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Death or Divorce – a tough choice for many

Rebecca* is a woman in her late thirties. She holds her head high and walks with a sway in her steps. There is an air of confidence when she speaks. So when she tells me how her husband has been abusing her throughout their 17 years of marriage, I am taken aback.

“Everyday is a new experience for me. I don’t know what version of husband I’ll meet; the one who will scold me for forgetting to lay out his clothes or the one who will hit me for putting too much salt in the soup,” she says while wiping tears. 17 years is almost two decades. I ask her why she has had to endure all that pain for a long time but she only shakes her head and does not answer.

Like Rebecca, hundreds of women experiencing domestic violence find it difficult to leave. For some, it is for reasons best known to them, for others, they simply do not know why or have the words. People who have not experienced abuse find it unfathomable that survivors stay in their relationships and not leave. It seems almost like they enjoy it. But until an experience has been felt, it is easy to give directives on how to act.

For Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai, it took 6 years to escape the suffocating grip of her abuser. “It was a traumatic experience,” she tells me. “I can tell you this for free; the same intensity used to abuse you is the same intensity used to beg. When he does this, pity begins to set in and you become confused on what to do.”

Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai

I ask Ms. Demilade Lawal, a psychologist from the University of Chester, in an interview, if there is a psychological reason behind this and she affirms.

“For a lot of women, it’s a glimmer of hope that things are going to get better. And that glimmer of hope can be understood when we are aware of the social cycle of abuse. There is a tension phase, an abuse phase and a honeymoon phase. In the honeymoon phase the abuser temporarily changes his ways and alters the victim’s decision to leave. Then the tension starts and then abuse follows.”

Another reason women remain entangled with their abusers is the fear of the unknown, the unclear reality of what would be after leaving.

“The truth is, as much as this person abuses them, there is an emotional connection. They love this person, there is a traumatic attachment whether they are aware of it or not. It is not the best love environment but it doesn’t change the fact that this is how they feel about the person that abuses them. So the thought of starting afresh without this person whom they have grown to love despite the abuse is just as frightening,” Ms Lawal says.

Although this may sound like an unjustifiable reason to some who have not walked this path, Ms. Rahmatulai agrees.

“In my case, I loved him very much. I could not imagine going to tell my family members or friends that the man I loved started hitting me as early as a month into our marriage. I was embarrassed. So I stayed back, hoping it would get better,” she says.

Research shows that one of the many reasons why women remain in abusive marriages is a lack of income which results in total financial dependency on the abuser. Could this be a strategy to trap the victim in an abusive cycle?

“While I was married, my husband would give me very little housekeeping money. He knew I did not have a job and the money would be insufficient but I could not say a word. I had to feed my children. If I complained I would get beaten. He provided for everything in the house, what authority did I have to question him,” Ms Rahmatulai says to me.

I ask Rebecca if she has a job and she says no. She mentions she’s an interior decorator but she barely gets offers. When she does, her husband collects everything.

A major factor for avoiding abusive marriages is to identify red flags. However, these flags are sometimes mistaken for natural behavioural traits. In Ms Rahmatulai’s case, she tells me she noticed her husband was quick tempered and ill mannered before marriage however she waved them aside as he had never hit her during courtship.

How then can abuse survivors find the courage to leave?

“The decision to leave is a process, it takes a shift in perspective – realising that you deserve better and that your kids deserve to grow in a healthy home where they don’t learn to be abusers or think it’s okay to be abused,” Ms Lawal says.

“When I pack my bags to leave, my husband would hit me. When I unpack, he would hit me. I started going to school to get a degree and then later I started trading. When I had what seemed like enough then (N80,000/ $192), I left my husband regardless of the worst that could happen. I realised if I stayed long enough, I would be dead,” Ms Rahmatulai says.

“It’s been 20 years since I left. I’m 51 and a lawyer now. I have dedicated my life to helping women in abusive marriages leave. So many men have called me a home breaker but I say it’s better to break a home and save a life.”

*Rebecca has asked to stay anonymous by using a pseudonym.

Claire Mom is a Nigerian journalist and an advocate for human rights.
Email: clairemom26@gmail.com
Twitter: speakclairely

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WeekendLife

TV Show explores Tswana culture

6th February 2024

Logaga Lwa Ditiragalo, a cultural exchange TV show, is set to ignite a genuine appreciation of diversity in Botswana and revitalize the country’s great tourism sector. In recent years, culture in Botswana has taken a backseat, leading to tribalism and narcissism that has caused division and resentment among different ethnic groups. However, a small group of individuals is determined to bring back the golden days of culture and restore unity among the people.

The TV show, Logaga Lwa Ditiragalo, aims to shine a spotlight on the diverse ethnic groups in Botswana, such as Balete, Bangwaketse, Baherero, Bakalaka, Bangwato, Bayei, Basarwa, Bakwena, Batswapong, and Bakgatla. By showcasing the distinctive characteristics, age-old traditions, and deeply rooted values of these cultural groups, the program seeks to foster a broader understanding and appreciation for Botswana’s rich cultural tapestry.

Recognizing the pivotal role of culture in shaping human identity, Logaga Lwa Ditiragalo aims to serve as a bridge across the cultural landscape. In an era of increasing global connectivity, the show believes that exposing individuals to different ethnic cultures can cultivate understanding, nurture respect, and ignite a genuine appreciation for diversity.

Beyond its entertainment value, the TV show holds substantial benefits for Botswana. It has the capacity to preserve the country’s unique heritage, traditions, and customs, contributing significantly to the nation’s sense of identity and pride. Moreover, the program’s portrayal of Botswana’s cultural richness is expected to attract tourists, invigorating the tourism sector and creating employment opportunities, thus bolstering the country’s economic landscape.

Logaga Lwa Ditiragalo also aims to be a catalyst for social cohesion, fostering unity among people from diverse backgrounds and promoting a deeper understanding of cultural diversity. By showcasing the beauty and richness of Botswana’s cultural heritage, the program seeks to bring people together and bridge the gaps that have been created by tribalism and narcissism.

The TV show is meticulously designed to captivate audiences interested in delving into the intricacies of ethnic cultures. With a commitment to both entertainment and education, Logaga Lwa Ditiragalo will unfold over forty days, starting in October 2024, captivating viewers on TV networks and various social media platforms.

At the heart of the TV show are twenty individuals chosen to represent the cultural diversity in Botswana. The inclusion of two individuals with disabilities underscores the program’s commitment to inclusivity and aligns seamlessly with the country’s vision of promoting equal opportunities for all.

The selection process for participants involves public participation, with interested individuals casting their votes through service providers. This transparent and inclusive cultural affair ensures that the TV show truly represents the diverse cultural landscape of Botswana.

Logaga Lwa Ditiragalo sets out to revive culture in Botswana, ignite a genuine appreciation of diversity, and revitalize the tourism sector. By showcasing the unique heritage, traditions, and customs of different ethnic groups, the TV show aims to foster unity, understanding, and respect among the people of Botswana. With its potential to attract tourists and create employment opportunities, Logaga Lwa Ditiragalo holds great promise for the country’s cultural and economic landscape.

 

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WeekendLife

Be with Thabo on the 14th February

6th February 2024

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and love is in the air. It’s the perfect time to celebrate with heartwarming music, and “Ha Kena Le Thabo” by the Dalom Kids is the ultimate anthem for this special day. This catchy tune not only captures the essence of the season but also carries a powerful message that resonates with listeners.

The Dalom Kids have taken the spotlight with their latest remix hit song, and it’s no surprise why. Their music has stood the test of time, and their songs are loved today as much as they were loved two decades ago. They have found a way to revamp their music, aligning it with the current times, and their collaboration with Nkosazana daughter By Master KG SA Music last year is a testament to their dedication to empowering individuals during difficult times.

“Ha Kena Le Thabo” is a song that encourages listeners to express their heartfelt appreciation towards their loved ones. It serves as a reminder to acknowledge and celebrate the love and support we receive from those who are dear to us. In a world that often moves too quickly, it’s easy to forget the significance of love and companionship. However, the Dalom Kids’ music reminds us of the indispensability of gratitude and how it strengthens the bonds we share with our loved ones.

The Dalom Kids have made a name for themselves in the South African music scene, captivating audiences for several decades. Their unique blend of contemporary sounds and traditional influences has left an indelible mark on the industry. Their songs have always carried important messages, addressing topics such as love, unity, and resilience.

Formed in 1987 by the late Daniel Tshanda, the group consists of Jacqueline Rotwana, Petronella Rampou, and Magdeline Zungu. Together, they have created music that resonates with people from all walks of life. Their songs are not only catchy but also carry a deeper meaning, touching the hearts of listeners.

“Ha Kena Le Thabo” effortlessly fits into the pattern of the Dalom Kids’ music, reinforcing the importance of acknowledging and celebrating the love we have in our lives. It serves as a reminder to slow down and appreciate the love and support we receive from our loved ones. In a world that can often be chaotic and overwhelming, this song brings a sense of calm and gratitude.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, let the music of the Dalom Kids inspire you to express your love and appreciation for those who bring joy to your life. Let “Ha Kena Le Thabo” be the soundtrack to your celebrations, as you embrace the spirit of gratitude and affection that this season represents. Take a moment to reflect on the love you have in your life and let this song be a reminder of the importance of expressing that love to those who matter most.

In conclusion, “Ha Kena Le Thabo” by the Dalom Kids is the perfect anthem for Valentine’s Day. Its catchy tune and powerful message make it an ideal song to celebrate love and gratitude. Let this song inspire you to express your love and appreciation for those who bring joy to your life. As you celebrate this special day, let the music of the Dalom Kids be the soundtrack to your celebrations, reminding you of the importance of love and companionship.

 

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WeekendLife

Miss Botswana in full swing

18th January 2024

The Miss Botswana pageant is in full swing, with the top 10 finalists working tirelessly to impress the judges and secure the coveted title. This week, the finalists have been busy with their Beauty-With-A-Purpose projects, a crucial component of the Miss World pageant. The spotlight is on these young women as they showcase their commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

The Beauty-With-A-Purpose documentation week is a crucial moment for the finalists. They will be filmed as they present their projects to the judges and the audience, highlighting the impact they have had on their communities. This aspect of the competition is particularly important, as Miss World advocates for the wellbeing of children. Therefore, the projects should be aligned with this mission and demonstrate a genuine commitment to improving the lives of children.

Unfortunately, Botswana has never won the Beauty-With-A-Purpose competition at Miss World. This suggests that previous projects from Miss Botswana queens may not have been convincing enough or may not have met the criteria set by Miss World. It is crucial for the finalists to ensure that their projects are compelling and directly address the needs of children in their communities.

The top 10 finalists for Miss Botswana are Relebanye Bakane, Anicia Gaothusi, Halle Hirschfeld, Lorato Kgangyapelo, Sebaga Manyepetsa, Otshepo Nthonyana, Charmaine Reasentse, Lefika Tladi, Emma Tshisimogo, and Christina Vanstaden. These young women have shown great dedication and passion throughout the competition, and it is clear that they are determined to make a difference.

The Miss Botswana Organization has been proactive in ensuring that the pageant is inclusive and representative of the entire country. Auditions were held across the country, allowing Batswana from all regions to participate in the journey. Additionally, a mini fashion show and beauty showcase were organized to highlight the talents and beauty of the contestants.

The Miss Botswana pageant has been a major event in the country, with 34 episodes documenting the journey to finding the next queen. The Top 30 finalists were celebrated with a grand launch, and the plans for their journey were unveiled. The organization has spared no effort in ensuring that the pageant is a memorable and impactful experience for all involved.

The highly anticipated Miss Botswana Top 10 launch will take place next week. The reigning Miss Botswana, Lesego Chombo, will represent the country at the 71st edition of Miss World, which will be held in New Delhi, India on March 2, 2024. Chombo was crowned by Polish model and Miss World 2021, Karolina Bielawska, who made a special appearance at the finale in October 2022. Chombo will now have the honor of crowning her successor at the upcoming pageant.

As the finale approaches, the heat is on in Miss Botswana’s kitchen. The top 10 finalists are working tirelessly to showcase their Beauty-With-A-Purpose projects and make a lasting impact. It is an exciting time for these young women, and the entire country is eagerly awaiting the crowning of the next Miss Botswana.

 

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