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These are the heroines of my life!


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.

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Appendicitis: Recognising the Signs

29th March 2022

Many a times I get clients casually walking into my room and requesting to be checked for “appendix”.  Few questions down the line, it is clear they are unaware of where the appendix is or what to expect when one does have it (appendicitis). Jokingly (or maybe not) I would tell them they would possibly not be having appendicitis and laughing as hard as they are doing. On the other hand, I would be impressed that at least they know and acknowledge that appendicitis is a serious thing that they should be worried about.

So, what is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix; a thin, finger-like pouch attached to the large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. Often the inflammation can be as a result of blockage either by the faecal matter, a foreign body, infection, trauma or a tumour. Appendicitis is generally acute, with symptoms coming on over the course of a day and becoming severe rapidly. Chronic appendicitis can also occur, though rarely. In chronic cases, symptoms are less severe and can last for days, weeks, or even months. 

Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency that almost always ends up in the operating theatre. Though the appendix is locally referred to as “lela la sukiri”, no one knows its exact role and it definitely does not have anything to do with sugar metabolism. Appendicitis can strike at any age, but it is mostly common from the teen years to the 30s.

Signs to look out for

If you have any of the following symptoms, go and see a Doctor immediately! Timely diagnosis and treatment are vital in acute appendicitis;

Sudden pain that starts around the navel and shifts to the lower right abdomen within hours

The pain becomes constant and increases in severity (or comes back despite painkillers)

The pain worsens on coughing, sneezing, laughing, walking or deep breaths

Loss of appetite

Nausea and vomiting


Constipation or diarrhoea

Abdominal bloating/fullness


The doctor often asks questions regarding the symptoms and the patient’s medical history. This will be followed up by a physical examination in which the Doctor presses on the abdomen to check for any tenderness, and the location of the pain. With acute appendicitis, pressing on and letting go of the right lower abdomen usually elicits an excruciatingly unbearable pain. Several tests may be ordered to determine especially the severity of the illness and to rule out other causes of abdominal pain. The tests may conditions include: blood tests, a pregnancy test, urinalysis, abdominal  “How do ultrasound scans work?” ultrasound (scan), CT scan or MRI Scan.


The gold standard treatment of acute appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix known as appendectomy. Luckily, a person can live just fine without an appendix! Surgical options include laparoscopy or open surgery and the type will be decided on by the Surgeon after assessing the patient’s condition. Painkillers and antibiotics are also given intravenously usually before, during and after the surgery.


Appendicitis can cause serious complications such as;

Appendicular mass/abscessIf the appendix is inflamed or bursts, one may develop a pocket of pus around it known as an abscess. In most cases, the abscess will be treated with antibiotics and drained first by placing a tube through one’s abdominal wall into the abscess. The tube may be left in place for a few hours or days while the infection is clearing up but ultimately one would still have surgery to remove the appendix.

Peritonitis – without treatment, the appendix can rupture/burst. The risk of this rises 48–72 hours after symptoms start. A ruptured appendix spreads the infection throughout the abdomen (peritonitis). This is life threatening and requires immediate surgery to remove the appendix and clean the abdominal cavity.

Death – The complications of appendicitis (and appendectomy) can be life threatening, only if the diagnosis has been missed and no proper treatment has been given on time. This is rare though with the evolved medical care.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email  HYPERLINK “” or visit

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

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A degree of common sense

7th February 2022

Here’s a news item from last month you may have missed. In December 2021 the University of Staffordshire announced it would be offered a degree course in pantomime! Yes, that’s right, a degree in popular festive entertainment, the Christmas panto.

We used to have one here, put on by the Capitol Players, though it seems to have fallen away in recent times, but the spectacle is still alive and well in the UK, both in local ad-dram (amateur dramatic ) societies and on the London stage and most of the major cities, these latter productions usually featuring at least one big-draw name from the world of show business with ticket prices commensurate with the star’s salary.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the pantomime format, it consists of a raucous mixture of songs and comedy all based around a well-known fairy or folk tale. Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, Cinderella, Jack & The Beanstalk & Dick Whittington are perennial favourites but any well-known tall tale goes. There is no set script, unlike a play, and storyline is just a peg to hang a coat of contemporary, often bawdy, gags on, in what should be a rollicking production of cross dressing – there has to be at least one pantomime dame, played by a man and always a figure of fun, and a Principal Boy, ostensibly the male lead, yet played by an attractive young woman.

As an art form it can trace its roots back to 16th century Italy and the Commedia Del’Arte which used a mélange of music, dance, acrobatics along with a cast of comic stock characters so it has a long and proud theatrical tradition but you have to wonder, does that really qualify it as a suitable subject for a university? Further, what use might any degree be that can be acquired in a single year? And last but not least, how much standing does any degree have which comes from a jumped-up polytechnic, granted university status along with many of its ilk back in 1992, for reasons best known to the government of the time? Even more worrying are the stated aims of the course.

Staffordshire University claims it is a world first and the masters course is aimed at people working inside as well as outside the industry. Students on the course, due to start in September 2022, will get practical training in the art form as well as research the discipline.

“We want to see how far we can take this,” Associate Professor of Acting and Directing Robert Marsden said. The role of pantomime in the 21st Century was also going to be examined, he said, “particularly post Me Too and Black Lives Matter”. Questions including “how do we address the gender issues, how do we tell the story of Aladdin in 2021, how do we get that balance of male/female roles?” will be asked, Prof Marsden added.

Eek! Sounds like Prof. Marsden wants to rob it of both its history and its comedic aspects – well, good luck with that! Of course that isn’t the only bizarre, obscure and frankly time and money-wasting degree course available. Staying with the performing arts there’s Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance at Bath Spa University. Sounds like fun but why on earth would a circus performer need a university degree?

Or how about a Surf Science and Technology degree at Cornwall College (part of the University of Plymouth). Where the one thing you don’t learn is….how to surf!

Then there is a  degree in Floral Design at University Centre Myerscough. No, I hadn’t heard of it either – turns out it’s a college of further education in Preston, a town that in my experience fits the old joke of ‘I went there once…..It was closed’ to a ‘T’!

Another handy (pun intended) art is that of Hand Embroidery BA (Hons), offered at the University for the Creative Arts. Or you could waste away sorry, while away, your time on a course in Animal Behaviour and Psychology. This degree at the University of Chester teaches you about the way animals think and feel. Cockroaches have personalities according to the subject specs– you couldn’t make it up.

Happily all these educational institutes may have to look to their laurels and try to justify their very existence in the near future. In plans announced this week, universities could face fines of up to £500,000 (P750m), be stripped of their right to take student loans or effectively shut down if they cannot get 60 per cent of students into a professional job under a crackdown on ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses. Further, at least 80 per cent of students should not drop out after the first year, and 75 per cent should graduate.

The rules, published by the Office for Students (OfS), aim to eliminate ‘low-quality’ courses by setting new standards & requiring courses to improve their rating in the TEF, the official universities ratings system. Universities not meeting the new standards will not be able to charge full annual fees of £9,250. Unconventional courses that could fall victim to the new rules could include the University of Sunderland’s BA in Fashion Journalism, where students learn essential’ skills such as catwalk reporting and the history of Chanel.  They have only a 40 per cent chance of entering highly skilled work 15 months after leaving.

At University College Birmingham, BSC Bakery and Patisserie Technology students – who learn how to ‘make artisan bread’ – have a 15 per cent chance of a professional job within 15 months. Universities minister Michelle Donelan welcomed the move, saying ‘When students go to university, they do so in the pursuit of a life-changing education, one which helps pave their path towards a highly skilled career. Any university that fails to match this ambition must be held to account.’

OfS found that at 25 universities, fewer than half of students find professional work within 15 months.  Business and management courses at the University of Bedfordshire (14.8 per cent) were among the least likely to lead to graduate-level jobs.  Asked to comment, the University of Sunderland said it always looked ‘to find ways to improve outcomes’; University College Birmingham said data on graduates and definition of ‘professional work’ was limited. I’ll bet it is! As the saying goes, ’what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over’. What a pantomime!

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Why regular health checks are important!

7th February 2022

With the world still reeling from the negative impact of the Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), and the latest Omicron variant (which is responsible for the ongoing global forth wave) on everyone’s lips, we should not forget and neglect other aspects of our health.

While anyone can get infected with corona virus and become seriously ill or die at any age, studies continue to show that people aged 60 years and above, and those with underlying medical conditions like hypertension, heart and lung problems, diabetes, obesity, cancers, or mental illness are at a higher risk of developing serious illness or dying from covid-19.

It is a good habit to visit a doctor regularly, even if you feel healthy. Regular health checks can help identify any early signs of health issues or assess your risk of future illness hence prompting one to take charge and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other non-communicable diseases (even communicable) can often be picked up in their early stages, when chances for effective treatment are high.

During a health check, your doctor will take a thorough history from you regarding your medical history, your family’s history of disease, your social life and habits, including your diet, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking and drug intake. S/he will examine you including measuring your weight, blood pressure, feeling your body organs and listening to your heart and lungs amongst the rest. Depending on the assessment, your doctor will notify you how often you need to have a health check. If you have a high risk of a particular health condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent health checks from an early age.

Diet – a healthy diet improves one’s general health and wellbeing. It is recommended that we have at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily. Physical activity – regular physical activity has significant health benefits on one’s body, mind & soul. It contributes to preventing and managing non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhances thinking, learning, and judgment skills and improves overall well-being. According to the world health organisation (WHO), people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour of moderate physical activity at least four days in a week. Examples of moderate physical activity include brisk walking, gentle swimming and social tennis.

Weight – maintaining a healthy weight range helps in preventing long-term complications like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. It is also vital for one’s mental wellbeing and keeping up with normal activities of daily living. Ask your doctor to check your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference annually. If you are at a higher risk, you should have your weight checked more frequently and a stern management plan in place.

Alcohol – as per WHO reports, alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Healthy drinking entails taking no more than two standard drinks per drinking day with at least two alcohol-free days in a week.

Smoking –Nicotine contained in tobacco is highly addictive and tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, many different types of cancer, and many other debilitating health conditions. Every year, at least a whopping 8 million people succumb from tobacco use worldwide. Tobacco can also be deadly for non-smokers through second-hand smoke exposure. It is not ‘fashionable’ if it is going to cost you and your loved ones lives! If you are currently smoking, talk to your doctor and get help in quitting as soon as possible to reduce the harm.

Blood pressure: Hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. It is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women – over a billion people – having the condition. Have your blood pressure checked annually if it is normal, you are aged under 40 and there is no family history of hypertension. You might need to have it checked more frequently if you are over 40, your blood pressure is on the high side, or you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack. Your doctor will be there to guide you.

Dental care – eating a low-sugar diet and cleaning and flossing the teeth regularly can reduce one’s risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Visit a dentist every six months for a dental examination and professional cleaning, or more frequently as per your dentist’s advice.
Blood tests – annual to five-yearly blood tests may be done to further assess or confirm risk of disease. These may include blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, kidney function, liver function, tumour markers, among other things. They may be done frequently if there is already an existing medical condition.

Cancer screening – various screening techniques can be done to detect different cancers in their early or pre-cancer stages. These include; skin inspections for any suspicious moles/spots, two-yearly mammograms for those at risk of developing breast cancer, Pap smear or the new Cervical Screening Test (CST) every five years, stool tests and colonoscopy (every five years) for those at most risk of bowel cancer, prostate cancer screening for those at risk (over 45 years of age, family history of cancers etc.). Discuss appropriate tests with your doctor.

Vaccinations – You should discuss with your doctor about the necessary routine immunisation, in particular; the Covid-19 vaccines, an annual flu shot, a five-yearly pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had one or you are immunocompromised and any other boosters that you might need.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email HYPERLINK “” or visit

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

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