• The boundaries of peace

    The boundaries of peace0

      The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence began on Tuesday. Since 1991 individuals, civil society and governments have used the campaign as a global organising strategy in the fight against all forms of violence against women. But sadly for the young woman in my story this week, it would seem that it has

  • The sins of the fathers

    The sins of the fathers0

      Every time she heard her uncle’s dreaded footsteps approaching Pako feared for her life – either because he was again about to force himself upon her, or he was intent on carrying out his threat to kill for fear she revealed his shameful secret. And now her torturer was also the father of her

  • Big boys do cry

    Big boys do cry1

      We held our breath as the floodgates of emotion burst open. From the stiff upper lip of the British to the warrior mentality of the African, one of society’s simplistic assumptions is that men never cry. But of course they do. This week’s story from the kgotla is a case in point, which as

  • Crime on the holy bed

    Crime on the holy bed0

      He didn’t even have the decency to use a condom. I have tip toed around this story of matrimonial rape for too long. But now, like the women concerned, it is time to speak out. As husbands take advantage of their wives under cover of the ‘contract of love,’ there is an urgent need

  • Untangling the love triangle0

      The election is over and as the Daily News announced in their celebratory headline – “BDP Marches On.” Whether that translates into ‘Botswana Marching On’depends very much on how MP’s from the three parties ‘bed down’ together in their marriage of (in) convenience. But the idea that the resulting ‘love triangle’ could determine the

  • Which way Botswana?

    Which way Botswana?0

      Culturally when a woman was in labour it was a big deal. Apart from the midwives ensuring the safe arrival of new life, there would be women drumming outside to prevent the agonized cries of the mother reaching the ears of men in the homestead. This week Batswana hold their breath in the midst

  • A daughter for sale

    A daughter for sale0

      The young girl sat, crouched against the cold, waiting for me at the kgotla on a chilly winter morning, was a distressing sight. Even before the tears flowed, I instinctively knew she was in trouble. Drying her eyes from the cuff of her threadbare coat she eventually settled to tell her story. By the

  • Money doesn’t talk – it swears

    Money doesn’t talk – it swears0

      The Celebration of Botswana’s Independence has just passed, and after 48 years of self-rule Ifeel compelled to take a look at what is left of family relations after the battering they have taken from modern pressures. Traditionally the maternal uncle is regarded as the most treasured relation, and equally true is the fact that

  • A woman’s pain

    A woman’s pain0

      Much of my work at the customary court has been concerned with the administration of justice and the principals of fair play. Looking back I can say, with a degree of sadness, that for every successful conclusion, there has been an alarming number of disappointments. Of particular concern has been the issue of gender

  • A hand in the dark

    A hand in the dark0

      ‘The world is my church. To do good my religion,’ is theinscription to be found on SeretseKhama’s burial place on a hilltop in Serowe. I fear the great man must be turning in his grave as the father of the nation looks down on his people 48 years after Independence. For several weeks now

  • The garden of conflict0

      As court president it has been my duty to see that justice is done and determine what is right, wrong and fair. But one person’s concept of fairness in any given situation will frequently differ from another. It is a debate I invite readers of my column to consider as I present my weekly

  • Love’s labour’s lost

    Love’s labour’s lost0

      At the confluence of two flooded rivers, when the mighty waters converge into one, there is an explosion of water that threatens to sweep all that lies in its path away. It is an image that came to mind as I thought about this week’s story from the kgotla, dealing as it does with

  • The altar of self sacrifice

    The altar of self sacrifice0

      Whilst the passion killing of a married woman makes the front page of this week’s issue, another kind of married woman’s sacrifice is the subject I would like to touch on here. The idea of offering anything from a cow to a chicken as a sacrifice to appease the gods or settle a family

  • Almost a wife

    Almost a wife0

      Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. As early as chapter two of Genesis, God sets down HIS simple instruction on marriage. And man has been dealing with the complications ever since. If I had to label the three

  • When elephants collide

    When elephants collide0

      ‘When two elephants fight, the grass suffers,’ is an African truism I have seen played out in many situations at the kgotla. The proverb goes on to say, ‘When the same two elephants make love, the grass also suffers,’ andyou will see the truth of thisin the details of this week’s story. Over the

  • The sword of freedom and wisdom of Solomon

    The sword of freedom and wisdom of Solomon0

      It has been my duty as a court president to find a ‘happy medium’ between the two Freedom could be described as a double-edged sword or a loaded gun in the hands of a mad man. On one edge there is liberty and the other responsibility -both are extremely sharp and the weapon is

  • The issue of refundable lobola0

      I remember seeing a sign in a shop selling delicate glass ornaments that read: ‘Please ask for assistance. If you BREAK it, we consider it SOLD to you.’ I was reminded of that whilst writing this week’s column, which deals with the generally accepted notion that lobola is not refundable. Naturally this attitude was

  • The absence of fathers

    The absence of fathers0

      “Why after all these years do you emerge to mess up my life?” If Mpaya had kept a register of the times she had seen her dad, he would have been marked as ‘absent’ for all but a few weeks of her 16 years. She could also count on one hand the times he

  • Reaping the whirlwind

    Reaping the whirlwind0

      “As long as I live he will never see my child ever again” “The modern generation may have all things, but they lack wisdom, purpose and authenticity and they will reap a whirlwind.” The comment came as it often did from the old man who was an ever present at the kgotla. Each day

  • Born to be poor

    Born to be poor0

    The time it takes to make a baby is the time it takes to make a cup of tea. But for many women motherhood can lead to a lifetime of poverty and regret – an unholy trinity of pregnant, single and living with HIV/AIDS. When Chensha walked into my office with one child strapped to


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