“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso
It is common practice in our society to appreciate and celebrate our heroes and heroines posthumously.
Of late however Batswana seem to be making some radical departure from this orientation.
The former and current staff of Shoshong Senior Secondary School in the Central region, also broke ranks with this harsh reality as they thronged Mahalapye’s luxurious Cresta Hotel to celebrate their former leader, Zibo Nthobatsang, to whose personal example they owe their professional success.
Nthobatsang retired from active civil service in 2009 after more than three decades of conscientious service.
At the time of her retirement, she was the School Head of Shoshong Senior Secondary School. Both the teaching and ancillary staff described her as a transformational leader whose professional integrity was beyond reproach.
She defended the nation so well, especially during the water crisis that characterised the day-to-day life at Shoshong Senior School.
She would handle questions from all quarters especially in times of crisis with great aplomb. Nthobatsang is certainly one of the rare breed of leaders whose grip on moral, social and cultural values is so intense.
As a firm and result oriented leader, she abhorrently detested late coming, hence they nicknamed her ‘Speed trap’.
This commitment to duty and inspirational leadership bred a culture of professionalism which culminated in many teachers being promoted to various ranks within and outside the teaching network.
Besides the normal call of duty, Nthobatsang was a loving mother to both students and staff as she encouraged them to use their talents to good effect.
Her classy Jaguar was always available for her staff members who were getting married to ferry them out and about during wedding celebrations.
Certainly and surely, she wouldn’t want to be remembered as having initiated the ‘Kobo-Ntekana’ project in Shoshong whose objective was to respond to the needs of the less privileged. Through this project a house was built for one poor family in the village.
The then Vice President of Botswana Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe officially handed the house to the beneficiaries.
Despite being inundated with office work and community projects, Nthobatsang has a family to look after.
She has two biological children. She also raised nine others she adopted. To this day, she is still involved in the development of the nation as she sits in the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) board of directors.
She is also the secretary of the UCCSA church in Serowe. Hopefully one day Nthobtsang will be among those who are officially recognised for their immense contributions to the development of this great republic.
By Innocent Gabajesane & Sesafeleng Kolagano