Warning: Not for overly sensitive readers, praise poets and fanatics.
Just to share with you dear reader, those who know me closely can testify my love for Fella Kuti’s music, the late Nigerian political musician. And whenever, I play Fella, I also dance like Fella, wrapped around with a cloth around my waist with nothing on top and underneath just my boxers. Whenever, I do that my buddies, call me the crazy academic, but I honestly never care. Closer home, I have the love for Kamazu’s song “Fong Kong.” A week can never pass without me playing these two musicians.
You see dear reader, there has been an emergence of radicalism, disrespect and outright vigilante behavior amongst our youth and over protection by the State where some of these folks who have become a menace with names such as bo-Staggato, Shakes wa Sephokophoko in their areas go around knifing the young and the old, beating everyone wily nilly causing terror and fear, in their villages.
In Thamaga Village for instance they go by the name “Matsatsankane”. Matsatsankane are the lucky lot. As reward for engaging in such terror activities and vigilantism they got a special treatment when they were flown somewhere in the Okavango Delta, an expensive holiday resort sleeping in luxurious lodges under the pretext that they were being rehabilated.
Did that happen? What was the motive? Did the government achieve its intended objectives by flying thugs and giving these vigilantes special treatment in the wonders of the Okavango Delta? It was wishful thinking.
Those who know Tswana culture and custom, those who did not grow in cities under screen walls, those who used to have bonfires from the minute they were born and not exposed to that in their 50’s will tell you and share their experiences in how boys with such behavior were treated. In Tswana culture there is saying “Ya Mosimane ke enkgwe”. In Kgatla custom, they say “Re tlo o go feela (In strong Kgatla accent).
Some years back there was an emergence of these vigilantes going by the name Maspotis in Kanye during the reign of the late Kgosi Seepapitso (Seeps, the honorable, distinguished gentleman). There was Ditlou in Ramotswa. I promise you, Seeps must be laughing from his grave, “Ooops batho tlhe le ngwao ya rona e re latlhegetse, gatwe e bile ba bangwe have the audacity to report other leaders at the radio stations to be reported for trying to restore way ward behavior and the same time entertain thugs using tax payers money” Phew !!! But any way, who can blame them, for they know fokol about Tswana culture and custom, they only wish they knew “Ba tsaya go re, re mo States Mo” ÔÇô Seeps and his counterpart Mo- Kaptain Ramfagodi wa Poo tsa metlhaba are probably saying these from their graves, “Mo ke bone botlhodi jwa nta ya tlhogo ÔÇô Anglo. What a lost generation we have become! Re bolawa ke bo Clint Eastwood, bo superman.
You see dear reader when at secondary school we used to attend “Record Nite” a form of entertainment for secondary school going students. It was at this event that I came across some serious jiviist in the likes of two of my brothers, Vusa a.k.a Matsilele, Ng’alangatha, wa ka Schonga and Ben T, a.k.a Tax Tambai, Mavovo wa ka Moripe used to dance their hearts out, whenever, the DJ would play Sello Chicco Dance Twala’s song “We Miss you Manelo.”
During those years disco lighting used to be the in thing and whenever, the DJ would switch on those disco lights my two buddies would go crazy and will dance their hearts out. They never left the dance floor literally without dripping water .Sweating is an understatement. It was fun, more fun. However, that was then, before there was war on fun, during the time when Ian Khama was still at the barracks with Joni Masire holding being the President, a father figure Joni was.
Later in life, it came to be known to us the message in Sello Chicco Twala’s song “we miss you Manelo”, actually referred to Madiba Mandela, the first black President of the Republic President who was incarcerated in Robben Island for 27 years. His people dearly missed him because a lot of injustice was done unto him, by the apartheid government. To his people, he was not only a political leader but a Godsent spiritual leader, a savior. Few like Madiba were born and few like him will be born. However, a son has been born in Botswana, a good spiritual leader, a true and honest man, who is now serving self imposed exile. That is none other than King KK KK, the Bakgatla ba Kgafela king. He had to run away. He had to, for the political leadership was so determined to incarcerate him on trumped up charges. The mess started in that Radio interview in October 2010 at Duma FM Radio Station and the rest is history. It was all about fighting for space, political space, and pettiness and outright jealousy.
Now ever since Bakgatla ba ÔÇô Kgafela’s own Mandela, their own Dalai la Lama ran away to become a fugitive in South Africa, there has been a lot of madness going on in his territorial area. Such desperation and madness has been fuelled by some power hungry local tribal monks, working closely with irresponsible political leaders, who instead of choosing to find positive ways of resolving the State – Bakgatla ba Kgafela impasse choose clandestine methods of divide and rule. Bakgatla ba Kgafela have thus become disjointed. They are not a powerful united tribe they used to be especially during the reign of Mo- Kaptain and KK KK in his short lived tenure in office. “E setse e le kwa Mma-pereko”. “Go setse go ipagolelwa mogodu”, much to the celebration of Ian Khama and his Ministers. Very sad indeed!!! .
Well what can one expect? They are aware, that their pride in their Bogosi is dead and only exists in name, where they will always have regiments reigning supreme. It remains to be seen as to whether that will happen and in any case they are saved by their political stature for if that was to happen it will be embarrassing to see some of them presiding cases at their respective Kgotla with their poorly rotten native language.
I have argued elsewhere that under the leadership of Dr Khama they have and will always celebrate the state of affairs in Kgatleng, for Khama has dismally failed to rise above pettiness and he is determined to ensure that under his leadership and administration smoking of the peace pipe and breaking and solving the impasse will never be reached. In the year 2012, Dr Khama, came to the Bakgatla ba Kgafela Kgotla merely just to feed them with the Khama soup, and to distribute Khama blankets and shirts. But his visit was so full of empty promises, his visit was followed by a series of other visits and the latest being that of that Slumbering Minister, still with empty promises and lies.
Dr Ian Khama must walk the talk, forgive and forget. Bakgatla ba Kgafela have said their prayers. The onus is on him to use the powers conferred on him by the constitution to lift the charges against KK KKII. His action by lifting the charges against KK KKII will be a welcome development one done in the spirit of reconciliation and good faith. For they miss their leader, their own Mandela, their own spiritual leader.
Thabo Lucas Seleke writes from Cape Town