The annual Mascom Batanani Walk got underway this past Friday in Francistown. The virtual walk was led by the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Development Tumiso Rakgare.
Mascom Batanani Walk was launched in Francistown last year featuring South African actors Shaka (Sthembiso Khoza) and Schumacker (Vuyolwethu Ngcukana) of the popular telenovela The Queen.
In 2019 the walk was under the theme ‘Gender-Based Violence (GBV). Proceeds from the walk were donated to groups that had shown a commitment to the fight against the societal ill that affects all directly or indirectly.
This year the walk is under the theme “Mental Health”, meant to spread awareness and finding ways to support those affected in the community.
All proceeds from the walk will be donated to Jubilee Psychiatric Ward at the Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital.
Speaking at a press briefing on Friday, Mascom Chief Communications and Public Relations Officer Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego said despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, as Mascom they could not be deterred to fulfill their commitment to support a worthy cause as stated during the 2019 walk.
Lebotse-Sebego said they had take a leaf from one of their core values of being innovative to ensure that the walk went ahead despite the challenges presented by Covid-19.
“We have invited everyone around the country to participate from wherever they are; in their yards, on treadmills, at their preferred gym around their communities,” she said.
Mascom has partnered with local celebrities such as Isaac Makwala, Charity Kennedy, Keletso Maidi, Sadi Dikgaka, Loungo Pitse and Khumo Kgwaadira to help raise the much-needed awareness on mental health.
The Virtual Walk will allow participants across Botswana to walk or run in their respective neighbourhoods over the stipulated dates, while observing COVID-19 protocols.
Lebotse-Sebego said though the human interaction and joy experienced in 2019 will be missed, participation in the virtual walk will still go a long way in aspiring for a new look, culture, and new behavior of supporting everyone affected.
Speaking on behalf of Nyangabgwe Superintendent Dr Mpho Ramato, a representative from the hospital said the Jubilee Psychiatric Unit which initially had 36 beds was downsized in 2010 and now has 21 beds with a Psychiatric OPD.
He said the buildings are inadequate for the function and services such as Social Work and Occupational Therapy which are not offered on-site.
“We hope this CSR will help to rectify this state of affairs since Covid -19 has resulted in an increase in the number of those seeking psychiatric and psychological help at Jubilee including the effects of Gender-Based Violence,” he said.
To take part in the Batanani Virtual Walk, you can simply register P100 per participant and/ or donating any amount between P50 – P1, 000.00 through Mascom Online (www.online.mascom.bw) or at any Mascom Shop countrywide.