Often when the subject of promiscuity is brought up in this country it is more from the perspective of Sexually Transmitted Infections. My emphasis is rather on how I see it degrading and emotionally affecting those concerned.
I can say with a lot of confidence that everyone who is in their youth in Botswana knows somebody who is cheating on their partner or has cheated at some point in most, if not all, of their relationships.
With no intention of tempering with anybody’s feelings, I am also going to say a lot of us as youth are in very unfaithful and therefore unhappy relationships including marriages.
This is something that anybody who has lived inside our borders for long enough does not need statistics to prove, they just have to look around them, and what a sad reality.
What are we suffering from as young Batswana men and women? It is as though we have caught some infectious bug called ‘can’t make my mind up on who I want to be with’.
These days, we actually applaud the few young couples, and by few I literally mean a handful, that stay together while remaining faithful to each other.
The young generation of Batswana these days are way more educated than the ones who came before, so lack of education can not even be spoken about as a cause.
We all know the health risks that come with living this way; a song that is being sung everyday, more than the national anthem itself! Yet we seem to go out looking for opportunities to be unfaithful to each other. Most of the time we are not even discreet about it; we disregard our sweethearts so much it hurts.
I don’t think concealing it makes it acceptable but I do think the impact might be less.
Common argument is that Africans have a polygamist history and therefore we can only follow in the footsteps of those who came before us. Is polygamy not an arrangement where a man is allowed to marry more than one wife but remains faithful to all his wives? In which case what we do these days is far from polygamy.
We casually get involved with an embarrassingly long list of people at the same time as if one keeps a log book.
We mostly even go to the extent of labelling one person a ‘permanent’ girlfriend or boyfriend while we carry on cheating, agreeing with the rest of the people on the list to respect ‘boundaries’ like no phone calls at certain times.
Cheating has become so condoned it is sickening; it is no longer a valid reason to end a relationship simply because everyone is doing it and the chances of being with someone who does not have become so miniscule.
I wonder where the bone of compassion in us has disappeared to. Just because cheating has become so much of the norm does not make us any less human. The ripple effect that it has in our lives makes it worthwhile for us to stop from time to time and re-evaluate.
Do we ever stop to take stock of our lives?
Sadly, our actions do affect a lot of people. The saying no man is an island has proven its reality through the ages. There is a generation of children coming after us who we make vulnerable by the minute as they watch what their older brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and uncles and aunts get up to every day.
Let us never underestimate how diligently observant the little ones are. And when it comes to copying what they see adults do one can be shocked.
Apart from worrying about the children, I think it is high time we started worrying about each other as couples. Even though cheating is so commonplace, we get hurt when we find out it has happened to us.
It really should not take that much to respect one another and have the same respect for our relationships. I think we should not just love the people we have in our lives but we should also have a lot of love for the relationships we have too and cherish them.
Policing each other should really not be necessary because we must just be expected to have self discipline, period! If there are people in the world who can find all fulfilment from one partner in one relationship, I don’t see why it can not happen in Botswana.
We seem to be refusing to learn lessons from all the passion killings that are spreading in this country. I see them as a message from above to try and knock some sense into us.
So many times people kill each other and investigations show that promiscuity was the root cause. In other words we have set a trend on ourselves that leads us into slaying each other.
These days, we have enough psychologists, psychiatrics, Social Workers, you name it, to go around. I really think if there was ever a good time to start putting them to good use in as far as tackling our relationship issues is concerned, now is the time.
Monogamy is very achievable if only we could channel our hearts and minds in that direction. Everyone needs a lot of stability in their relationship and it is up to the individual to turn their life around and bring in that stability.
We can all start learning to devote our hearts to one person today. Besides, we just need to take that first step and it can not really be that difficult.
How are we going to become what we want to become as a nation by remaining what we are? Is it not time for us as a people to change how we live and treat each other?