry on, a symbol of hope. She was a Permanent Secretary who never became Permanent Secretary.
Her doors were always open for the youth not because she sought political mileage, but because she truly believed in youth development. She lived the principle that there is nothing for the youth without the youth. This, she exhibited during the revision of the National Youth Policy (NYP) and the National Youth Strategy (NYS) as well as during the development of the Guidelines for the National Youth Development Fund (NYDF) when she ensured that youth from all sectors of the population were involved.
Mojamorago ke Kgosi. When she was born, her mother, Tsholofelo Lebanna, named her Masego, meaning blessings. When her grandmother soothed her, she sang sehela sa Lontone, ‘O bale Masego a gago a oa neilweng ke Modimo.’ Her surname was Lebanna. Today, she is Dr. Masego Mercy Morima. She is my wife, the mother of our one and only child, Ndulamo Anthony Prasad Morima Jr. I call her Moskie.
When we got married, about twenty years ago, we truly became a part of one another. To my younger brothers, she became the sister they never had. To my mother, she became the daughter she never had. Born to a single parent, and from a humble family, she worked against all odds to educate herself from the Diploma in Secondary Education that government sponsored her for, to a Doctorate of Philosophy in Business Management.
I thank her mother, my mother in law, the late Tsholofelo Lebanna, for giving birth to such a spirit. I thank her grandmother, the matriarch, the late Mma Ntebang, for nurturing this great spirit, for when she speaks of her, tears roll down her cheeks. I thank the Lebanna family for raising her into the diamond she has become. When I traversed the length and breadth of this country during my time at BNYC she kept the fire burning and took care of our son. When my writing kept me away from home for days without end, she kept the lights on and the water running.
She stood by me during the tribulations I faced at BNYC, especially after I became Executive Director when some in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) wanted me fired because they believed I was pro-Opposition. When they finally had their way and I was fired, she was there for me, for our son, for my family. Her love never wavered. Together, we burnt the mid-night oil during our studies with University of South Africa, and later North West University. She used to remind me that she will never rest until I become a practising attorney, and today I am.
When I met her, she told me that her dream is to one day hold a Doctorate of Philosophy, and I assured her that I will not rest until she attains her dream, and today she is Dr. Masego Mercy Morima (PhD). These are the heroines of my life! Even if Allah, The All Merciful, calls on me now, I will be content for I know I have paid my debt by celebrating most, if not all, of the women who made me what I am today.
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.