TAKING OVER ROYAL DUTIES
Former journalist, author and pastor, Gasebalwe Seretse will tomorrow (Saturday) add another title to his name as he is set to be installed as Chief Seretse of Pilikwe.
In this interview with Sinqobile Tesa, the young and charming 41- year- old chief talks about his excitement to lead his people and how he hopes to continue the legacy of Tshekedi Khama, a man he describes as the best leader to emerge from Botswana.
Q: It’s your big day this Saturday, how do you feel?
I am ecstatic about the day, it’s going to be a huge milestone in my life as I continue this very important assignment that I hope will steer my village and my people towards prosperity and new beginnings.
Q: What makes you look forward to being a chief and what are you promising your people and Batswana in general?
I’m looking forward to taking my village back to its former glory.
There was a time during the times of our fathers when Pilikwe was a highly regarded village.
In one of his books, Sandy Grant mentions that at some point Pilikwe was one of the most beautiful villages of Botswana thanks to the leadership of the great Kgosi Tshekedi Khama who according to my view is one of the best leaders, if not the best leader to come out of this country. I hope to prove to Batswana that there are indeed royals who naturally have leadership skills who are capable of leading not just because they are royals.
Q: In one of the media interviews you had last year, you said you want to continue Tshekedi Khama’s legacy, tell us more.
As I have said, I believe Kgosi Tshekedi Khama was one of the best leaders to come out of this country.
He achieved a lot during his reign and he was indeed a man ahead of his times, so I aspire to continue his legacy with of course the help of the people of Pilikwe and Bangwato as a whole.
Q: How are you actually related to the late Tshekedi Khama and what makes you the right person to ascend to the throne?
Kgosi Tshekedi Khama was my grandfather’s cousin; in Setswana we say he was his rremogolo (uncle).
Kgosi Tshekedi Khama was the founder of Pilikwe but he was a leader of the whole of Gammangwato, when he died my grandfather led the people of Pilikwe in his stead, so it is not surprising that the Khama family assigned me to lead Tshekedi’s people as Bogosi in Pilikwe was being restored to the royal family.
Q: How is your relationship with the Khama family and the president in particular seeing that you are both from the same lineage of royal families?
I am close to the Khama family of Pilikwe as we meet quite often.
These are the descendants of Kgosi Tshekedi Khama.
As for the President we have met a couple of times, when he came to visit Pilikwe mid last year and when he came for the second time for Kgosi Tshekedi Khama’s commemoration day.
We had lunch at the same table and we talked briefly. Yes we are related but we are not close.
Q: As a pastor are you hoping to influence your people to be born again Christians?
I am a Christian and have been a pastor for close to 20 years and yes I hope to influence my people to convert to Christianity because I believe it is the right path to follow.
From personal experience, I have found peace ever since I found Christ.
The downside to Christianity nowadays is pastors and prophets who want to rip their followers off, I am not against pastors prospering or having many followers or admirers but the buck stops when such pastors become little gods.
Q: When did you actually become a pastor and are you the founder of that church?
I have been a pastor since 1997 when I helped my homeboy Apostle Donald Motsumi to found a church called Revelation Times Ministries and I later helped Prophet KT Molefinyane start the True Bread Centre.
Over the years I have preached all over the country and helped establish churches.
At the moment I am the pastor of a small congregation called Latterday Impact Church in Pilikwe.
Q: You are a former journalist and an author, are we going to read some of your work in future or no more writing for you?
I hope to publish a romance novella next year and also a sequel to Tshekedi Khama: The Master Whose Dogs Barked At namely Tshekedi Khama: The Lion of Gammangwato.
I miss the newsroom at times but I am clearly done with journalism because sadly I am now a civil servant.
Q: What initially inspired you to be a journalist and what are some of the fond memories of the profession?
I have always loved writing from an early age, my late grand mother, Baikabile Seretse encouraged me to read the Bible when I was young and this inspired me to write.
I have always been a good writer and my first article appeared in The Voice!
Then I did a stint at The Mirror writing a thought- provoking column before Gideon Nkala, the former editor of Mmegi snatched me, this fellow is my greatest mentor ever.
My fondest memories are the road trips that I used to make to Dkar for Kuru San dance festival; I really loved my travels and interacting with the beautiful San people.
I admire the San greatly.
Q: So back in the days when you were chasing stories you knew that one day you would be Chief Seretse?
I never knew for sure that I could be a chief but I knew it was possible.
You know I qualified as a chief in three villages namely Pilikwe, Serowe and Gweta, the village which was founded by my grandfather and namesake, Gasebalwe Seretse.
Q: What is your view of chiefs who take an active role in politics and are we likely to see you in the freedom square in future?
Although I believe politics influences every sphere of our lives, I have reservations about chiefs who leave bogosi to become politicians.
This is what is killing this very important institution.
Although I might have strong political convictions and opinions, I don’t see myself becoming a politician in the near future.
Q: What legacy do you want to leave as Chief of Pilikwe?
I wish by the time I leave this position, the people of Pilikwe and Gammangwato would have a fond memories of my reign.
I believe by the time I leave, I would have taken Pilikwe to the zenith of its glory.
I want Pilikwe to be a prosperous village, a happy and healthy village and I am confident that God will grant my wish.
Q: Now let’s get personal, what’s happening in your love life?
I am at a stage where I feel I am ready to get married.
I am now mature and a bit more settled but what’s missing at the moment is the bride! When you are in my position women throw themselves at you so you have to be careful that you don’t choose an anti-social individual.
Q: And how do you unwind?
I do a bit of gardening, cycling and mountain climbing.
I am also an avid reader and I am the happiest when I am at church.
Q: Thank you so much Kgosi Seretse and all the best in your new role.
The pleasure is mine.