“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living,” so goes the saying. This past Friday I had the privilege to be amongst those who attended the funeral of the late University of Botswana lecturer, Logong Raditlhokwa, popularly known as “Log”. As of last week Monday, the life of Log has been placed in the memories we have about the things he said and did while he was alive.
I personally first met Log while I was a student at the University of Botswana some few years back. As part of the requirements of my study program, Bachelor of Finance, I was to choose an optional course from a faculty that I was not studying. As such, through a friend of a friend, Poloko Masedi, I heard about a course offered at the Social Sciences faculty and administered by none other than Log. The General Education Course was known as “Personal Development and Growth”, or shortly GEC 377.
I need to state that given my previous interaction with the writings of Log in various newspapers, and having heard that GEC 377 was taught by him, I did not think twice to enrol for GEC 377. I had wanted to finally meet this prolific writer whose writings saved marriages, guided and provoked some politicians and most importantly, whose writings were clearly meant for a nation building ÔÇô A better nation he yearned for.
GEC 377 was centred on personal development and growth. Through GEC 377, Log intended to help students to be persistent in resolving their personal lives, and by extension the lives of those in the community they lived in.
Log added an element of spirituality to GEC 377. I should also admit that to date his style of administering that course remains one of a kind. Even the way he ended up giving us grades at the end of the semester was unique. In actual fact, on our first lecture Log told us through his “Caribbean” English accent that the only way we could pass his course was through any kind of ‘participation’. He expected us to share our personal life experiences, and give testimonies if there need be. Log did all this because he wanted to push a transformation agenda which would ultimately have a positive impact in the society.
Apart from his job as a lecturer, Log was a resource to many nongovernmental organisations, private sector entities, churches and political parties. Through his pen, Log relayed his messages to political leaders of both of the ruling party and opposition through “open letters”. My favourate all time quote from Log’s writings remains, “Another problem is that Moupo has very little understanding of the psychology of good looks. He needs to be fixed so that he can project a presidential image.” Log was quoted in the newspapers saying that about former BNF leader Otsweletse Moupo in 2005. He also advised Moupo to be careful with his laughter as he said could ‘scare’ potential investors.
“Most professional negotiators and investors cannot take him seriously in his looks. A modern politician must not look like a ragamuffin. He should exude assertiveness, seriousness, and a sense of power, poise and polish. Again, he must minimise the inappropriate laughter that undermines his professionalism,” Log would say.
Perhaps a good summary of Log’s life was made through heartfelt eulogies made on Friday, by various speakers at his funeral including his daughter Tshego and son Hope. The kind words spoken indeed attest to the fact that Log was a father to many, a philanthropist, a marriage counsellor of repute but most importantly a public intellectual who was God fearing. His former colleagues refer to him as the “rock of jasper”. Some say he was a male-feminist because he was known to defend women when he felt they were being oppressed. University of Botswana Gender movement representatives reminisce that at some point after a heated debate at some workshop in which some of the participants accused women of “going alone” during the night, Log rose his hand and asked, “But who said men own the night?”. Log’s question then made the participants to change their way of thinking. But just like I have come to appreciate, many of Log’s colleagues, former students, family members and friends who spoke at the funeral on Friday described Log as perceptive, reflective and persuasive and yet a very kind and polite academic.
In short, after close to 30 years of national service, mainly at the University of Botswana, on that particular Monday, at Bokamoso Hospital God’s finger touched my former lecturer, and he is now sleeping and waiting for the second coming of our Lord Jesus. May Log’s soul rest in eternal Peace.
1964: Born in Mmakgodi village
1980: 1984: Attended Senior Secondary school in Selebi Phikwe
1985: Did national service (Tirelo Sechaba)
1986: 1990: Enrolled for Bachelor of Social Work at UB
1990: Started working as Staff development Fellow at UB
1991: Enrolled for at Carleton University, Canada
199_: Return to UB to serve as lecturer in the Department of Social work
2006: Married his wife Seanokeng Raditlhokwa
2013: Ordained as Administrator teacher at his local church
2015: Passed away at Bokamoso Hospital