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Children say I am a witch, husband says I am a b*#@h

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*Pensioner drags abusive husband and children to court

A 70-year-old woman alleging threats of domestic violence from her husband and children this week dragged her family to court to seek relief.

Tables however turned as the Molepolole pensioner, Kgakgamatso Mogale’s children exposed several disturbing issues of abuse by their mother.

In a family of 10 children, the accused five children were Anah Mosenene, Kaone Mogale, Sheila Mogale, all females together with Kelly Mogale who was absent in court and their brother, Daniel Mogale.

The children brought the family skeletons tumbling out of the closet giving details of their dysfunctional relationship with their mother that left the court in utter shock.

Addressing the court in a thunderous voice, Kgakgamatso had started by stating her case of how her children were in the habit of insulting her in the presence of their father.

“My husband says I am a bitch, I sleep with foreigners with big penises and they have spoilt my vagina. He has also accused me of cheating with his nephew and the children say I am a witch, they have badly abused me for so long now,” she explained and went on to appeal to the court to caution her children from taking sides in her fights with her husband.

The court heard that the family drama began in June after Kgakgamatso’s husband, Mothibedi Mogale made a concoction that induces vomiting, a ritual known as ‘go phalatsa’ in Setswana.

Instead of just vomiting, the concoction however induced diarhoea too and his daughter, Anah took him to seek healing at a ZCC Church, which the wife was against.

Mothibedi said the wife was so annoyed by his visit to ZCC that she even tried to bar the church from holding prayers to cleanse their home of evil spirits.

“A ZCC pastor prophesied that there will be a funeral in the family and she will be the one questioned on the cause of death,” revealed Mothibedi in court as he stood supported by walking crutches.

Further explaining the bizarre problems plaguing his family the embattled husband said, “There are two ladies who influence my wife on such things; I do not want those people to interfere in my family. Also since my nephew started getting involved, things have become so messed up that we even took the issue to the main kgotla but it remains unresolved.”

BLAMED: Mothibedi Mogale

The eldest daughter, Anah told the court that she fell out with her mother over the ZCC church issue. Her husband, she revealed has advised her to stay away from her parents’ home but she won’t stop visiting them because she wants her father to get well.

Meanwhile Daniel told of how his mother started abusing him while he was in primary school by pulling him out of a standard 5 class to go and look after cattle.

“There was a certain kraal in the bush where cattle were slaughtered and at night a truck would come to collect the meat. My sister named Tebogo did not like so she took me back to school, but even then it was still difficult for me to focus on my studies as I sometimes missed classes to attend to cattle post duties,” he bitterly narrated before he explained that his mother later literally tossed his clothes out of the yard and threw him out of the house.

Further detailing his mother’s abuse Daniel said his mother had used his names without his permission to apply for a ploughing field which caused the Land Board to refuse to allocate him a field arguing that he already had one.

He told the court that he only managed to own a field after lodging an appeal with the Ministry of Lands and Housing, which ordered that her mother give him the plot registered in his name.

“I grew up abused. If I were someone else I would have developed a bad attitude towards life and ended up n prison,” he sadly concluded.

Magistrate Resheng advised the children to respect their mother. “She has the powers to curse you and those powers can work against you,” said the magistrate before she ordered the children to stay away from their parents’ home and only check on their father by visiting once in a while.

The magistrate however dismissed the case because there was no proof of domestic violence.

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An Eye for What?

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Sunday. Almost noon in Gaborone. From the pulpit, Pastor Godwill’s beady eyes follow his most-trusted foot soldiers lug bags of tithes behind a curtain where the money counting takes place.

With such a generous flock, he will move the church out of the tent into a proper building before Easter.

He will buy a house, then a jet. He raises his hands and sways to the rhythm of the closing hymn.

The church goers dissect the homily and sing the pastor’s praises as they file into the sunlight: “Oh, God! Daddy was on point today.” “May he stay blessed.” “Halleluja, Pastor.” “Amen, Pastor.”

No one notices a young man who has been skulking around the parking lot. He sidles up to a gleaming, new, black SUV.

Big lettering on the side proclaims ‘The Church of New Life’.

It belongs to the pastor—a Christmas gift from a recently-born again member.

He peers inside. Bibles, prayer books. More Bibles. The big money briefcase is not there.

He continues to pad, cat-like, around the bumper-to-bonnet filled parking lot. In another car he spies a woman’s handbag lodged under the driver’s seat. A purse peeps out.

The young man steals a quick look around him but sees someone approaching, so he moves on to another car.

He tests the driver’s door. It is locked, but the cellphone in the storage compartment tempts him, and his time is running out.

He picks up a brick and hurls it at window, shattering the glass.

As the alarm rings, he slides his arm inside and pulls out the cellphone.

Weaving between the cars, he makes for the main gate. Someone shouts. “Legodu!” Again. “Legoooodu!” Louder the second time.
It’s like a siren screaming. The able-bodied give chase. Men, women and children emerge from their makeshift shops, from houses to join in.

“Legodu!”Dogs bark the word. Cats meow the word. Cows moo it. Goats bleat it.

The whole neighbourhood emerges to bear witness.

The young man flies towards the main road. If he can cross the highway, he will melt into the bush and then he will be out of reach, but cars and trucks speed up and down the road. He cannot get across, so he off-loads his loot.

But it is too late for him. A man with biceps the size of the thief’s calves grabs him by his waistband and slams him to pavement. The swelling crowd, cheers.

A slap, a kick, a pinch. Another man fetches a sjambok from his boot.

It whistles as it slices the air, cracks as it lands on the thieves back. Once. Twice. Again. Once more.

A woman who was walking to the Kombi stop cannot resist.

She tucks her Bible into her bag and tugs off her stilettoes. She whacks the thief. Punctuates her words with blow: “You.” Rap. “Little.” Rap. “Bastard.” Rap! Rap! Rap! “That’s for the one who stole my purse.” She stands back and gives way for a man to land his punch.

The cheers grow louder.

A woman driving past slows down to see what is happening. She cannot bear to watch.

She pulls off the road to speak into her phone. “They are going to beat him to death,” she reports.

“Please hurry.” Tears roll down her face.

By the time the police arrive, the young man is soaked in a red sea.

The men in blue-grey uniforms leap from their vehicle.

One of them charges through the crowd that refuses to part.

When he finally reaches the young man, it is to confirm that his life has been stolen.

And still, the crowd cheers.

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Deaf beauty queen calls for Setswana sign language

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The reigning Miss Deaf International Queen has called for the introduction of Setswana Sign Language in schools.

The 31-year-old Serowe-born beauty, Kemmonye Keraetswe brought the crown home last July after emerging victorious in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Keraetswe is adamant that introducing Setswana will help improve the academic performance of deaf students, which at the moment she admits is ‘dismal’.

“There is a need for Setswana Sign Language in schools. Right now we are only taught in American Sign Language and this hinders the communication between us and our parents,” she notes, communicating with Okavango Voice via Whatsapp.

“I am a Motswana but I can’t read or write in Setswana. My parents can only try to give me signs but sometimes they don’t understand when I use the sign language that I learnt in school because it is a bit complex,” continues the brainy beauty queen, who is currently employed at Maun Senior Secondary School as a Teaching Assistant for deaf students.

Keraetswe’s dream is to go to university but she keeps failing the entrance exam as American Sign Language has proved too complicated.

“It is rare for deaf students to pass Form Five. I am even lucky to be working,” adds the trail-blazing queen, who is no stranger to international success having been crowned 2nd Princess Miss Deaf Africa in 2016.

HONOR: Miss Deaf International award

As for her journey as Miss Deaf International, Keraetswe claims that locally she has not been given the same recognition or received as much support as other beauty queens.

“There are so many events happening in Maun but I have never been invited to any of them! I feel like they are discriminating against me but I am just like any of them, the only challenge is that I am hearing impaired,” she blasts.

Additionally, Keraetswe says organisers often refuse to let her take part in pageantries on account of her disability.

“Sometimes they don’t accept me but I am capable just like any other woman!”

To compound her feelings of isolation, she is also having problems with the Botswana Deaf Organisation.

As is the norm with beauty queens, part of Keraetswe’s reign includes overseeing a project.

She wants this to be an independent project as she strives to inspire the death community.

However, the Deaf Organisation insist they should be involved.

“We don’t have any independence. They want us to do everything collectively even business,” she laments.

In conclusion, Keraetswe urged the government to promote equality and work with the deaf community to improve their rights.

She further called for the creation of Non-Government Organisations that will advocate for the rights of the deaf.

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Bouncing back from disability to thrive

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WHEELCHAIR-BOUND WOMAN LAUNCHES FASHION LINE

At the age of 33, Mavis Mtonga is fast making a mark in the fashion world despite a car accident that left her paralysed in her lower body in 2013.

Re-living the traumatic moment, which nearly cut her life short, Mtonga, who hails from Zambia but has been living in Botswana for the past 18 years said she was on her way to Zambia when her family got involved in a car accident that drastically altered her life forever.

“I was with my father and aunt, taking my grandmother to Zambia when the accident occured 10 kilometres away from Nata. It all happened so fast yet it seemed like it was in slow motion. Our car had a tyre burst and overturned three times.”

she said as her voice trailed off, giving way to a deep breath followed by a long pause.

“And then I realized I could not feel the other part of my body just below the waist. I saw people surrounding us but I could not make up their faces, people were asking questions but at the time I could not understand what was really happening,” she said.

She was flown to Princess Marina Hospital and later with the assistance of Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund they were transferred to Bokamoso Private Hospital where they underwent surgeries.

HARDWORKING: Mtonga

Her aunt died from heavy loss of blood. “I was devastated.” She said.

However, the hardest thing for Mtonga was to accept that she was not going to be able to walk again.

“It was really difficult to accept that I was going to live the rest of my life on a wheelchair. I was trained on how to be independent on a wheel chair and miraculously I learned the skill in two weeks while others took more than that,” she said with a teary voice.

Before the accident Mtonga had already applied to study Fashion and Design at Arthur Portland School and her application was approved in 2016 so she started school in 2017.

“When I first came to class, the lecturers were apprehensive about my ability to cope in an environment full of sewing machines of different sizes but with their help I had to figure out a way to use those machines. I opted to use the small ones, which had a footer but I had to find a way to improvise by using my hands instead because my feet don’t work,” she explained.

To date, Mtonga has not only survived the car accident but she has also gone on to thrive in the fashion industry pushing her own brand in her own backyard.

“I have a year now in this industry and things are looking up for me. I have a few loyal clients who usually rock my designs and keep on coming back, which suggests that I am doing something right. I hope to grow and my vision is take my work overseas one day and live my dream of being a high flying fashion designer,” quipped the determined young woman.

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