Many people, young and old, are increasingly abandoning the traditional ways of courtship, choosing, instead, to go for the unorthodox ones, popularised by technology and other modern ways of communication.
A flip through pages of local newspapers will show that dating agencies are taken a lot of space in the papers, advertising those seeking life partners.
Even some newspapers have deliberately established columns where those in need of love can write to specify the type of partners they are searching for.
Online dating is also a hit where some simply go on the internet to choose their love partners.
Traditionalists and Christians are questioning why people are abandoning the roles of aunts and elders in dating and courtship.
Is it because such people are only after marriage or having a relationship, without necessarily worrying about being in love?
Can someone fall in love with a partner they “meet” on newspaper pages or on the internet?
What about the traditional method of checking on the background of the person one is going to spend the whole of their lives with?
Despite such fears, a look at newspaper adverts, newspaper columns or even a random search on internet search engines will show that there are thousands of local people who are taking this route in search of life-long companionship.
Questions will always arise if relationships borne out of such type of courtship will be successful or be anything more than just flirting. Despite the criticism they face in some quarters, dating lines are actually proving to be popular with Batswana.
A 29 -year-old Gaborone woman, who preferred anonymity, said after her failed first marriage, she vowed never to get married again. And for fun, she sent her details to a weekly publication that runs a column on those seeking a date.
The response she got from the love “seekers” was overwhelming.
“I received calls from more than 35 men who seemed to be desperate to find marriage partners,” said the woman.
“I set up a date with one and, as time passed, I began to know what my new-found partner was like.
“Being one person who just ventured into the dateline forum for fun, I thought chances of me getting married were slim. But now I love this man though he has been in 4 different marriages, we are planning something great.”
Brian Mokgula, a marriage councillor at Bible Believer’s Fellowship, said those who use technology for dating should blame themselves when things go wrong. He said the use of technology was to enhance human life politically, economically and socially.
“Dating is a process of looking for a suitable partner with the objective of marriage and technology is only playing the role which used to be and continues to be played by the aunts in courtship,” he said.
“Technology lacks the practical means of assessing your partner as it only portrays the words and the images of the suitor, while internally the person may be morally rotten,” he said.
Mokgula said people have departed from botho, which represents the real issues on the ground, to the fantasyland of technology where people are only presented with highly selective information.
There is only the CV with highly selective information and there is neither physical contact nor practical communal advice from neighbours who know the history of the person.
People are now living in the fantasy of technology.
A youth leader in a local church, Mrs Lorato Motshabi, believes people should be involved in relationships that are blessed by God.
“A life partner is a gift from God and it presents the perfect will, which is ideal and best for partners,” she said. “People tend to fall for material things and not love and this leads to fornication and unwanted pregnancies because there is no intention of commitment like what we are experiencing today,” she said.
Motshabi continued: “People can easily walk out of any relationship fully knowing that they can be involved in another relationship at any time.”
Back in the good old days, no matter how desperate a lady was, she would not make advances towards a man, but datelines have no regulations.
But the question remains how reliable the information gleaned from a dateline forum about a potential partner is. Observers say datelines are being fuelled by the “fast lane” in which some people are living that gives them little or no time to pray for the right partner.