Ashley and Percy Thaba fling wide open their closet, trading their skeletons for the peace and stability of Batswana marriages. It is not a secret that many Batswana marriages are on the rocks resulting in divorce and brokenness, leaving in its trail, trauma and havoc.
Trampling underfoot the conventional methods and typical Dr Phil and Oprah Winfrey styles alike, the Thabas, as popularly known, took to TV, putting their necks on the block of criticism and scrutiny, in order that their bleeding, like that of the crucified Christ, might bring healing and salvation to the torn marriages of many Batswana as they address the bedroom conflict that often places a wreath of flowers on many marriages.
For many married couples, the idea of happiness is nothing but a pursuit across an unforgiving terrain that normally leads to a dead end sooner than when it began, shortly, indeed, after the exchange of vows at the altar. Or as Eminem puts it, divorcely married. Result? Calling off the marriage because the idea of happily ever after is but a fancy that lives and thrives within the confines of fairy tales.
But the Thabas after battling issues that lies at the centre of marital failures such as insecurities, gender based violence(GBV) , identity crisis and the likes, decided that they’ll not sit on the sidelines and watch many Batswana marriages starve to death. They threw, as it were, a lifeline through a TV show called Walking with the Thabas. The show airs on Botswana Television (BTV) every Sunday night from 7:30pm.
According to Ashley, 5 out of the 13 episodes have aired so far and the feedback has been amazing from everyone . “Everyone keeps saying how much impact this is having on bringing back faith in the idea of a happy marriage and also playing a significant role in improving relationships and strengthening families”, said Ashley with a grin.
Last Sunday, March 22, they aired an episode on GBV. “we dealt with issues of identity, security, and loving yourself which are important lessons for everyone”, she explained.
“Next week, March 29th we will totally switch gears from the somber topic of GBV and have our kids for the live audience to ask them any question which will have you laughing from start to finish! The kids are just hilarious because they say without filtering how things really work around our home. The goal of that episode is to help parents get some practical tips on how to keep the love alive when kids are exhausting you both”, she added.
The couple promises to deliver more as the episodes unfolds. “Come April 5, we will address conflict resolution and give practical tips we have learned and even share about actual fights we have had and how we resolved them”, said Ashley
But the Thabas are treading on a sinking sand as funds to air the favorite televised show are hard to come by. They’re currently relying on donations from their American friends to solve Batswana’s marital problems, at times scrapping the bottom of an empty barrel so that they may rub two pennies to pay a whooping bill for the TV show.
“Although we sought a sponsor locally and everyone agreed that this was a crucial issue as strong families are really at the heart of a strong nation, no government ministry or corporate was willing to put forth any money towards the production costs. So we went to America raised the funds to produce the show because we so strongly believed in the vision that if we can help strengthen families, that is, fixing the root of many social ills we all suffer from, such as high divorce rates, GBV, fatherless children, substance abuse, and so on and so forth”, she added.
“Moreover we had been trying to explain to people for so long that instead of spending so much money on awareness, we should put some funds into solutions to fix these social ills and focus some energy into strengthening the family unit. But, when no one came forward, led by our passion, we didn’t give up on the dream of a better Botswana and just looked elsewhere. However, now that Batswana across the country are commenting about the national impact, we are sincerely hoping we can get a sponsor for season 2”, explained Ashley.
The family unit is deteriorating. “There are so many contributing factors that may cause spouses to say their marriages are unfulfilling such as gender based violence, communication, finances among other things. Talking with the Thabas strives to address problems facing couples from a practical point of view, someone who can say that I’ve walked in those shoes before, they fit me, I’ve blisters to show for it. We want to offer encouragement to couples so they may enjoy their marriages and make them fun”, she concluded.