BY RUTH KEDIKILWE
When a holiday falls on to your lap smack in the middle of the week and it is only for a day, travelling is near impossible so for those who imbibe do not need much convincing to grab a bottle or two before retiring to bed despite the fact that it is a Tuesday. It is at these joints that men and women alike get swindled of their hard earned cash and ultimately end up in debt or in trouble with their partners for their i unplanned splurging .
Catching up with a few of the revelers at a popular up-market pub and restaurant located in the Central Business District (CBD) over the May Day holiday, it is quite evident that the urbanites have come out to play. The deep house music playing has them swiftly and rhythmically gyrating against each other and the drinks are flowing, the question is at whose expense?
One lady standing a few paces from the dance floor is frantically typing on her mobile phone whilst deeply dragging on her cigarette and appears to be pretty agitated. She is draped in a little black dress with her hair and makeup on fleek and looks like she is out for a great time however the financier of this good time seems to be missing in action. She almost bursts into tears when she explains that she has been here for almost an hour and a half drinking one cocktail after another knowing good and well that she will be well taken care of. She however has a backup plan up her sleeve to find another man to foot her bill before the end of the night should the first choice be a no show. What the girls has to give up for these bills to be settled remains a mystery and probably a story for another day.
On a tangent it would be interesting to find out how is it possible for one person to have so many potential donors towards her drinking fund which according to this young lady there are many. The tact apparently includes studying a potential donor and acting according to what one may perceive they would like, a tomboy, an innocent damsel in distress awaiting him to play hero, whilst some are said to be honest upfront approach, the list is endless.
On the far end of the restaurant is a table comprised of a group of men and women surrounded by buckets of various types of beverages. The waitress serving them looks like she is about to drop dead on the spot from being sent to the counter over and over again and dealing with the nasty remarks from the women and the sexist ones from the men. Whilst catching a bathroom break the young lady vents out that half the people at that table do not have a cent to their names, “They are just here to spend *Thebe’s money because he recently got a huge pay out once the money is finished they disappear and Thebe comes back here not even affording a bottle of water,” she says.
There is a vast array of reasons why people spend countless amounts of money not only themselves but rather on the people around them. It could be to make and keep friends or it could be transactional agreements where a person is treated to a night out and in return they have to engage in amorous activities.
Gaborone based social worker Keletso Kgoboki says reckless spending of the family’s disposable income is a huge contributor to many domestic squabbles. According to her either a man or woman’s night out on the town can result in a shortage of food, rent or other necessities required to keep the family afloat. “These squabbles can be so bad that they become physical and worst case scenario deadly,” she says.
he Resident Counselor at Men and Boys for Gender Equality (M&BGE) Orelebile Keoefhile deals a lot with couples undergoing financial disputes and has to figure out ways of settling them in a way that is mutually beneficial for both parties. According to him it is usually the men who go out and spend recklessly mostly because they don’t want to feel like they are being controlled on how to spend their hard earned cash. Their partners will in turn demand accountability for every last thebe expecting to be told how and when it was spent. Keoefhile points out the mobile phones are usually at the centre of these controversies which women try to use to follow the trail of how the money was spent via bank notification and communication with peers, this route however never ends well.
The model Keofhile has chosen to address such issues is to encourage the couples to talk about their goals and targets, “I get them to interrogate their lifestyle choices and what their dreams and ambitions are and what they are doing to attain them,” he said. Keofhile blames the amount of reckless spending financial illiteracy because once they established their goals and work toward them they gain financial discipline and ultimately financial freedom.
They key is to focus on behavior modification and see that living vicariously through whichever means is not entirely sustainable. It is not cool nor is it safe or healthy to have multiple partners just for a few pretty dresses and colorful drinks.