The strike may have been suspended but the spirit lives on.
The sense of comradeship and the ability to look on the bright side was reflected when strike veterans in Francistown met up at the China Town park for a farewell feast.
“When the strike was suspended it was painful because we were parting ways after eight weeks of spending so much time together. Chedu Choga was a beautiful experience, and we miss the jokes, the songs, and just the characters that were part of the strike,” reflected Tapson Patane, a science teacher at Mater Spei College.
During the eight weeks of Chedu Choga, a choir called ‘Matutsi a palo potana’ kept spirits high with their songs of revolution. “Re beletse lekgoa leo re letsenye mo ganong la tau, BOFEPUSU ke mochaochele o kgonwa ke madi a tsene,” (Call us that white guy, and let us throw him in the lions mouth, BOFEPUSU is strong and powerful it operates when the money has been given) is among the top songs that the now famous choir belted out to the strikers.
The choir master, Ishmael ‘Letutsi’ Israel is now a popular character among workers even nationwide. “As the choir, I believe we were tightknit, and just one happy family that did a good job to keep the ears and heart pleased,” says 55 year old Letusi, as he is affectionately called.
The ‘mother of all strikes’ may have not given birth to the 16% the workers demanded, but that did not dampen the mood of those at the recent China Town park gathering, who ate, drank, sang and made merry.