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Finding healing through travel



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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SADC Executive Secretary disturbed by obstacles in movement of goods



The Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stegomena Lawrence Tax, has cautioned member states that any lack of cooperation among then during the COVID19 era has potential to reverse the gains made in the last decades.

Addressing a virtual SADC Council of Ministers meeting this week, Lawrence Tax said that the regional ministers approved Guidelines on Harmonization and Facilitation of Movement of Essential Goods and Services across borders early April. 

She said that whilst the guidelines have played a critical role in facilitation of movement of essential goods, there are notable obstacles that have been noted by the Secretariat.

The obstacles include non-compliance/non recognition of regional legal frameworks; uncoordinated operations at the port of entry among border agencies; lack of harmonization and synchronization of policies and procedures among, and between member states; unilateral decisions outside agreed framework; as well as different approaches to deal with epidemiological challenges,” she said. 

She added that; “all these are resulting in increased cost of doing business, and negatively affecting the implementation of national and regional programmes”.

She advised that there is need to have measures, and coordinated approach in place since the region is in a post lockdown period since the transportation of non-essential goods and services will be resuming.

Lawrence Tax added that COVID19 is a global pandemic and that the SADC regional approach should expand to COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite and eventually to other continental blocs.

“The Secretariat is already working with COMESA and EAC, specifically, in terms of harmonizing and synchronizing regulations and procedures for movement of goods and services under the Tripartite arrangement. We need to move in unison and avoid unilateral decisions, specifically with regards to cross border movement of goods and services,” she said.

According to the Executive Secretary, the regional office has already conducted a socio-economic impact analysis of COVID19 on the region and the results have shown that the pandemic will impact negatively across many socio and economic sectors.

“The decline in the global economy is projected to lead to a decline in commodity prices, increase in debt and significant contraction of the SADC economies in 2020. This will reverse the gains on industrial development and trade that the region has made in the last couple of years,” Lawrence Tax said.

On the flip side,  the region’s International Cooperating Partners have made pledges to mitigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic on its economy. 

“To date, the Secretariat has secured Euro 7.3 million from the German Government; Euro3.6million from European Union, Euro 190,000.00 under the GIZ/Africa Union Commission, whereas the African Development Bank (AfDB)  has considered a support UA 7 million. Engagements with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) are also at an advanced stage,” the Executive Secretary said.

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Guma Moyo returns



*Controversial politician headed for BPF *BURS owes me P6 million and I am waiting for reimbursement- Moyo

Self-exiled former legislator, Guma Moyo, is reportedly headed back home from South Africa to rejoin local politics after applying for Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) membership.

The flamboyant businessman and former Member of Parliament for Tati-East has been missing in action after he left the country under a dark cloud of controversy claiming that he was fearing for his life.

It also turned out during his sojourn in South Africa that Moyo had also been under the taxman’s radar, with allegations of tax evasion further fueling the confusion over his decision to flee.

The outspoken politician fell off with his party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in a factional war that saw him lead a campaign that endorsed Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi against President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party presidency.

Although he was expected to support Venson Moitoi, Moyo did not attend the Kang Congress leading to his dismissal from the party.

In an interview with The Voice this week, Moyo confirmed having applied for the BPF membership.

“I have applied for BPF membership. They are my friends and I think that’s where I am welcome.”

He dismissed allegations that he was joining BPF to challenge Biggie Butale for the party presidency.

“They have a leader and I am not joining to lead but to be part of the collective of the party. I believe in them.”

When asked how he was going to work with the party patron, former President Ian Khama, who he didn’t have a good working relationship during his tenure as President, Moyo said, “My relationship with Khama is unquestionable, politics or no politics we are inseparable…Yes we had differences at some point but he apologised for having been misled by some government officials to take decisions that he took and I accepted the apology. That chapter is closed. ” he added.

In May 2015, Moyo says he had the shock of his life when he learnt from one of the banks that they had been instructed to freeze his accounts on graft allegations.

Investigators in the matter questioned the over P25 million which was paid into Moyo’s business account and they suspected that the invoices that Moyo produced had been fabricated.

Before that, the then President Khama hasd launched a scathing attack on Moyo, saying he did not have the interests of the electorates at heart after he was dropped from cabinet.

He said Moyo was only looking for power and self enrichment.

Moyo mentioned that despite having been fired by the BDP, he was grateful to the party for making him what he is today. “I have accepted the move and will not go back.”

BPF Secretary General, Roseline Panzirah Matshome confirmed having received Moyo’s application.

Meanwhile, Moyo has made shocking remarks that Botswana Unified Revenue Service owes him P6 million after he was initially alleged to be owing the tax collector.

The politician who is on self imposed exile in South Africa, says he is waiting for BURS to reimburse him.

“My accounts were frozen and after an audit was done it transpired that it was actually them that owed me, they must refund me,” he said and added: “Let’s not discuss it further because it is politics and it will catch up with them.”

However the BURS General Manager of Communications, Mable Bolele declined to comment on the allegations.

“We are unable to assist you since we do not discuss individual taxpayer issues with the third party as guided by Income Tax Act, Secrecy- under Section 5 Sub-section 1.”

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