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Any nation, world etc that ignores the potential of its youth is doomed, shem. And doomed we shall NOT be. Hence our agitation when we see that our (mis)leadership is setting us on a path towards doom where history, present and future are lies. We continue to use our powers to dismantle toxic POWER, neo-colonial or otherwise. We unapologetically and actively undermine the lie that we don’t matter equally.

Botswana, our collective need to decolonize our ways as a people will always express itself in new ways. Those expressions must never be prescribed; they must be given the space to change our nation for the better in their own refreshing ways.

We are the generation of Batswana who are fed up in VERY refreshing ways. We are ready to reclaim ALL that is ours: history, land, dignity.

We are ready to march into schools to reverse the violation of Black bodies in schools as I did in 2017 #UprightAfrican when I confronted Rainbow School of Gaborone’s “no afros allowed” policy. Freedom is not requested. It is grabbed. I dismiss the lie that the texture of hair, as it grows on the scalp of a Black Motswana child, is “inappropriate”. The truth must be reiterated that our hair as Black Africans does not grow “unprofessionally”. Enough is enough.

I completely identify with ATI’s sentiments about the need for us to perceive power differently as Botswana, to own our land and our very SELVES. ATI speaks out against corruption, injustice and toxic POWER. How refreshing! He always has my fullest support. The time is NOW to wonder why foreign businesses thrive in Botswana while local business gasps along, moribund. ATI dismisses the lie that Botswana is still an epitome of democracy and good governance and kum-bah-yah’s. Our misery, particularly living now under State of Emergency/Rule By Decree will be heard. The time for old ways of doing things is up.

I identify with Onica Lekuntwane’s radical call for sex education for Batswana children, dismantling the oppressive colonial norms of Victorian and colonial Christian morality of chastity and silence. Onica does this cognizant of the fact that Botswana’s ranks second worldwide in incidences of violence against women and girls. She is aware that as she stands in Botswana classrooms talking to school-children and sharing her story of surviving sexual abuse herself when she was a child, she is confronting head-on outdated cultures of secrecy that normalize defilement in Botswana to this day when active Members of Parliament have pending defilement cases in court and appear to enjoy immunity from the fullest extent of the law.

I identify with Letlhogonolo Godsave Moremi when he humbles the violence we shamelessly call “norms/culture”. Moremi co-curated Botswana’s first queer erotic art exhibition called SEREPUDI in 2020. Again, how refreshing! He does this in a country where despite the High Court having decriminalized same-sex relationships in 2020, the Botswana Government is appealing this decision by the High Court. How disappointing. How reminiscent of the same colonial forces that “criminalized” humanity thus in the first place.

Oppression is sophisticated enough to take different forms such as racism, colonialism, sexism, patriarchy etc. Why then would its antidotes NOT take diverse expressions? We are all working towards the same thing: DIGNITY.

Those in “power” as well as those outside power ought to perceive POWER differently. Colonial power, political power, racialist power. All of them are being re-imagined in Botswana in my lifetime and it is a pleasure to play my small part in that. Change is inevitable, Botswana. It is not a matter of opinion.

History is being made and colonial chains are being shattered with a specific vibration that happens when the wisdom of our ancestors meets the energy of our youth. Botswana, re-dream yourself. Your own new normal has just begun. Change is NOT easy. Where there is a fire there will always be a setimamolelo. This must happen!!!

Pic: Dumisani Stanley Ncube of Art and Culture diaries.


What do you think?

Written by Donald Molosi

Donald Molosi is President of the Upright African Movement.

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