ASK GASE 09/10/12

Dear Gase
The father of my child disappeared when I was pregnant with our child four years ago, we have not heard or seen him since then.
I tried in vain to look for him and even tried to report him to the magistrate court but I did not know his whereabouts or where he stays.
Now I am engaged to get married and my fear is that he might surface and try and claim the child or stop the wedding. Do I have anything to worry about?
Is there anything I should have done or can do?

Gase says;
Even if he tried, I doubt very much he would succeed in stopping your wedding or claiming the child.
How on earth would any man in their right mind abandon an unborn baby, disappear and then try to lay claim on the child four years later?
Does he even know the name of the child or even whether it’s a boy or a girl?
For anyone to take him seriously, he’d have to come up with a very convincing reason for his four-year disappearance and silence.
I don’t think you have anything to worry about, but for your peace of mind I suggest you go back to the magistrate’s to state your concern; if at all there’s anything you need to do they will inform you.
Dear Gase,
I am a lady of 28 years of age, married and would like to have your advice.
My husband wants me to be a friend to his ex girlfriend because they have a kid together.
The problem I have is that when she is dropping the child off she takes more than an hour chatting with my husband in my own house and he is expecting me to smile and prepare food for her even when she arrives after lunch when no food is left. She often leaves and comes back for the food. Please help!
I don’t know what to do because she is visiting a lot these days but she never used to, before we got married.

Gase says;
You should choose your own friends and not be forced into a friendship by your husband…especially not with his ex!
Her child is forever going to be a part of your husband’s life and for the sake of peace it’s important that you be civil to your husband’s ex.
However, that doesn’t mean you must allow yourself to be taken advantage of or forced to do anything you’re not comfortable with.
Does your husband know how you feel about this whole situation?
Have a chat with him so that he’s aware of your concern and so that he can explain to you why the sudden change in his relationship with his ex now…the many visits which were not there before you two got married. You really need to communicate your feelings to your husband about his ex.
If you’re not comfortable with their long chats which happen right under your nose in your own house, and if you do not want to be cooking for her, tell him!
Even in the stone-age I doubt that a wife was expected to go out of her way to prepare food for her husband’s ex!
If she arrives at your house after lunch then surely she had a meal at her own house or wherever she’s coming from?

Talk to your husband so that you can reach an agreement as to how the two of you want things done regarding his ex, before there’s conflict. I’m sure you and your husband can come to some sort of agreement about his ex dropping off the child on days and times that are convenient to all, including you.

My sister’s son smokes a lot of dagga and after smoking he laughs alone and he acts like a mad man, insulting the whole family. Can u please help; is there any rehabilitation centre we can take him to?

Gase says;
I’m really sorry to read about your sister’s son. The Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network (BOSASNet) offers counselling and support for people who are struggling with substance abuse.
You do not say how old your sister’s son is; if he’s a grown man he may not be ready or willing to speak to a counsellor, but I’m sure BOSASNet can find a way to help you help him until he realizes that he needs professional help.
You and your family need immediate assistance to stop your nephew from hurling any further insults at you.
He may even turn violent unless your family takes action to prevent it. If your sister’s son is underage and/or still in school, for his own good he needs to be attended to urgently.
Please contact BOSASNet on 395 9119 or 7265 9891.

I am a 23- year- old guy who started work eight months ago after completing my tertiary education.
My 20- year- old girlfriend and I have a 6-month old baby boy. The last time our two families met was when the baby was two weeks old; her father and uncle demanded six herd of cattle or P8 400 from me for tshenyo (impregnating their daughter) regardless of whether or not I have plans to marry my girlfriend.
I simply do not have that amount of money and my family, though they are supportive in every other way, cannot help me as they too do not have any cattle nor do they have that kind of cash.
With my salary I can afford to continue taking care of my child, but will not be able to pay the six herd of cattle any time soon.
My girlfriend will complete her studies in three years’ time and we are planning to get married then, after she gets a job.
Until then, marriage is not an option for us.
My girlfriend and I have discussed the tshenyo issue and she feels that her parents would be unreasonable to demand payment when I am taking good care of their grandchild. What do you think?
Do they have the right to do this after I have demonstrated what a caring father I am?
What should my parents tell my girlfriend’s parents should they decide to demand payment before I save enough to pay?

Gase says;
First, I must commend you for wanting to nurture and strengthen that loving bond between you and your son.
You are a good role model for other young men out there.
You want to know if your girlfriend’s parents have the right to continue demanding payment even after you have demonstrated that you are a loving, caring father.
Unfortunately for you, yes they do, according to Setswana custom, because you have “deflowered” their daughter.
However, this custom is not cast in stone, and should they decide to demand the 6 herd of cattle your parents can negotiate with your girlfriend’s parents in your favour by bringing to their attention the fact that you have just started working and therefore have very little or no savings, and that you have been there for your child from the very first month of his life.
Just make sure that you continue with that good record, and who knows, they may even decide to stop demanding payment altogether and be content with the fact that you are providing well for the little one.

I am a 16 year old girl and my problem is my two best friends Warona and Michelle who are always fighting over me.
Luckily, the fights are not yet physical but they badmouth each other because they are both so possessive.
Their behaviour hurts me and I feel like a rag doll being pulled in opposite directions. Warona and Michelle’s catfight is causing me so much stress that I’m becoming miserable by the day and no longer enjoy having them around me at school, like I did before. They can see that I am unhappy but it seems this is not enough to make them change their behaviour.
I have tried talking to them about it to no avail.
Should I dump them both, because they are selfish or should I talk to them some more to sort things out and save our friendship?
Please help!

Gase says;
Michelle and Warona need to understand that just because they are friends with you does not mean they own you, just as much as you do not own them.
They have no right to cause you such misery and you should mince no words when you tell them off for behaving so badly and yet calling themselves your friends.
You call them your “two best friends”, so perhaps your friendship is valuable enough for you to try one more time to save it.
If you are a strong believer in the magic of friendship, then try your very best to save that friendship between you and your two best buddies.
Perhaps your friends are just two nasty girls that you need to kick out of your life because they do not deserve your friendship.
On the other hand, it could be that one or both of them genuinely made a mistake and they both got carried away and ended up not knowing how to clean up the mess they created.
Only time will tell. If you feel they are truly your best friends then do not rush to “dump them”.
There is a saying that ‘every person should have a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his/her friends’.
Approach your school guidance and counselling teacher or any adult person you trust, to mediate and help you sort out the problem.
Your friends will have to be frank about their issues if any progress is to be made.


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