The festive season is upon us again ÔÇô the time of year when people down their tools, take time off from their jobs, enjoy the fruits of their work, and even reflect on their lives in general.
In Botswana, during these long holidays, there is a mass exodus of people from the cities and towns to their home villages to spend time with their parents, relatives, children and even friends as they celebrate the sacred Christmas day and the New Year holiday.
Cities like Gaborone, Francistown and other urban areas in the country are already bustling with life as people are currently busy with shopping sprees and preparing to leave for their home villages. Some are already boarding buses to the villages for the holidays.
Although the festive season is a period that a lot of people have been eagerly waiting for, there is a strong belief by some members of the public that the festive season is slowly losing its objective and meaning.
Mabaka John, a 45-year-old street vendor in Francistown, feels that the festive season has slowly lost its flavour as it brings along problems, such as car accidents and over spending due to impulsive buying.
“During the past years when I grew up in my home village in Matshelagabedi, Christmas and New Year holidays were beautiful as we would simply slaughter a goat or a sheep, brew traditional beer, share with our neighbours and sing. You would never hear of bad things during the holidays. Nowadays these holidays are not very appealing as they bring a lot of adversities such as alcohol abuse, overspending, car accidents and crime.”
John adds that the problem is worsened by the fact that most of the youth no longer respect their parents and do not have values. They do not understand the meaning of the Christmas holidays as they do not view the day as sacred.
“A lot of the younger generation does not understand the purpose of Christmas holidays as they view the day to be a chance for misdemeanour,” he adds. “The festive season has also turned into a bad time of the year as criminals prey on unsuspecting victims and steal their valuables and money.”
Mbaki Thuso, from Tutume village, feels that the festive season should be treated as sacred as it seeks to bring together people and promote peace among them.
“As a Christian I believe that these holidays are only there to unite people and for them to reflect on their life’s journey and further embrace the almighty God, especially the Christmas Holiday,” he says.
He adds that nowadays the festive season has turned into a period that brings more harm than good to the community due to alcohol abuse, accidents and crime. Thuso also advices people embrace Christianity for them to understand the meaning of Christmas Day.
However Mbatshi Meshack, a 20-year-old student in Francistown, thinks the festive season is a good time of the year as he gets to meet friends and relatives. He also says that the season gives him a time to reflect on his life.
“The festive season is good; the only problem is that during these holidays there are a lot criminal activities and accidents. The other problem is that people overspend during these holidays and end up in debts. I think the situation is getting worse each year, but all in all I love the festive season,” says Meshack.