Today, Wednesday September 30th, Botswana turned 49. As our flag flies high, our love, differences and commonality that bring us together as Batswana, will be amplified as we celebrate 49 years of independence as one people.
The flag of Botswana is a flag consisting of a light blue field cut horizontally in the centre by a black stripe with a thin white frame. The colour blue symbolises water and the life it sustains while the black band with the white frame stands for the harmony and cooperation between the people of different races who live in Botswana.
It is also important to note that Botswana will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016 and that will also be the time to reflect if we are still on track to attaining the lofty goals as spelt out in the Vision 2016 blueprint.
“I am grateful for the free education I got as a Motswana all the way to University. I owe my academic success to our government and often wonder coming from an underprivileged background if I would have ever made it to medical school. As we speak, I give financial support to many of my family members back home and that has restored a lot of our dignity as a people,” said Lesego Molelekwa. Currently employed as a Medical Doctor in Sydney, Molelekwa says her favourite time of the year is Botswana Independence Day because along with many other Batswana living in Australia, they get to show off the wealth of Botswana as well as its deep rooted democracy. “We also get to share our recipes and offer other people of the world a taste of Botswana which I must say is a hit year after year,” she said.
Motshidisi Moilwa says she is very well travelled both nationally and internationally and if there is something she finds worth celebrating annually, it is the fact that the poor in Botswana are not as hard hit as in some other countries of the world. “Over the years the number of people living on the streets has really gone down which reflects that not too many Batswana are living in adverse poverty compared to other countries,” she said. Moliwa says she attributes this to Batswana’s spirit of giving and their generally strong family ties. “In more developed countries the concept of extended family is slowly becoming extinct, most families don’t look beyond their nuclear family which means somebody can easily walk past their starving uncle or cousin without even realising it,” she said. Every year Moilwa says she takes time to look around her and appreciate the little things she gets to enjoy just by virtue of being a citizen of Botswana. “I know crime is real everywhere, but let’s face it, we are not yet at a point where you can easily get shot or stabbed walking down the street,” she acknowledged.
“I cannot help but mention youth grants – it is not in many countries where youth are supported financially to realise their dreams,” said Director at Ditso Leather Works Mothusi Lesetedi. He said he didn’t believe that grants from Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture were real until he sat to write a proposal ‘for whatever it was worth’.
“I was called for an interview and my life was never the same again. Today, i have a job that i wake up to everyday; I have employed 5 other people. Because of the hard work we put in overseas markets, opportunities are beginning to open up for us,” says Lesetedi. He says his wish is for more youth to rise up and take advantage of youth grants without being sceptical. “That’s my reason for being a proud Motswana this independence!” he exclaimed.
The reasons for flying our flag up high seem to increase with each year that passes. As we raise our glasses to toast another year, let’s be mindful of the fact that we should observe all traffic regulations, drink responsibly and take care of ourselves and each other. Happy Independence!