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Finding healing through travel

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At a quick glance she comes across as a picture of perfection, a woman having the time of her life exploring exotic destinations without a care in the world.

One would never have been none the wiser of her pain masked by her seemingly fabulous life of travel and bucket list experiences.

It is only on closer inspection and a heart to heart chat that she shares her journey.

Following the loss of her mother in 2018, Gaone Moatlhodi was overwhelmed with so much grief she barely coped.

Describing her feelings, Moatlhodi says; “it was as if I was in a bottomless pit and could not drag myself out. It was a dark lonely place”.

With visible traces of sadness, Moatlhodi goes on to say she had initially not realized how hard her loss had affected her.

“I guess I had not taken the time to mourn. I just did not deal with the loss. I got wrapped up in what needed to be done then back to work.”

Unfortunately, it was at her place of work, that it became obvious that the once gutsy go getter was not doing well.

“Working in sales there was an expectation to meet with clients and secure business. I was not productive. Five months passed and I had not made a single sale. I was struggling to be upbeat and interested in work,” she reveals.

And then the guilty set in.

“I felt like I was wasting company time and money. And therefore it would be better to quit and deal with my grief.”

Eventually she took the plunge and had the difficult conversation with her superiors and it was agreed that both parties would part ways amicably with an agreement to return when she got better.

Having always been keen on yoga, the following month, which was April Moatlhodi, went on a yoga retreat in Thailand.

The experience left her rejuvenated. “I absolutely loved it and best of all I felt so much better. I came back home convinced I would do it again.”

Back home, Gaone made the decision to pursue yoga extensively.

However, she was at a loss of where to start.

“There was also the need to fully embrace this decision and like so many people, I had been orientated to hold firmly to one’s job, accumulate material possessions, get married and raise a family. A predictable existence no one questions. But What if you feel differently?” Moatlhodi probes.

To honor her mother’s memory the daring Gaone managed to transcend societal expectations and pressures to choose living truthfully.

“In dealing with her passing, I also recognized I had not been fully honest with myself and kinder to myself. Many times, I put everyone else’s needs before my own. I have gotten burnt by some relationships and still gave loved ones the benefit of the doubt. After a while it all takes a toll on you. You can either ignore the nagging feeling that all is not right or do something about it,” she philosophized.

Despite not having a solid plan or destination in mind, Gaone made the decision to seek the peace she had once enjoyed through travel.

FOCUSED: Moatlhodi

Her first stop was Cape Town in August before heading to Bali for a second retreat.

This time around a monthlong silent healing retreat.

The Indonesian destination is famous for well-packaged offers ranging from combinations of wellness, detox, beauty spas, meditation and teacher training yoga retreats.

“All set in a serenity needed to be at peace with one’s thoughts”.

“The peace is definitely addictive,” she said

The second visit cemented her interest to pursue yoga through travel.

“For the first time in a long while I was genuinely happy and excited. It was in India where she got a teacher training certificate, which allows her to be an instructor. (This will also aid me to self-fund as I can take up piece jobs at retreat centers.”

Perhaps as a celebration for confronting her pain and conquering unfamiliar territory, Gaone took on Europe.

Touring Portugal, Spain, Italy and France.

“At first it was daunting travelling alone, then once I got comfortable, I allowed myself to enjoy it. The whole experience was exhilarating.”

Although she had planned to return to Botswana after the holiday tour, a conversation with her younger sister who is a PHD student in the UK has led to a detour.

“I wasn’t ready to go back to the all too familiar environment. It may be easy to slip into old habits and feel hopeless again. My sister suggested that I visit her so I did.”

Although Gaone does not have a plan and is unsure of her prospects, she is adamant that her UK stay is a better option that returning home for now.

“I have changed my ticket and given myself six months to figure out my next move. I may not know what the future holds or where I will be in a few months but I am comfortable with my choices. All I know is anything can happen, just do what makes you happy and life will dance with you,” she said.

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That’s murder, not ‘balls’ defense– court tells convict

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The Gaborone High Court has convicted Boyboy Lesele for the murder of Matshediso Racheru on July 1st, 2015 in Ramotswa.

The bartender was immediately whisked away to prison where he will spend some time before his sentencing next month.

Justice Gabriel Komboni found Lesele guilty after pointing out at loopholes in the accused person’s defence, adding that the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he killed the deceased by hitting her with a firewood or log and she died a day later in hospital.

“There is no doubt that the deceased died of the wounds that were caused by the accused person who hit her twice with a blunt object on her head. The deceased sustained two fractures on her skull and there was blood in her brain,” Justice Komboni said in his ruling.

In his Evidence in Chief, Lesele had told the court that he hit his girlfriend after she insulted him as well as his mother, and that she regularly did that when she was drunk.

He said that on the night of the killing, the deceased person who had been drinking with friends at Dinare Bar, had wanted to top up her drunk status by smoking dagga to which he protested.

An argument ensued followed by a physical fight and the deceased grabbed his balls and held tight until he decided to hit her with a nearby firewood, he told the court.

However, State witnesses told the court that they did not hear any argument between the lovebirds despite the proximity of their bedrooms to the fireplace where the killing occurred.

The only eye witness, with whom the deceased had been drinking earlier, told the court that she saw the accused person hit the deceased with the burning log and that she saw burning ashes around Matshediso’s head.

Justice Komboni stated that the accused person’s version of self-defense was an afterthought in that he did not tell the Investigating Officer about how the deceased held tight his balls nor did he go and seek medical attention after the alleged fight.

“This is false. Even if I give the accused the benefit of doubt and assume that the deceased held a grip at his balls, this did not justify the gravity of the assault he inflicted on her. The attack was vicious as there were two fractures on the skull and blood in the brain”.

The judge said that the pathologist report indicates that the accused person used excessive force disproportionate with the pain and the provocation he claims was caused by the deceased.  He pronounced the guilty verdict and revoked Lesele’s bail ordering his immediate arrest. The prosecution and defense will meet again next week when they will argue on whether or not there is existence of extenuating circumstances.

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Police discourage withdrawal of GBV cases

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Botswana Police Service has adopted a policy that discourages withdrawal of Gender Based Violence (GBV) related cases after they have been reported.

 Raising concern during the GBV Pitso ya Borre campaign official launch on Valentine’s Day held at Molepolole bus rank, Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe, said it seemed the police are now being used by some women who report cases only to withdraw them at a later stage.

 He said suspects get incarcerated and later on they face challenges of some intending to sue them for that, also that they have reports of victims being murdered following withdrawal of cases which the public end up blaming them.

“The choice of venue for this launch was mostly influenced by the fact that in the recent past Kweneng District experienced a surge of GBV related cases, mostly murder, rape and assault. The frequency at which murder cases were reported was alarming and brought fear to the residents and shocked the entire country,” said Makgophe at the well attended event.

According to the national statistics on GBV crimes, there were 1208 recorded cases of defilement in 2019 compared to 769 in 2018; indicating a 57 percent increase which is 439.

In her keynote address, the First Lady Neo Jane Masisi, appealed to the chiefs, churches, health practitioners, civil society organisations and the public to help GBV committees and the police in fighting GBV.

She encouraged the police to continue spreading the message across the country

Masisi also promised to continue with her mission in supporting GBV campaigns and also to seek assistance from outside the country.

 Pitso ya Borre campaign kick-started on February 8th, 2020 with educational campaigns targeting churches, schools, cattle posts, various organisations and wider male population.

The BPS took advantage of the mood of the day and distributed the roses to the men to present to their loved ones.

Held under the theme ‘Ending Gender Based Violence Starts With Me # emisakgokgontsho,’ the attendees included Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Thomas Kagiso Mmusi and other officials.   

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Son of BDP women’s wing SG accused of forging DIS boss signature

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Yes I was detained and questioned- Maruapula

A man rumoured to be romantically linked to the reigning Miss Botswana, Oweditse Phirinyane was this week allegedly nabbed and questioned for impersonating a Directorate Of Intelligence Services (DIS) agent.

The suspect, Mompati Maruapula is the son of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) women’s wing secretary General, Neo Maruapula.

He reportedly attracted law enforcement officers’s attention by uttering a false document, complete with a forged signature of the Director General of the DIS Peter Magosi as ‘proof” that he was employee of the DIS when he was not.

He allegedly produced the fake proof of employment in an attempt to fraudulently purchase a BMW vehicle limited addition at one of the car dealers in Gaborone, an eyewitness has claimed.

“The car dealership phoned the DIS to confirm and that is when law enforcement agencies were alerted and a sting operation was set in motion to nab him,” the source further narrated.

He was then told to come back at 2Pm for the car only for him to find security agents waiting to catch him.

Asked to comment on the incident Maruapula explained that he was not charged but simply questioned.

“They (Police) said they would get back to me. I have not yet been charged with any crime. I was briefly detained and released yes. It is true,” he said in a brief interview.

The DIS when quizzed about the matter referred The Voice to The Botswana Police.

“I cannot confirm nor deny your questions. Please liase with the Police for a full brief,” DISS spokesperson Edward Robert said.

Miss Botswana also refused to comment saying she would like to keep her private life private and quickly handed the phone to the recently divorced Maruapula who was in her company at the time.

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