Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Woman’s Right to Abortion  

When will the paradigm shift?

This is probably the hardest post I have ever had to write thus far simply because of the scrutiny I know I am going to get from it but because it bothers me so much to hell with subtlety. In fact I have had my religious beliefs questioned numerous times, “How does a Christian advocate for abortion?” If I got a thebe for the number of times I have been asked this question then boy would I be rich and I’m actually being serious about this…I would be rich.

But anyway, if you have been following my blog or if you know me personally then you would know how much I advocate for women’s rights and that I’m also pro-choice when it comes to abortion.

There is a rhetoric that a woman’s body does not belong to her therefore she cannot do as she pleases with it, A rhetoric that we need to get rid of, everybody wants to control our bodies. (By everybody I actually mean men.) Not forgetting the “abortion is murder” line that society uses on women to try guilt trip them.

I remember watching a documentary from Zimbabwe and one of the women said something so powerful and it has stuck with me for a really long time. Tendai Garwe said:

 “It’s my parliament, everyone has a constituency on this body except myself and I am tired”

 

In Botswana, Abortion is a criminal offence according to the Penal Code, there are certain exceptions where a woman can have an abortion such as in cases of rape, defilement or if the pregnancy puts the mental or physical health of the woman at risk (just to name a few).  A woman cannot voluntary enter a health care centre and request for an abortion at her own volition. If that doesn’t prove how we do not have control over our own bodies then I don’t know what will. Women resort to abortion for various reasons, maybe she just isn’t ready to bear the responsibility, and cannot financially provide for this child. There are so many children on the streets begging because they were born into impoverished families. This is the pandemic in so many African countries; I saw this happening in Tanzania too. Our children deserve better than this. Orphanages do exist but they are not conducive environments for children to grow up in.  I have volunteered in orphanages therefore I have seen the environment these children grow up in, it is not all rosy.

 

It is quite clear that patriarchal norms still remain a barrier for women and also the failure by the legislature to enact laws that protect women and allow them to fully assert their reproductive rights. Having such strict laws has pushed women to resort to street abortions/ back alley abortions, some even drinking pills they buy off the black market which is unsafe and in some instances due to certain complications can lead to death or leave some women barren. This is real. This is happening in our communities. Our sisters are dying because of laws that infringe on our rights to privacy.

“Women deserve better than back alley surgeries that leave our wombs barren and empty……. Get the f*** out of our decisions and give us back our voice. Women do deserve better. Women deserve choice”- Sonya Renee on her spoken word piece ‘What Women Deserve’

With that said its time to all rally behind this issue. We need a movement. We need to fight because we do deserve better. It might be wishful thinking or I am just being naïve but I believe civil societies & the very few women in parliament can make somewhat of a difference.

PS: I know I have been missing in action for a while, I can’t believe I last posted last year August but I’m back now. Hopefully my disappearing acts are over.

 

 

 

 

My Interview on Phenomenal African Woman Magazine

WORDS ON MARBLE

PAW stands for Phenomenal African Women, It is a foundation which aims to Inspire, Celebrate and Empower African women who are making an impact in their communities.They feature female change makers from all over the continent.I was privileged enough to be approached by them to be featured on their online magazine. It always puts a smile on my face when I am recognized for the small contributions I do in my community and I hope it inspires that 19 year old girl who thinks she does not have the power to make an impact.

Below is the link so everyone can check it out and learn a bit on who I am and what  drives me.

http://phenomenalafricawoman.blogspot.com/2016/06/there-is-no-force-more-powerful-than.html

Rise up and realize that you are undeniably a QUEEN

Sebina Saga:  Batswana unite to fight against child abuse

 

#IShallNotForget

Earlier this May news broke out on social media that a certain councillor of a village called Sebina had impregnated a 17 year old girl. Facebook messages between this councillor and a certain prominent minister had been leaked. This conversation began with the man who impregnated the young girl asking the minister to help him cover-up this issue as a certain newspaper had already gotten a hold of the story and was set to publish it, they spoke about paying off the newspapers and the young girls parents. The Minister in one of the messages said “Everyone has a price” I was so nauseated by this. I just cannot comprehend how one thinks they can pay someone off after violating them and stripping them off their dignity.  They even went as far as saying “Batswana ba lebala” meaning Batswana forget easily. Moreover, they spoke about how this will be old news by the time it is election year.

Not even a week had gone by when the councillor’s niece revealed that her uncle had raped her as well as other girls in the village of Sebina. Did this ignite a fire in my fellow countrymen?  It sure did!

A nation-wide campaign dubbed #IShallNotForget began as a way of seeking justice for our children.13312898_915028358609339_8474274540555226764_n

Most Batswana expected that the Councillor would be charged with statutory rape however he was not given the fact that the young girl was over the age of 16 years and our law says you can consent to carnal knowledge when you are over the age of 16 which I find ludicrous if I might add. I also strongly believe that the law pertaining to this needs to be reviewed. Look at it from this very simple yet forthright point of view, our law says:

You can only get your driver’s license at 18 years

You can only consume alcohol at 21 years old

The question then becomes, how can a 16 year old consent to sexual intercourse? Laws are put in place to protect citizens of a country amongst other things. Children are clearly not protected by our laws.

Child Abuse is very prevalent in our country. Most of these perpetrators are family members: Fathers, Uncles, and Cousins just to name a few, continue to sexually abuse children both the boy child and the girl child. It pains me that this has been normalised. Families choose to be quiet about this, when children speak up they are told “shut up, you will embarrass the family” thus children fear speaking up about the violence committed against them because it was instilled in them that it’s their fault or for fear of being labelled a liar. But the truth is remaining silent has never gotten us anyway it has only perpetuated rape culture in our communities.  The end results being, broken children and perpetrators walk freely. Which is why speaking up about these issues is of grave importance. We need to tackle these issues of statutory rape, incest and defilement and seek justice for our young innocent children.

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The #IShallNotForget Movement has created a national wide phenomenon of sanitisation on matters of child abuse all over the country are involved in this campaign. The pictures of students holding placards just warmed my heart. Also, everyday Batswana are at traffic lights holding placards as a way of spreading the word that as a nation we need to stand together and fight for our children,  when I go to the Facebook page called  “Women and Men against Child Abuse” abuse I am in awe because this movement is now global. People all around the world are showing support for this movement, some people are opening up and sharing their stories, they are exposing the injustice that happened to them, the injustice they kept hidden for so long. The injustice they pretended did not happen to them.  They are speaking up and saying Enough is Enough!

The #IShallNotForget campaign was to have a march but they were prohibited from marching by the Botswana Police Service, this ended up in the High Court, the High Court gave its ruling in their favour and granted them the right to march. This is undeniably a landmark case! 13312723_10209859753914636_2721249915548493419_n

We will proceed to March on Saturday 6th June 2016. The dress code is white t-shirts with blue ribbons.

 

Botswana youth: Are we too reliant on the government?

Todays post stems from a recent conversation I had with a young man who blatantly said that the government had failed the youth. My reaction was of course, shock!
As a young person who is born and bred in Botswana I know for a fact that I am beyond priveledged and I will tell you why..
Firstly, there is free education in public schools from grade 1 up until university and from what i hear government is to start free day care centres as well.
Now the important question of whether this free education is QUALITY EDUCATION is something for another day.

I am currently in my 3rd year of University,my parents do not have to worry about sustaining me financially because that is all taken care of. My fees for my 5 year law degree. PAID! I get book allowance every year as well as a monthly allowance for living expenses which is around P1400 ( $140)
For a long time the government has been financing people to go study abroad especially for courses not available in the country,all expenses paid. My mother went to study in Australia in the early 2000s just 2 years ago I saw people I went to high school with jet off to the UK. Just like that. One thing i know for sure is that it doesn’t matter who you are,or the kind of family you come from we are all given an opportunity to become educated in this country. I have never met anyone who has never set foot in a class room before,even the older generation.

Moreover,just a few months ago a new programme was launched by the government.The government took 150 Botswana youth who were either unemployed or did not go to school and put them through driving school. All expenses paid.
Although till today I do not quite understand the rationale behind it, how does having 150 drivers improve the economy again?
There is also a number of initiatives which promote entrepreneurial skills amongst us youth the most popular one being CEDA which financially aids young people who want to start their own businesses(dikgwebo)

I quite frankly do not understand why people feel the government has failed them. We need to understand as the youth that there is only so much the government can do for us. We need to learn self-reliance and not just stand there pointing fingers at the government for not funding your business, there are so many initiatives out there that people can use. I recently heard of the TEEP programme during a seminar hosted by Lerato Motshwaragole(Entrepreneur/Actress)  opportunities  such as these are open to anyone around Africa. There is also the YALI fellowship programme which I have seen many young Batswana taking full advantage off. So why can’t we do what our fellow agemates are doing.

At the end of the day our successes are all up to us and the work we put in. I’m not saying the government does not have a duty towards us,it does. But we also have to work towards our goals and find other means and stop depending solely on the government.

until next time!

BOSA SEBELE

Why I advocate for women’s empowerment & inclusion:

It baffles me how African’s countries believe they can develop economically, politically and socially when women are still being excluded from taking an active role in the leadership and the governing of the country.

In the words of Malala Yousafzai “We cannot all succeed when half of us are being held back”

And as Thomas Sankara once said “Women hold up half the sky!”

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BOSA SEBELE

Let’s talk Beauty Standards! Who taught you to hate yourself?

Watch “MALCOLM X: WHO TAUGHT YOU TO HATE YOURSELF?” on YouTube

How far will we go to change our physical appearance just so we feel accepted?

We live in a society were women feel the need to bleach their skin all in the name of “beauty”.We hate our kinky ‘nappy’ hair and end up using chemicals to straighten it out. we have it embedded in our minds that our natural black features are not desirable.

Who do we blame in this instance?
Can we say black women are changing their physical appearance because they have been brainwashed by western culture or are they just plain confused. Do we have a lack of self confidence and appreciation for our inner & outer beauty.

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“My hair is a political statement integrated to myself perception confidence and self worth”

At the end of the day we have to wake up and realise that only we can define our own standard of beauty.
It’s time that we rise up and be who we really are meant to be and love ourselves wholeheartedly.. I am undeniably a Queen. Are you??

until next time!

BOSA SEBELE