The Festive season is just not the same anymore!
Compared to how we used to celebrate the significance of the season back in the days, times have changed.
One growing up in Botswana knows that they should expect new clothes on Christmas, as well as on New Year’s, those were our gifts from our parents.
We, of course, gave nothing but grief in return.
Nowadays, the only gifts you get are the same impersonal corporate gifts that have been given to everyone else; mind you, this is only when you have a job.
Christmas day was a day for carols by candle light, be it at church or at the hospital or any organisation that saw the need for such. It was jolly!
Times have changed.
Nowadays, nobody buys you new clothes for Christmas and carols are hardly ever held anywhere. People treat Christmas as just another day.
The only reason they look forward to it is because they know they won’t be working during the holidays.
The only Christmas trees you will find are the decorated ones at shopping malls.
Family doesn’t even come together anymore; everyone is scattered across the world and there are no more Christmas feasts.
Heck this year the only Santa Claus (we call him Father Christmas) I saw was on television.
But I wouldn’t blame them the continent is too hot for that suit. Mind you, this is the time that bars and liquor stores are practically running out of stock because people were drinking from sunrise till sunset.
The Sunday Standard took to the streets to find out what people did for the festive holidays.
Mme Manaka Dikgole is a 78-year-old woman who comes from Bobonong but is constantly in Gaborone to check on her grandson. Dikgole said that back in the day, the festive season was time for the family to come together; those who were working in the South African mines like her husband Petrus would be back home, as well as the aunts and uncles who lived in different parts of the country.
“My husband and the uncles would kill a cow and the women would make a big fire where pap and beef would be cooked. The women would also make ginger and traditional beer. During those days, the only radio station we listened to was RB1 on my husband’s Omega. We would make the kids dance to entertain us,” said Dikgole.
Dikgole said that it was during this time that they ate bread and rice, expensive food that they rarely ate during the course of the year. Nowadays she rarely gets to see her children, unless she comes to visit because they are always busy.
For 21-year-old Otsile Toro, the festive season means he goes to the cattle post with his father on Christmas, as well as on New Year’s. He barely gets to see his sister and his mother during his time because his father doesn’t want the women at the cattlepost. He said that for him the festive season is just a holiday.
Clara Theko, 25, says that the festive holiday was a time for partying with her friends and forgetting about work. She said that it’s during this time that she binges on alcohol and parties till the morning.
“I am such a big spender during the festive season. I spend money on gifts for my family because I feel guilty for not going to see them but I need my space,” said Theko.
She only goes for carols when they are held at her workplace or at the church next to her house but she only does that if there is nothing happening in Gaborone.
And then, of course, there are the numerous funerals that were caused by the increasing senseless road accidents that continue to claim the lives of Batswana at this time of the year.
I also lost a friend, Otsile Merafhe, a young and humble soul who died in a car accident through no fault of his own. To his family and all other families who lost their loved ones I send my condolences.
On a lighter note, this is also the time those newborn babies on Christmas and New Year’s day are introduced to the world, how blessed they are!