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Class in session

Kabelo Dipholo
Oredilwe Sentsho,

Basarwa students making pleasing progress

Traditionally believed to have a deep, ingrained mistrust – bordering on hatred – of school, kids from the Basarwa tribe, are rarely spoken of in a positive light when it comes to education.

Although such children have proved they are more than capable of doing well academically, especially at primary school level, where several have finished with Grade A, it seems this early promise often fizzles out.

Indeed a large number, especially boys, end up dropping out and quitting formal education in junior secondary school for various reasons.

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The kids, from secluded settlements like Khwee, Mmatshumo and Mmea, have special hostels in areas like Nata, Mokubilo and Mosu, where they stay during the school term.

Caregivers and educators from these centres have frequently complained about the students’ wayward behaviour and their general lack of interest in school.

From skipping classes, absconding, fighting and vandalism (The wantaway kids of Khwee – The Voice 25 September 2020), the Basarwa kids made it onto all the wrong lists.

However, Kgosi Badigeng Resetse of Mokubilo, revealed there seems to be a shift in mindset this year, which could go a long way in shaping the lives of kids from rural villages.

Speaking on Sunday during a Mascom 3 for 3 engagement session, Resetse said for the first time in a long while, none of the students have skipped school or made the 174km trek back home to Khwee.

“They used to abscond, leaving in the middle of the night, through elephant territories to go back home,” said Resetse.

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The Kgosi hailed Mascom for the 3 for 3 initiative and other schemes from companies such as Debswana as the reason these students are sticking around and focusing on their studies.

“They’ve something to look forward to every week,” he reasoned.

The Mokubilo royal was confident that the three hours the Mascom staff and 400m ace, Isaac Makwala, spent interacting with the kids will inspire them to focus on their studies and dream of a better future.

“They’re easily bored, but today you’ve made their day,” he said.

In a previous interview with a resident of Khwee village, Oredilwe Sentsho, 35, lamented that most Basarwa children have no role models, either at home or at school as most of their parents and relatives have never been to school.

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He opined that for as long as there are no Basarwa teachers and caretakers, the children will always feel inadequate and isolated.

“I myself did not complete school. Basarwa are very sensitive people; a little form of abuse is enough to unsettle them,” said Sentsho.

Meanwhile Mascom donated 40 rechargeable lamps to be used by students when there are power-cuts, which are frequent in the area.

Mascom 3 for 3 is an initiative whose aim is to make a positive impact on communities across Botswana through servitude, self-sacrifice, appreciation, and community building.

 

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