Wednesday, September 30, 2020

This week’s focus is on Positivity

The Sunday Standard acknowledges achievers

More often than not, there are people living in our societies who have discovered their special talents and have made a major impact in other people’s lives.
Some names have had positive influences on others and brought much needed changes to our society.

Following is a list of women who have made an impact and a difference within our community. We salute them.
They are, by no means, all there is. Most are still “undiscovered” but they are there and we will find them and bring them to the nation’s attention.

For now, Sunday Standard takes off its hat and bows to these over achievers as we acknowledge their contributions to Botswana.

Bessie Head
Writer

Bessie Head still remains one of the country’s most established talents, being amongst the first brilliant female writers to come out of Botswana.
Head’s literary works translated into different languages, including Setswana.

Some of her books are used as part of the English syllabus in Government junior schools.

One of her most famous works still remains “When rain clouds gather.”
As a show of appreciation for her contribution to Botswana, Head has a literature competition named in honour of her work.

Ratsie Setlhako
Folklore singer

The man’s songs are still being played at Botswana’s first Radio Station, RB1.
The legendary musician was amongst the first musicians in the country to go national on live radio, with an unusual voice, poise and the rare talent of playing a traditional instrument.
Setlhako defines the Tswana culture that was!

His music still remains influential in the works of the younger cultural musicians and poets.

As a way of showing recognition to his work, the government has seen it fit to also add him to the primary school literature syllabus.
One of his trademark songs remains the controversial “Are chencheng”, loosely translated, it means let’s change.

Jellusic Vesselin
Former National football squad coach

Never in its history has Botswana’s national soccer team, the Zebras, had as much respect and support from Batswana as it did at the time Vesselin was coach.

The man did wonders for the Zebras.
For the first time, the Botswana squad went on a merciless winning spree, beating countries that used to trample it. It was the first time the Zebras’ Supporters Club was dedicated to the cause; it was the first time the National Stadium got fully-packed for a Zebras match.
And it was the first time supporters travelled out of the country in mass numbers to support their team.

Dumelang Saleshando
Member of Parliament, Gaborone Central

The outspoken gentleman still remains the only candidate from his party, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to become a Member of Parliament after winning the race for Gaborone Central against a much experienced ruling party official.
Because of his clear vocabulary and straight talk, the lad has gained respect from both opposition parties and has even impressed some members of the ruling BDP.

His powerful presence and persuasiveness has the youth wrapped around his finger. Growing up in the home of a political figure, his father, Saleshando learned to excel in all areas of politics.
He is also one of the young MPs who have tabled very meaningful populist motions.

Judge Unity Dow
High Court Judge

Who can forget how Dow fought for the right to Botswana nationality for children with foreign fathers but whose mothers are Botswana. The law, then, had been that the children came from wherever their fathers were born, which meant they were foreigners.
Dow advocated and influenced a change in this law.

The lady, who has also been termed a “no-nonsense” judge, has had a few clashes with the Botswana government over her judgments in big cases involving the government and civilians.
Primary among these is the case of the Basarwa of the CKGR vs. Government, where she overruled government’s intentions to throw Basarwa off their land.

She also overruled the government over the 70% tax on alcohol.
Controversial as she is, Dow also recently reinstated expelled University of Botswana Student Representative Council leaders.

Dow has also managed to establish herself as a notable author, with one of her books, Far and beyond, read at university level.

Girish Ramakrishna
Treasurer of the Botswana Cricket Association

The man has contributed a lot to the Tswana society in terms of community building efforts through cricket.
Ramakrishna is the head of the Botswana Developmental Cricket programme, which deals with introducing cricket to children in governmental primary schools.

Cricket doesn’t form part of the sporting syllabus in public schools but Ramakrishna and his partners are making it their responsibility to take the cricket spirit to the schools and even go to the extent of sponsoring them to attend cricket championships.
The team has also gone places, as far as Maun, to donate kits and equipment to children who want to join the international sport.
The programme currently has over 3128 school-going children enrolled.

Pule Molotsi
Inventor of the fingerprint Telephone

The young genius is clearly not receiving the recognition he deserves due to lack of funds. Pule was the first human being ever to come up with a perfected version of a finger print telephone, which he invented all by himself and without proper facilities.
The Motswana lad had sold his idea throughout the world but was restrained from making it big because of lack of sponsorship.

The finger print telephone ensures the right to security and privacy to the user of the landline. With the touch of a finger, the phone can identify its owner and allow access to usage.
Even BTA was impressed by the worldwide approved project.

Festus Mogae
Former President of Botswana

Africa has recently acknowledged and commended Mogae’s peaceful years as president.
An African Magazine based in Europe named him Man of the Year, months after he won the Mo-Ibrahim prize, all this after his retirement.

Despite being the third president of this successful country, Mogae also put up a relentless fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, encouraging the use of ARVs and sponsoring countless campaigns alerting people to curb the spread of the deadly disease while other African leaders were busy denying the existence of the disease, even though their people were dying in numbers.

Look out for more acknowledgements next week.

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