Mayibuye iZimbabwe

“Dear World,

We are fully aware of the possible risks and pitfalls beyond this tipping point. We are confident we will be equal to the challenges. Yes we remember Egypt too.

After 37 years of repression allow us to soak-in this moment.







What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over—

like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?



There is a train that comes from Namibia and Malawi

There is a train that comes from Zambia and Zimbabwe,

There is a train that comes from Angola and Mozambique,

From Lesotho, from Botswana, from Swaziland,

From all the hinterlands of Southern and Central Africa.

This train carries young and old, African men

Who are conscripted to come and work on contract

In the golden mineral mines of Johannesburg

And its surrounding metropolis, sixteen hours or more a day

For almost no pay.

Deep, deep, deep down in the belly of the earth

When they are digging and drilling for that shiny mighty evasive stone,

Or when they dish that mish mesh mush food

into their iron plates with the iron shank.

Or when they sit in their stinking, funky, filthy,

Flea-ridden barracks and hostels.

They think about the loved ones they may never see again

Because they might have already been forcibly removed

From where they last left them

Or wantonly murdered in the dead of night

By roving, marauding gangs of no particular origin,

We are told.

They think about their lands, and their herds

That were taken away from them

With a gun, and the bomb, and the teargas, the gatling and the cannon.

And when they hear that Choo-Choo train

A-chugging, and a pumping, and a smoking, and a pushing, a pumping, a crying and a steaming and a chugging and a whooo whooo!

They always cuss, and they curse the coal train,

The coal train that brought them to Johannesburg. Whooo whooo!



Immigration 101

Following on from Ben Okri’s correct articulation: “When we have made an experience or a chaos into a story we have transformed it, made sense of it, transmuted experience, domesticated the chaos” I penned this around September 2015. I was angry, very angry. For being disrespected, to my face. Somehow, I gathered some strength to gather my thoughts, so to speak. Of course, its easier said, but yes, often, life will throw it all at you, use that, that’s your distinct weapon, to take on life.



At home, in Botswana – yes, Africa. Accordingly, in the event a Non-Citizen is employed, the employer is legally required to check the right to work documents of the said individual: resident permit, work permit, certificate of exemption. For example, my mother employs and is in personal business contracts with immigrants: Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, and Nigerians. She recently confirmed: “Of course, I do check!” Further, some of her work colleagues are immigrants: Filipino, Australian, Malawian, Chinese, Zambian and Zimbabwean. I believe the relevant checkers did check.

Although still very developing, Botswana has been offering Asylum (just) to the other dispersed African refugees, and even those from Yugoslavia (Makhema, 2009). It should be pointed out that there have been a lot of confirmed ‘human rights’ abuses by the trustfully employed Refugee Camp officials.

Recently, just the previous Tuesday, the not so mighty Botswana Zebras expectedly walloped the mostly broken men of Eritrea. 3-1 was the full-time score. In addition, the BTV Motswana match commentator accurately analysed and predicted the inevitable ’real life’ result of the Francistown hosted game.

It has since been confirmed by one of Botswana’s leading newspapers, Mmegi: 10 broken men of Eritrea, instead of leaving my born and raised country, the place I proudly and sometimes arrogantly call home, following the FIFAWorld Cup qualifying match; desperately sought asylum in the Republic of Botswana. The rest of the 24-man delegation flew back to Eritrea on Wednesday morning.

Of course, these events were met by mixed reactions from my people: “deport these ISIS members to their country”, “they are here to steal”, “We are not Europe!” some vented on Facebook. “Let us help them – love one another’’, “One day it could be us or our children”, “please, let us be human!” others pleaded.

As you know, I am an immigrant in Europe, to be more precise: an economic migrant. Perhaps, as a Motswana, I should be “human rights” abused and kicked out of the UK immediately; based on the very same reasons asserted by my countrymen in an attempt to get rid of the desperate #Eritrea10. #refugeeswelcome


When I was growing up in Kanye, we always had a “maid” at home. Always. She perfectly carried out the daily chores: cleaned the house, swept the yard, hand-washed our clothes, ironed our clothes, and happily cooked us very nice hot meals. Further, there were about 2 to 3 different handymen, depending on who was sober to work. They cut the grasses – both the homely green (well) lawn and the wild thorny grass – watered the plants, cultivated the various fruit trees and flowers, planted maize and nche (sweet reed), and built the chicken “sefe” (house).  I vividly remember that one was a pit-latrine digger, a very strong man, indeed.  I met him recently, when I was home. We had a brief conversation.

All these people were my countrymen, my fellow citizens. They were Batswana, from Botswana.

Around the late 90s, rather early 2000s, the pattern changed dramatically. My parents still employed the minimally paid so-called ‘helpers’ – but they were not Batswana. Now, a large number came from the once breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe – almost all of them. Just like the Batswana I once knew, they worked as harder. Of course, initially, the Zimbabweans started with selling, house-to-house, items such as mangoes, sculptures, and even curtains before they were Cobra polishing sitting room floors of Batswana homes, taking care of Batswana babies; as well as digging pit-latrine toilets and graves.

Perhaps, the unfolding events in Zimbabwe can help shed some light into this assertion: ’’Zimbabweans work harder than Batswana’’.


The young Blessing, by Nkgosi

Hi, I am Blessing Kgasa, the second child of Rre Lekgoanyana and Mme Florence Gaontebale Kgasa. I was born on 2 October 1981 in Kanye, Botswana. Both of my very religious parents were born and bred in Kanye. My father was a miner in neighbouring South Africa, he lost his job in 1989. And in 1994, together with my mother, they opened up Borakanelo Store, directly adjacent to our home yard. Indeed, my late father is buried in Kanye, so is his parents, brother, grandparents and ancestors. My mother, trained as a seamstress in Kanye, at the Ramatea Brigade, went on to work at the local hospital for about 40 years. She started as a nurse assistant, had a stint in the kitchen as supervisor and upon retiring she was the hospital senior housekeeper.

30 years ago, I started my education at Mosadithari Day Care. The following year I was enrolled at Mafhikana Primary School, about a kilometre from our house. I spent all my primary school life at Mafhikana. It is here where I met Blessing. Untill I started at Mafhikana, my name was Nkgosi, with rare moments of Nkgosi’s fuller version, Kgosietsile, uttered by my brother or my father when they were annoyed at me. I remember the confusion I faced when my Standard One Class Teacher shouted: “Blessing Kgasa” And, although not too sure, I responded, “present”.

Perhaps this was what school is all about, I reasoned. I was comforted when I later realized that My elder sister, Molly’s school books had a name that I didnt know.

Now, please, allow Nkgosi to shed his part on the young Blessing.

From my recollection, Blessing was just like any other school boy: naughty, cheerful, and playful. Although he appeared to like arguing a lot with his classmates. Probably, its fair to suggest that he was an attention seeker. Quite normal for most kids his age.

It was not until 3 years at Mafhikana that the young Blessing’s character started showing, perhaps standing out. He was involved in a number of fights for his age. His grades were good, he was consistently in the top 10 of about 35 students and always averaged a B.

Apart from being a naughty student within his fellow students, he started showing signs that he was not neccessarily scared of his teachers. It’s worth pointing out that these were children of about 7-13 years on average at Mafhikana. And at 10 years, the young Blessing did not only give a headache to his fellow students but also his teachers. This was perhaps demonstrated by Blessing, particularly between the years of 1992-1994. When as a 11 years old to 13 years old his name started being synonymous to tilo tse pedi, or 2 chairs, referring to the 2 chairs that were placed opposite to each in front of the School Assembly to form a bed where the lying Blessing was a receipient of a number of strokes almost every month, more particularly 93 and 4.

This form of punishment was meant to shame the student who had been rude to his class teachers or had acted in a rude manner. Although Blessing always conviced himself that he was not neccessarilly rude but standing up for his rights. For example, he gives one incident when he thought the class teacher was being unreasonable in the manner to which she wanted to punish him and thus he refused the unjust punishment method. He also mentions the time the teacher confiscated a tin of Lucky Star pilchards he had stole from his father’s store when he showed it to his friends, Seretse le Kgwathe. At break time, the 13 year old Blessing opened the school’s most feared teacher’s desk drawer and grabed his Lucky Star, to enjoy with Seretse le Kgwathe. Accordingly, the punishment was, yes, tilo tse pedi.

It is fair to say, Blessing has always been fearless. At least thats what he claims.