THEN AND NOW: The family’s former shack and their new home

TALES OF OUR TIMES

Prisons Dept help impoverished family build for a brighter future

When Selebi-Phikwe Prisons and Rehabilitation Department handed over a house last week to a 17 member family that had been living in a broken-down shack, they shattered two popular misconceptions.

They exposed the myth that prison authorities are only concerned with crime and punishment, and students from poverty stricken homes are most often underachievers.

The department brought dignity and smiles to the Mmotlana family of Tobane village 20 kms from Phikwe. The generous gesture came after one of the children Odirileng Mmotlana, passed her PSLE examinations in 2010. Odirileng, now 18 and currently in form two at Motlhasedi CJSS, passed her standard seven leaving exams with distinction under the extreme and harsh living conditions the family were forced to endure.

The commander of Phikwe prisons Gabriel Magole, described Odirileng’s performance as ‘inspirational.’ “When we were informed of her results and saw the make shift and overcrowded house that she shared with her extensive family, it touched us.

UPLIFTED: Odirileng and her mother

“We realised that if she could do well under such difficult circumstances, then with better living conditions nothing would stop her. The family were living in unbearable hardship and the thought of doing something tangible to help inspired us,” he said.

Handing over the keys Magole explained that they started to mobilise resources and the work force to begin construction of the P43 000 two and a half roomed house last year.

Odirileng’s mother, Gosetsemang Mmotlana, 40, said that life had been difficult for them. “I have seven children and 10 grandchildren and none of them are working. There are six girls and one boy and all of them are cohabiting except for the boy and Odirileng who are still at school.”

Gosetsemang who has health problems said that they are not enrolled in social grant schemes except for the provision of uniforms to the school going children.

She acknowledged that her children are not making the situation any better as they continue to bear children though her first-born is only 35. “Right now they have dumped their children with me but I cannot afford to feed them. I am also not feeling well and cannot work in the Ipelegeng programme due to my deteriorating health.”

For her part, soft spoken Odirileng expressed her grateful appreciation to the prisons department. “The terrible conditions that I endured have taught me to study hard and made me realise that I can achieve anything in life. I am going to study even harder to uplift my family and will not disappoint the prisons department,” she said as tears formed in her eyes.

HELPING HAND: Commander of Phikwe prisons Gabriel Magole

She urged those who might be living in similar conditions not to give up on life or let their conditions define them.

The prisons department pledged that they would monitor Odirileng’s academic performance and help her achieve her goals.

The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs, Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe officially handed over the house to the family.

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kuchaha

Go sego lele abang gonale lele amogela..

Tubeless

I think it is a good gesture extended towards the mother. I am concerned by the statement at the end that the prisons dept will be monitoring Odireleng’s progress at school. It would now start putting pressure on her and she might not do well, also feeling like she needs to repay the dept. I think they should leave her alone. We don’t want a situation where these male officers start paying undue attention to this vulnerable girl who may start feeling like she should thank them for something. That is how abuse begins. So rather monitor the ailing mother… Read more »

Moratwa

Moya o montle….Mme ke kopa go tlhaloganya sengwe, mayb ga ke itse sekgoa….Mme yo gatwe o 40yrs….her eldest child is 35. Is it possible ne bathong.

Kana go raya gore she started at age 5

Tubeless

@Moratwa.
Nnyaa ke typing error. Ba ka nna ba bo ba ne ba re ba kwala 25. Ke itse mongwe yo o ntseng le ngwana a le 14. Ha ke bua jaana ngwana wa gagwe wa le 87 o na le bana ba babedi mmaagwe a le 39. Ga go akiwe bana ba a tsohatsa. Bona mosadi yo gatwe o 40 mme o lebega a le 48-50. Tota gatwe re ya kae Batswana?

cheerful

““Right now they have dumped their children with me but I cannot afford to feed them. I am also not feeling well and cannot work in the Ipelegeng programme due to my deteriorating health.”-

the eldest is only 35

perhaps get companies to come forward and donate some food and also in the meantime someone should scout around for an organisation to come forward and teach the family some skills , get a project off the ground so that they can in the end provide for themselves

cheerful

The ladys children should start taking responsibility of their actions and stop dumping their offspring on to her and assist their mother in a positive way

Moratwa

@Tubeless
Gongwe o bua nnete motho wa modimo. mme le bona ba diretse ka pele gore…40yrs 7 children 10grndchldren.

This is too much.

Am in ma forties mme ke lediswa ke bana ba le bararo, wat abut this woman…hei….iyooooo

cheerful

“She acknowledged that her children are not making the situation any better as they continue to bear children though her first-born is only 35.”

The lady sounds stressed out – she needs a bit of a respite- “Gosetsemang who has health problems said that they are not enrolled in social grant schemes 2

Well waht a better day to give the lady a bit of pampering than mothering sunday that approaching.

Would Emang from the Voice take this lady under her wing as she deals with family issues at the Voice and see what they can do for her for mothering sunday ???

cheerful

In my view Odirileng should be given a bursary to attend a good boarding school

cheerful

If any company or organisation, individuals are reading this article and would like to assist the family in any way i am sure the Reporter who wrote this article will be only to happy to assist

cheerful

This story reminds me of the article on the lady who is taking care of 24 children whose plight was highlighted in the voice newspaper about a year ago