Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Judge Mothobi’s public speech rejection- arrogant or audacious?

Discovering for the first time that leaders do not write their own public speeches is like finding out WWE fights are in fact privately scripted and choreographed. Totally disappointing.

It occurs naturally to assume that people who run for public office and other positions of leadership are supposed to be an intelligent lot with great oratory skills to inspire their followers.

Whatever happened to writing one’s own speech and delivering it like you mean every word?

If High Court Judge and BTC Foundation Chairman Kgosi Michael Mothobi Letsogile Mothobi could have his way, leaders would be writing their own speeches.

Mothobi expressed reservations at honoring the speech prepared for him by BTC staff during the Thapong Artist of the Year Awards at Thapong Visual Arts Centre this Thursday. Mothobi, who practically gave his own unscripted speech before turning to the piece of paper before him, used every opportunity to remind the audience he would rather have written his own speech. He literally distanced himself from the contents of the prepared remarks. 

The Judge even went as far as ridiculing the author of his prepared speech

, expressing disapproval at the use of the word ‘citizenry’. “It is a very ancient word,” he mused. “It is not used in modern times. I am surprised somebody comes up with this word. No wonder it’s a tongue twister.” Mothobi went on to correct the speech writer saying the right word is ‘citizens’. “Without meaning any disrespect to the writer of my speech,” he said.

“This is my third time here with the BTC Foundation,” he said, “The only difference is that this year I have a speech written for me.” Mothobi expressed how, ‘being an artist myself’, he would usually like to speak to the artists ‘directly’. “I like to believe I am one of them. I used to be a painter back at school before moving into poetry and then books.” And to put his sentiment about speech writing into perspective the judge used the opportunity to enlighten the audience about his place as one Botswana’s intellectuals. “I do not mean to blow my own trumpet. It is not a culturally accepted norm. But since we are almost always only granted that privilege posthumously, will preemptively say, one day they will say ‘that man was one of Botswana’s intellectuals’.” He said his intellectual abilities have been acknowledged by those beyond our borders. However one feels about Kgosi Mothobi’s attitude towards hired speechwriters, it somehow feels wrong and fraudulent for a leader not to write their own speeches.


Read this week's paper