Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Sameosi Mokgethiwa: Let’s have fun buddy

And here I was, on deadline, still pondering on what to write about for this week’s installment of my column, when a friend alerted me of an article penned by a fellow columnist in one of the weekend newspapers. On perusing the newspaper, I came across an article written by one Sameosi Mokgethiwa in his weekly column, aptly named ‘opposite poles’. In his column, Mokgethiwa complains about my column. He has a problem with how I express my opinions. He is of the view I have no respect for the leadership and the elderly, in particular, President Khama. He feels I lack in botho. By the way, Mokgethiwa is a self confessed Khama praise writer (please note I have no problem with that). He has confessed before, that his column is aimed at defending President Khama from criticism. If I remember well, he once wrote that he is Khama’s bootlicker and that he takes pride in that.

So really, I wasn’t shocked when I learnt he cringes at my criticism of Khama. You see, I like Mokgethiwa for one thing and I would like to thank him for that: despite his disdain for my column, he remains one of my loyal readers. It’s not the first time he writes about my column and that can only mean one thing: he is an avid reader of my column and for that, I remain grateful. And I respond to his column here not because I have a problem that he has a problem with my column. I have been writing this column for years now and have received fair amount of both criticism and support. I have developed thick skin towards attacks and I embrace them with humility. I no longer frown at attacks. I just read and smile. Look, I write to arouse debate and I get worried when people don’t respond to what I write and this is why I rejoice when people like Mokgethiwa honor me with feedback. Unlike Mokgethiwa and his idol, Khama, I don’t believe a person should always receive praise and ululations without any dissenting voices. So to my fellow columnist, this shouldn’t be viewed as a rebuttal to his feedback.

I just read his complaints and thought I should just address some of his concerns and have some fun while we’re at it. I’m just responding to Mokgethiwa not because what he wrote about me is important or calls for my concern but simply, and honestly, because I wasn’t prepared to write about anything important this week. I don’t know how I missed his column over the weekend, only to read it on my deadline because, unlike some people he loves and who have confessed that they have a phobia for reading, I read all local newspapers and I read everything that gets published, including all the gibberish stuff in our local newspapers. I’m so addicted to reading I often find myself reading sports news even though I’m not a sports fanatic. I’m so addicted to reading I go as far as reading adverts even though I’m not searching for a job. I don’t like bootlickers but I, nonetheless, read what bootlickers write.

Let me try and give my honest answers to some of Mokgethiwa’s concerns and maybe soothe his sorrows or make him puke. Mokgethiwa writes that I obviously het a high from being labeled a “harsh critic” of President Khama. He is very wrong. The only thing I get from the mention of the name Khama is depression and disappointment. Mokgethiwa calls me the “little terror who is absolutely and nauseatingly disrespectful and discourteous”. He also calls me a rogue. Well, Mokgethiwa would be shocked to know hundreds of thousand other readers feel I’m the opposite of what he labels me.

Mokgethiwa feels it is disrespectful of me to ask whether Khama’s upbringing could have some influence on his leadership style. He implores his readers to translate my writings into Setswana to fully appreciate the obnoxiousness of my statements. Now you see where he loses it? I have always warned people against the danger of making direct Setswana translations or impressions of what I write in English. He writes that when translated into Setswana, the word ‘up-bringing’ can’t be used especially when referring to a person of the President’s stature and age. I wish Mokgethiwa would have provided a more polite word that has the same meaning as ‘upbringing’. I really don’t see any problem in questioning the president’s upbringing. The reason Mokgethiwa has a problem with me questioning the president’s upbringing is simply because he thinks leaders are abnormal people from the rest of us. I don’t see why we should be stopped from probing our leaders if at all we believe they are as human as the rest of us and are not infallible. Presidents, just like the rest of us commoners, breathe the same air as us and receive calls from nature just like the rest of us.

Mokgethiwa writes, “I know I’m not the first to voice concern about this young man’s behavior and lack of botho”. Yes you are right. Some of Khama’s other bootlickers have made noise before you even started having a weekly column and they have failed to dictate to me, how I should express my opinions. Mokgethiwa goes on to preach about how I should care to adhere to Setswana culture and that I seek to impress my peers. Oh yes my brother, I write to impress my peers. Who should I write to impress? Khama is not my ‘peer’ and perhaps he is yours that is why you write to impress him. As for Setswana culture I’m so sorry I don’t subscribe to a lot of our cultural norms which I find so contradictive and hypocritical.

Mokgethiwa also writes about the Bible and refers to some scriptures in there. Well, the Bible, just like the Setswana culture that he wants me to abide by, have no influence on my thoughts, unfortunately. I like the fact that Mokgethiwa ends his essay by mentioning that he is not suggesting the president shouldn’t be criticized. Now you’re talking buddy, the president must be criticized and you are not the one to tell us which words to use in our criticism just as we do not lecture you on which words to use in your praise poems of the president. Finally, my column is called ‘No Blows Barred’ and yours is called ‘Opposite poles’ so let’s stick to our objectives. You get me, right?

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