Saturday, March 25, 2023

New Year: Let’s do away with mediocrity, docility and stupidity

Dear reader, compliments of the new year. Amazing how time flies. Can’t believe we’re in 2016 already. It feels like just yesterday when we broke off for festive season. I must admit, I’m still on holiday mood and not so ready to engage in serious issues. Actually I’m still on holiday. I’m writing this from the comfort of my holiday home in Windhoek, Namibia, far away from the depressing circumstances back home. Before coming to Namibia, I was in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Let us start there. I couldn’t help but watch in awe at how liberated Zimbabwe is when it comes to entertainment. Mugabe might have eroded all the rights of his people but the one thing he didn’t touch is their liberty to entertainment. When I was preparing for my trip to Zimbabwe, I was told of how groovy it gets in Zimbabwe. I was also warned of Zimbabwean police’s insatiable appetite for bribery. I witnessed both. I partied wildly, all night, without any harassment or disruption from law enforcement officers. No officers came at midnight to close down parties and night clubs. We retired to our hotel rooms in the morning, out of our own accord and not because some law in the country forced us to go and sleep, as is the case in Botswana where the government dictates when we should be out having fun and socializing and when we should be home. The police in Vic Falls patrolled the streets to keep an eye on criminals and not to harass night club patrons. Liquor stores in Zimbabwe open as early as breakfast restaurants. The choice is yours as to when you want to have a beer. In fact, their bottle stores (they also have the famous Liquorama) are open on Sundays. They respect the fact that not everyone goes to church on Sundays. As such, churches, liquor stores and night clubs are open every day so everyone can enjoy the freedom to their choice of hangout. The people of Zimbabwe might be disgruntled with Mugabe but when it comes to entertainment, I bet they wish him many more years on the throne. I attended the annual Vic Falls carnival and couldn’t help but think of how stupid we are to not have a similar concept in our country. The Vic Falls carnival is a three-day fun-filled festival of music shows and parties. It has become an international festival that attracts scores of foreigners from across the globe. We all know how Mugabe is not so fond of white people but during the carnival, a majority of revelers are tourists from Europe and America. During this time, Mugabe becomes a good boy and allows white people to flock his country and bring in the much needed money. I was with my partner and we spent over P15 000 while in Zimbabwe lodging, eating, partying and visiting tourist attractions such as the Vic Falls. We also paid ridiculous charges such as the road levy and the carbon tax. I met well over 500 Batswana while in Vic Falls and they too surely spent lots of money during their stay there. I saw thousands of Europeans and they too emptied their pockets into Zimbabwean coffers. Swaziland too has an annual festival that attracts thousands of international tourists who bring in revenue to the country. The Swaziland MTN annual Bush Fire festival is very popular among people from across the world. As for South Africa the least said the better. The country has become anonymous with festivals of international standards. What about my country Botswana? We do not have a single festival or activity that sees our borders flooded with people from all over the world. This is so because our country is no different from a prison where inmates are told when to sleep. We cannot attract international revelers. For as long as law enforcement officers raid entertainment joints as early as midnight, during holidays, forcing people to disperse to their homes, we will continue to envy poorer countries such as Zimbabwe and Swaziland as they become ideal destinations for international leisure tourists. Our country is such a shame when it comes to entertainment I was not shocked to hear a Cabinet Minister got carried away while hosting a gig in Tonota and lied to revelers that his government had relaxed entertainment hours. It goes to show that even those in the executive realize the stupidity behind our tightly regulated hours of entertainment. I have always maintained that we are in all this mess because of just one man who wants to lead the nation like we are a bunch of irresponsible children who need to be leashed. I’m in Namibia and being told thousands of Batswana came here for their festive vacation. They proceeded as far as Swakopmund and Walvis Bay where they partied up a storm without any harassment from law enforcement officers. They came here and spent lots of money, boosting the Namibian economy. Back in my home town of Maun where locals used to go for Christmas holidays I hear the police made the holidays a nightmare for revelers. Night clubs were closed. Liquor stores were closed. Police officers mounted road blocks right outside places of entertainment where they administered the breathalyzer on motorists who were driving out of bars and night clubs. I took a walk this morning and couldn’t stop admiring the cleanliness of the streets in Windhoek. Namibia has filthy people who throw papers and cans all over just as is the case in Botswana. However, the government here has ensured that there will be people who clean after all that mess. In Botswana, we have Ipelegeng workers who are supposed to clean the streets but because their leaders couldn’t be bothered with keeping the city clean, they just sleep under trees all day. It’s a new year; let’s do away with mediocrity and stupidity.


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