Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Thank you all for a lovely week!

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the many people who made the event successful. By the usual standard of the games, this year ranks as one of the best ever organised. But first of all it is only proper to thank the individual who hit on this gem of an idea. I am sure back then he or she had no clue as to the amount of fun we would have. I can only guess it was difficult to convince three universities that it would be a good idea to have the intervarsity games.

During those days life was a bit on the difficult side and to have people travelling all the way between Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland was obviously a major undertaking. I don’t understand why the originator of the intervarsity games is not given a presidential honour. More than any person, it is this individual who did so much to foster ties between these three small countries. But back to the present. The University of Botswana administration is worthy of gratitude. They set aside their facilities for one week to host thousands of young and energetic people getting to discover one another. I also want to thank the authorities for not restricting the games to university students only. It was clear right from day one that this open door policy had attracted a lot of people.

Even before the first bus crossed the border, working men from around the city were cruising around the campus getting a feel of the place. Some of the more enterprising fellows had driven to the border to get a close up encounter with the visitors. We were all chuckling and comparing notes about which kids were hot this year. By dusk when the trickle of buses became a deluge, the bray stands were out and the university lanes were choked with the latest models. For this I want to thank the university security for being so friendly and accommodating to the many men driving into campus. Let me also thank the wives. For the whole week in which the intervarsity games were ongoing, wives and other female partners understood that there was work at the office after hours. They duly took care of the kids and watched soapies. Many a husband arrived home very late and tired. I know of chaps who had taken the entire week off, but got up every morning as if driving to work. They spent the whole week cooped up somewhere with the young foreign students. A few guys had even gone off on official trips outside town. I sighted quite a number of cars from outside town. It would seem working men from outside the city also came for the fun. But the chaps who enjoyed themselves most were those whose children are not at the university.

With their kids sent safely away by the government to foreign universities, they could relax and allow the visiting students to sit on their laps. As for the blokes with the ill fortune to have their children enrolled at the local university, it took a lot of diving and ducking to be part of the fun. They had to be careful lest they found themselves in the parking lot next to a car carrying their dear daughter. Let me also thank the parents. Here I mean proper parents who don’t drive to the intervarsity games under cover of darkness. I thank them for bringing up such beautiful young girls. Come to think of it, these kids are getting prettier every year. Nowadays it’s so difficult to choose. Although the favourites were the visitors, if that option failed, some could console themselves with the locals who were only to happy to be part of the action. In fact for guys with local kids, there was no escape this week. Fearing they would lose their bank accounts to foreigners, the kids were sticking to their men like glue. But in particular I want to thank the Lesotho parents. Their daughters understand how to interact with working men.

Those girls are so good I think it would be a smart idea to have the games run for a fortnight. Then there were the Swazis. Unlike in previous years, the Swazi lasses were more outgoing and willing to take part in the fun. With their king at wife number fourteen, they have counted themselves out of the race at the next reed dance. Accordingly, I have to thank King Mswati for marrying so many women. Were he still in the hunt for wife fifteen, the Swazi girls would be preening like peacocks, each dreaming of becoming a queen. I must also say a nice word about male university students. Besides a few drunken expletives hurled in our direction, they were mostly content with drinking at their beer hall and deferring to the working men to pick and choose. They are pragmatic those boys. They know that without a car they don’t stand a chance. They are also patient. They know that if they don’t over-indulge and they keep on scoring reasonable marks, in a few years time they too will be cruising at intervarsity games in nice cars. Throughout the week they could only admire their role models, and wish for graduation day. Who else must I thank? Ourselves, of course. I must thank the blokes who made the university their second home this week. We might be broke but we brought excitement to the lives of many young girls. We took them out to nightclubs and bought them drinks and other gifts. A number of them actually moved out of campus on the very first day and took up residence in city hotels and guest houses.

Statistics would reveal how the economy of the city picked up during the week. It was not because those kids arrived from Swaziland and Lesotho with any great amount of money. No it was local money just being circulated by us. Once again I thank everybody who made this year’s intervarsity games such a huge success.


Read this week's paper