My eyes are zoomed on happenings in Kgatleng. I am an interested party since I am a Motswana; on the basis of being a member of the Tswana tribes as well as being a citizen of Botswana. The larger justification of what we have heard from Kgafela about what is happening in Mochudi is that he wants to restore the Setswana culture. That’s a big plus for him. In his own words, he wishes to destroy colonialism, to usher in true independence since when we gained independence we were never truly independent since we lost the land. That’s gibberish! I suppose he is referring largely to the chiefs’ loss of control over the allocation of land. He argues that at independence a white mask was exchanged for a black mask. This is usually termed neo-colonialism by theorists. I assume he has been reading a bit of Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks. My advice is for Kgafela to read it critically and not imbibe it as if it is a present from the gods. For him the present government is also a colonial government and that the majority of those in government are not aware that they are in prison. His reference to prison is interesting, since he has recently returned from its unwelcoming arms. I listened to the Kgafela interview on Duma FM and I realised that he was serious – seriously confused! He explains that what has been termed in the media as ‘evading legal custody’ is in reality a bunch of lies. He never ran away from the law, he says. He just left to consult badimo kwa lentsweng. Unfortunately such a provision does not exist in law, that a man who has been sentenced to 14 days in jail could ignore the judge’s words and leisurely go and consult his gods on a hill. This is worrying since Kgafela is a man in authority who wants his word to be respected, yet it is he who ignores a judge’s judgement and goes to the hills to seek counsel from his ancestors. He has another amazing reason why he left the court illegally. He contends that he actually left the court in the best interest of the court itself. He left to prevent a riot! In his own words, had he been arrested, the court would have burnt! So he is aware that he was in the company of arsonists or at best potential arsonists; men who have no regard for the law and could burn down a magistrate. And these potential arsonists accompanied him to Mochudi to consult his forefathers. So I wish to understand Kgafela’s concept of colonialism. For him colonialism has a multi-pronged manifestation. First, it is manifested through political parties which in his view are divisive. They are evil forces which divide people. Second, religion, in particular, Christian churches, he accuses them of being divisive; yes, divisive again. Third, he attacks education. He says the current education is actually indoctrination. Fourth, he speaks of culture – that the current culture is foreign, we speak a foreign tongue and our justice system is foreign – judges wear a white man’s wig. Wow! What a revelation. It took Kgafela so many years to realise this? He trained as a lawyer for God’s sake and has recently left his practice to serve as a chief and he wants to tell me he has recently discovered that ours is a western foreign justice system. An epiphany in prison perhaps or perhaps Archimedes jumped from a bath naked, screaming: “Eureka!” What is indoctrination Mr. Kgafela is not our education system. What is indoctrination is the bogwera and bojale institutions whose graduates (for lack of a better word) seem to have lost their critical spirit to see injustice and inhumane treatment of individuals that glares them in the face. No no no! Political parties are not as divisive as you accuse them to be. What is divisive is a chief in Botswana who preaches Kalanga hatred and fails to preach national unity and tribal tolerance; he instead preaches Kgatla unity to the exclusion of other tribes. That’s the problem. The problem is when some people in Mochudi argue that non-Bakgatla police officers should be kicked out of Kgatleng. What is worrisome Mr. Kgafela is when Bakgatla tribes men and women match from the Kgotla to the police offices and back without a permit. You know it is illegal. What is bothersome is when an unlawful tribal meeting is held behind the District Council instead of a legal one at the Kgotla. The problem in Kgatleng is the malicious damage of the Mascom tower that some believe is responsible for dangerous levels of radiation. Is this anarchy the tool that one could use to fight colonialism? By disrespecting the law?
Now Kgafela wants to change group consciousness. I must say he is succeeding since there is a certain section of his tribe which totally believes in his bizarre approach to cultural renaissance. But his approach to transform group consciousness is incoherent. For instance having attacked Christianity as divisive, in confusion, he declares his love for Psalm 23…the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…. Like an American or Nigerian prosperity preacher, he doesn’t talk about the centrality of God in men’s affairs. His love for the text is because of the words which he repeats religiously … I shall not want… I shall not want… but then he protests vehemently “But people keep wanting… people keep wanting”. T.B. Joshua would be proud. I wish to express this as strongly and as clear as I can. If nothing is done about the lawlessness in Mochudi, the country will swiftly descend into anarchy. If Bakgatla can march without a permit, why then should the striking UB students acquire one? If Bakgatla wish to chase non-Bakgatla from Mochudi, will any Mokgatla be welcome in Zwenshambe, Maun, Gantsi, Kanye or Serowe? This may be the beginnings of tribal intolerance of the greatest proportions in which rival tribal members will be roasted on the stake by their enemies. Kgafela must speak against the rogue elements in Mochudi, lest he is seen to be egging them on. He also needs a political structure and influence if he is serious about constitutional reforms. Motho yo wa Modimo o tlhoka bogakolosi jo bo popota… not cheerleaders who lead him into the pit. Mochudi is part of our republic and not a federal state. The laws of our republic must therefore be brought to bear on that village.