Do unto them before they do unto you
The recent years have exposed youth to either affluence beyond measure or to turbulent storms of poverty and lack.
Most of the customary court cases demonstrate that most youths have aggressively developed the concept of “do unto them before they do unto you”.
This philosophy painfully manifests itself in many forms when relationships show signs of failure and near collapse.
Petso had been engaged to marry Ecky for over ten years and they were working in different towns. Patlo had been done and they had a child together.
Although their long courtship had been long and shaky, they were hoping to achieve their “I do” day one day soon.
One of the weekends when Petso was visiting Ecky, he noticed that Ecky was unusually round and he dismissed it to some slight weight gain but then he decided to casually remark that Ecky looked expectant and to his horror Ecky said “O ya…baby is on the way”
Petso took a deep breath and said “are you sure” to this Ecky responded “dead serious”.
Then Petso invited Ecky to sit down and discuss the matter.
The outcome of their discussion was that Ecky confirmed her pregnancy and assured Petso not to panic as somebody else was the father of her child.
This got Petso’s head spinning and he started phoning his parents against Ecky’s bitter protests that they could handle their business without involving his parents more so that Ecky had been raised an orphan and the few relatives of hers had not been close to her.
Out of desperation Petso sought help from the customary court.
Ecky admitted to the facts raised by Petso and casually said that it was now pay back time because Petso had fathered two love children during their courtship and his parents had simply waived the issue away.
Petso was shocked first by Ecky’s lack of remorse and secondly by the casual manner in which she treated the whole betrayal.
Ecky’s conduct attracted comments like “okare gase ngwana wa Motswana” meaning she is not behaving like a Motswana child”.
To this Ecky responded by saying that their relationship has always been like a time bomb waiting to explode and hurt everyone around.
The Ecky type of person manifests in various forms in many customary court scenarios and this confirms that our society has raised a generation that is far removed from the original in terms of values and practices that govern relationships and there is no response mechanism in place to heal/remedy or balance this emerging attitude.
This kind of attitude is a bi-product of “the right to be me” kind of thing.
There is this new fearlessness, uninhibited and boldness with which young people approach relationships.
Sometimes it is a survival thing (me first) Ecky had decided to exit the relationship and she did not seem to care what the impact of her decision would be on her fiancé of several years.
The conservative and caring and not so daring parents were harping on their favourate note “agisanyanang” meaning be reconciled.
This traditional and simplistic approach never takes into account the deep feelings of helplessness of individuals faced with rejection.
As a matter of fact there is a cultural concept that “senkganang senthola morwalo” meaning that rejection is good riddance.
In general our culture does not acknowledge that ‘rejection’ could destroy an individual especially if it leaves one with no choice except to shut the door and move on.
One may ask is it necessarily wrong or immoral “to do unto them before they do unto you”? Is the “me first” a concept of life selfish and can it sustain a “win-win” situation?
Why not exit with clean hands?
Traditionally society has relied on families and customary courts to be moderators as it were in relationships but given the modern generations’ assertiveness and independent thinking, how effective can this work?
Have we not reached a stage to have family centres where professional advice and counseling concerning the collapse of relationships which has left some feeling so helpless and desperate that they made devastating choices.
How would you like to close the door on a relationship that you and the other person have not only enjoyed but invested so much in – financially, emotionally, etc.
There are family issues like children born out of this union and business plans.
The bottom line is that the youths are the people who will drive Botswana to 100 years and they have to acquire at all levels user friendly life skills that can sustain peace and stability.