What’s in a name?

L-R: Maposa, Ebrahim & Chilli

Ghetto react to airport being renamed after Philip Matante

Government recently announced that the Francistown International Airport is to be renamed after Botswana People’s Party (BPP) co-founder and former leader, Philip Matante.

The pioneer politician, who passed away in 1979 at the age of 67, was famous for his fiery speeches, his passion for his people and his refusal to lie down in the face of colonial oppression.

Originally from Serowe, Matante later settled in Francistown, eventually becoming the second city’s first Member of Parliament.

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40 years on from his death, the legendary nationalist remains extremely popular in the Ghetto, with many welcoming the airport’s renaming as long overdue.

However, the more skeptical denounced the move as politically motivated, as The Voice’s Christinah Motlhabane discovered when she took to the city’s streets.

What’s in a name?
Robert Maposa

Robert Maposa

Masisi is a desperate, losing President.

These are the last kicks of a dying horse!

They have been refusing to name many things after Philip Matante, why now?

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We once asked that the new stadium be named after Matante and they refused.

It was rejected by the government and our President Masisi was part of that government.

This is not a genuine decision, it is a political move designed to gain support.

Nevertheless, we are happy they are finally showing some appreciation for the great man; Matante did a lot for Francistown.

The formation of BDF was his idea and BDP were reluctant.

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I wonder when the cabinet met to agree on the naming?

Or was it Masisi’s decision alone?

If he wants to go around changing things he should consider introducing Kalanga in schools.

What’s in a name?
Igbal Ibrahim

Igbal Ebrahim (Former Francistown Mayor)

It is a good decision.

It shows they recognise people who tried to promote the development of Francistown.

When he joined BPP, I was in BDP but he used to come to me asking if there were any issues to raise in parliament.

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He wanted to develop Francistown; he was very progressive.

He was one of the people who was at the meeting with Britain to ask for independence for Bechuanaland.

The others were the late Presidents Seretse Khama, Masire and Kgosi Bathoen II.

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What’s in a name?
Kenneth Chilli

Kenneth Chilli (57)

I do not have any objection with the naming.

It celebrates the veteran politician.

Now everyone flying to Francistown will know his name!

He advocated the formation of Botswana Defence Force.

He made a big contribution when Ian Smith from Rhodesia was troubling Batswana.

I don’t have a problem with the late hero being honoured!

What’s in a name?
Chief David Batshogile Adam

Chief David Batshogile Adam

Matante did a lot. He made peace between the blacks and the whites.

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In the past, when we were graduating from schools, the whites looked down upon us.

Matante closed down businesses for the whites who did not want peace with the blacks.

There was once a strike between Tati Company – which was owned by whites – and the blacks.

It lasted for two weeks and he called the first soldiers who were in Gaborone to come and calm the situation.

The ‘Judas’ had three shops in Francistown and they attacked and insulted a black person calling him ‘Kaffir’, meaning baboon, and Matante closed down their shops too.

He was a man of peace and development.

I really welcome the name Matante, he deserves it.

What’s in a name?
Olateng James

Olateng James (48)

I was there when he was buried in White City long time back.

However, I don’t appreciate the airport changing to his name as it will confuse our children who are going to school.

What has Masisi seen to change it after so long?

What’s in a name?
Keebonye Pheko

Keebonye Pheko (66)

The naming of the airport as Philip Matante is okay as he is the first Member of Parliament from Francistown.

He is the first person in opposition to contest with Seretse.

I appreciate the naming.

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