Botswana puts SA to shame

BOTSWANA is celebrating its 43rd year of independence from Britain . The country has its share of poverty, unemployment and skewed distribution of resources . There are intra- and inter-party battles. The ruling party is marred by divisions, as is the former official opposition, the Botswana National Front.

BOTSWANA is celebrating its 43rd year of independence from Britain . The country has its share of poverty, unemployment and skewed distribution of resources . There are intra- and inter-party battles. The ruling party is marred by divisions, as is the former official opposition, the Botswana National Front.

Also, opposition parties find it difficult to unite against the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. Furthermore, its labour laws have favoured employers since the time of its first president, Sir Seretse Khama.

I don't want to raise Botswana's socioeconomic challenges, but their approach to events of national importance . There is a common thread running through the indigenous population .

It is unlike South Africa, where the ruling party appropriates the history, achievements and whatever else accrues from our struggle. Statues, except of Steve Biko (which they built under pressure), are all of ANC members. Sports victories are also politicised.

In Botswana there is a joint statue of the three kings who represented the then Bechuanaland in Britain. It is a symbol of national pride. Cultural activities were held in front of the statue and they were not groups of the ruling party, as happens in South Africa during Freedom Day celebrations .

The 20 pula note has a portrait of an opposition member , who is said to have composed Botswana' s national anthem. The ANC never acknowledged and recognised the contributions of Robert Sobukwe, Zeph Mothopeng, Japhta Masemola and Onkgopotse Tiro.

Unisa under Barney Pityana has not bestowed a posthumous doctorate on Mothopeng, who was awarded a BA degree there in 1946 and who, as president of the Transvaal African Teachers Association, fought against Bantu Education until he was expelled.

Had these leaders been Botswana citizens, they would have long been honoured.

Sam Ditshego, Kagiso.

X