This week I had a chat with the former University of Botswana S.R.C President, Gobe Taziba, and got to know about his experience as the President of the Student Representative Committee for the year that he served.
Seeing that Taziba was at the end of receiving the title “Mr President”, I saw it important to ask him if he had accomplished what he set out to do and most importantly honoured those who sent him as their representative of their needs. Not forgetting that he is doing his last year in varsity and he’s left with just a month until he faces the real world, the world of job hunting and, of course, paying bills. Check it out!
1. What was your vision and motive of becoming the S.R.C President?
My main objective was to restore the image and the reflection of the University students to the public. A lot of things had happened to tarnish the students outlook, strikes, embezzlement, bad experiences with past leaders are just one of the few things that had led to the development of the bad picture of the students. I wanted to bring change and take the S.R.C to a competitive level of the universities around the world so as to gain respect and recognition.
2. Have you accomplished what you set out to?
Yes I have accomplished most of the things that I had set out to accomplish but others are left on the pipeline and we hope that the next leaders will continue where we left off and do more.
3. What are the challenges that you faced and again looking at the fact that the University is in Central Gaborone which o fcourse is under that oppostion party BCP and you being a member of the BDP?
It hasn’t been a problem at all. We felt we were people sent by the students irrespective of the colour nor the constituency that the University was under. Colour did not exist at all, the current member of parliament took us all together and all were able to know that we are public servants sent to serve the public. I actually didn’t know that until you told me.
4. Well, I’m more than glad to educate you a bit. Anyhow, what were the highest and lowest points of your reign?
Well, the lowest point was when the student allowance delayed and other students who stay in places like Mogoditshane, Tlokweng, Mochudi e.t.c were struggling to come to school because they didn’t have transport money. Again others needed to pay rent but had no money to do so. To me the student always come first and when such things happen it really affects me and motivates me to try and better the situation.
The highest point would be a certain time, though it was a bit sad but nice at the same time, was when we spent the whole night at the ministry of education because of issues concerning student allowance. We were asking for increment on allowance so we stood there until we got the increment that was due. I mean, students were evicted from their rented houses because they were unable to pay rent due to the little allowance they were receiving. That day I only went home when allowance was increased to take a brief nap and was shortly up to carry out my daily duties.
5. Speaking of allowance what’s your take on the current statement that there’ll be no allowance this year?
We hope that the coming leadership will come together as one to come up with a solution. Remeber it’s a nation thing not just a UB thing so students at Francistown are also included. They should come together and take advantage of what we have already built in the past years.
6.So are you planning on continuing with politics after you graduate?
I’m going to be a bit silent for a year or two to build my self, I have aspirations that I want to take on and there are a number of projects that I have been looking into. My main aim is self employment, reduce unemployment of the youth and of course economic diversification. Youth empowerment is also an aspect that I would like to work on in the future. It’s sad that we have powerful people here in Botswana who are able to change the lives of many but they are doing nothing.
7. Have you met up with the government or the ministry during your time as the President and what were their views on Youth Politics?
No one has called us to ask about our politics, we know where we stand. Even if we got an invite to discuss our politics I wouldn’t honour that. Politics in management has been problem. Politics is a life, youth need to know their stand as the national drive. There’s no way we can get rid of politics because we need them. I believe this is where politics start, some of the best politicians started here so this is where politicians get groomed for the future.
8.How did you cope with school and the pressures of the work load of being the S.R.C President?
I have been involved in a number of things. S.R.C just came with its workload and found a schedule that was already hectic. I put one or two projects on hold of course but really, I coped really well. I’m a very pro-active person, major workloads have always been my lifestyle.
9. So are you a workaholic?
I wouldn’t call myself a workaholic, it’s just that I love what I do and I’m not even aware that I’m over working myself.
10. What’s your message to the new leaders?
All I can say is that they need to know what they are getting themselves into and of course know what they are doing. We get people resigning because they were not ready for the work as they get themselves involved for the wrong reasons. You need to understand that you are to stand for the students as a whole. Sacrifices and compromises are things that you need to be ready to do. When you are here you come last, you do what the students want. It doesn’t matter if it’s your girlfriend’s birthday, these things come last.
11. So would you say that your position has affected your social life?
Yes it has indeed, im looking forward to re-uniting with my family because I have spent less time with them. I have a supportive family so they understood that I had a lot of work to do hence me kind of dis-connecting from them. Again when you are in this kind of situation your friends need to understand what you are going through, they need to know that work comes first. If social life is important to you then this is not the place for you.
Things you gotta know!
Birth date: 27 January 1987
Studying: Bachelor of Education
Relationship status: In a relationship
One thing that he can’t live without out: My mom