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From Francstown to Bristol

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BOOKS GOT ME HERE

BY TSHEPO HAPPY MAPHANYANE

A journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page.

And what a journey it has been for Victoria Salam!

Twelve years ago, propelled by stories she had immersed herself in, she decided to go on an adventure to the United Kingdom.

“My fascination was born from my obsession with books. I read everything from Shakespeare, Marian Keyes and Jane Eyre. These and many others certainly played a huge part in creating images of a place I knew at some point I would love to visit and perhaps have the opportunity to explore,” said Salam who was captivated by the allure of all things British from a very young age.

“I couldn’t get enough of the accents and the all too familiar British humor,” she sys with a chuckle.

Realizing that her dream to migrate to the UK was within reach, Salam and a bunch of her friends utilized the working visa to make their trip to England.

“I was excited to finally get first hand experience of the culture I had come to know so well only through reading books and watching television,” she said

Although at the time, everyone around her spoke highly of going to the United States of America, Salam was not swayed from her interest to find her feet in the UK.

Settling in Bristol, she went about making friendships that ultimately led to her meeting her husband with whom she now has two sons.

An alumni of John Mackenzie school in Francistown who went on to be a law graduate, Salam talked fondly about her school days and about how teachers were caring and encouraging, causing her to excel in academics.

Her childhood memories, she says have propelled her to be more involved in her Bristol community.

“We all have a role to play in building young minds. There is a teacher in all of us and we ought to decide if we will be teachers that build or break the spirit and destroy lives,” she said.

Juggling motherhood, a commercial cleaning company she manages and her part time work in a law firm, Salam’s plate is full, yet she makes time for what she says is most important to her, which is helping others achieve their dreams.

PASSIONATE: Salam

Through community work and church, she has added value to platforms geared at elevating others to realize their potential.

Through seminars and workshops outside of her work she and others continue to build networks that aim to harness their gifts and knowledge.

“I know firsthand the difficulty in making impact especially in a place where everyone seems to be only concerned about their own livelihood. Unlike in Botswana, it takes longer to build networks here. People may mean well, but they are busy. However once made, these connections are for a lifetime,” she said

Although her family had initially worried a bit about her moving to the UK, they long got used to it.

“I have never stayed at home for long periods of times because I did both my O levels and A Levels in Zimbabwe before spending five years at university. So, one could say, I have been independent and away from home for a very long while,” Salam explained.

She however keeps in touch and follows what is going on in Botswana closely.

In preparation for the brand-new year, Salam excited about being back in the kitchen.

“We recently watched a documentary on food; the game changer and it correlated with conversations we have been having about being a lot healthier. So I am enjoying the meal preps even though it can at times mean spending way too much time in stores looking for specific ingredients. Cutting out meat from our diet has so far not been too bad,” she laughs and goes on to add that being intentional with everything is he theme for 2020.

“ I am energized by the possibilities that lie ahead,” she said wrapping up the interview.

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How Gov bluddered on first Corona virus death

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*Hundreds exposed to the virus

Government secrecy and unreliable communication this week dealt a devastating blow to the fight against Corona virus, exposing hundreds of people to infection in Gaborone and surrounding areas.

As people reeled from the announcement of the first Corona Virus death in the country on Tuesday afternoon, it has emerged that government had known about the 79- year- old Ramotswa woman’s status since Thursday last week and concealed the information both to the family and mortuary that handled her body.

On Wednesday afternoon traumatised Babereki Ka Lorato Mortuary staff spoke of how they were unnecessarily exposed to the deadly virus.

Speaking in an interview with The Voice Newspaper on Wednesday, the concerned Chairman of the mortuary, Martin Gabokake said the woman was brought in a body bag on Friday.

“Our employees asked why someone who had died at Bamalete Lutheran hospital a day before was brought in a body bag and they were told she died of asthma, and so they let the body in and handled it in the manner they normaly handle all other bodies,” Gabobake explained.

He went on further to explain that it was only yesterday that to their shock and horror the staff was told of the true nature of the old woman’s passing.
“ Had we been told the truth to begin with, the body would have been handled in a safer way. The fact that they brought her in a body bag means they new something and they blatantly lied to us,” Gabobake said.

Her funeral was also not accorded the security screening associated with Covid-19 deaths, a source has revealed. Health officials have since asked villagers who had attended the old woman’s funeral to submit for testing as they to may have been exposed to the virus.

This was another terrible blunder by government. Had they disclosed that the old woman had died of COVID -19 or even told us that she was a suspected case, most of us would have kept away,” said the source.

Meanwhile government moved to quarantine 14 family members on Tuesday. All mortuary employees and close associates of the woman were also locked up for observation on Wednesday.

Colleagues of the deceased grandson, who works for a local hotel, have also been summoned for mandatory testing.

“Her grandson (name known to this publication) continued working with us and it was business as usual. He did not know his grandmother had the virus and died from it. They were very close. He is the one who took care of her and took her for hospital visits,” the worried colleague has revealed.

Efforts to get a comment from the grandson were futile at the time of going to press. In a telephone interview from quarantine he told The Voice that he wished for privacy.

Botswana has recorded one death as a result of the COVID-19 with three positive cases currently stable at the Sir Ketumile Teaching Hospital in Gaborone.

There are 189 negative results, 593 lab test performed and 1856 people currently on quarantine.

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Politicians clash over Covid-19 meeting

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The fight against Covid-19 stepped into the periphery of partisan politics this week as the absence of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leaders sparked accusations and counter-accusations over their invitation to President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s closed meeting.

UDC President, Duma Boko and party vice president, Dumelang Saleshando, were not part of the delegation that attended the three-hour long meeting.

Although Masisi stated that Boko, like other party leaders was invited, the UDC has vehemently denied the claim.

In a press release that was issued last night the UDC said. “We have noted the events that have been evolving around the Covid-19 pandemic, its a serious matter that requires all of us to work genuinely. We value and encourage national dialogue on important matters such as the fight against Covid 19. The truth is that the UDC president has not received any invitation from Office of the President and we call OP to provide proof.”

However, when the UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa was asked about calls made to him by OP, he said, ” I was asked about Boko’s whereabouts by Kaelo Molefe and I told him I was in Phikwe. I asked him to check him at his house. This morning I got another call from Professor Mpho Molomo who said he had Boko’s invitation to a meeting with President Masisi and I suggested that they go to his house, an address which is popular within the government enclave. I indicated to him that I had received a similar call from Kaelo Molefhe and he said he was with him. Kaelo knows where Boko stays having been his associate in the build-up to the 2014 General Elections. So quite frankly I doubt he would say he does not know Boko’s house. As regards Nick and Keorapetse I cannot comment on their behalf, ” explained Mohwasa last night.

Dithapelo Keorapetse too said that the OP was being playful. “Why would they contact me for DGB? They are aware of his PA, VP, Secretary General, Spokesperson and UDC NEC. These are the people from who to check him. Whoever wants the UDC President from me for official things is playing. The state has been to his house several times. How did they suddenly forget his place of abode? Even Kaelo knows Boko’s House from his UDC days, ” said Keorapetse.

The accusations did not go well with the BDP Chairman of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, who expressed concern that the UDC was turning a pandemic into a political mudsling.

He said that all efforts including calls, text, WhatsApp messages to Boko, Moeti, Keorapetse and Boko’s bodyguard were made without any success. “There is a communication trail to prove this. UDC must know when to come to the table and be patriotic on issues on national interest such as COVID-19, its very disappointing for a party calling themselves an alternative government to behave in this manner but Batswana are watching and we know they will punish them for this.”

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