Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso

Destined for greatness!

The Cliché ‘Do you boo’ January 29, 2019

step2

Soure: alamy.com

I’ve been attending step and aerobics classes and finally got the message behind the ‘Do you boo’ cliché. I have now come full circle. #BackStory! In 1999 (20 years ago!) I was a first year Information Technology student at TNG (Technikon Northern Gauteng) in Soshanguve and I had to wait for my dad to pick me up after classes from work. He used to pick me up after 18:30 which was quite a long wait on some of the days. So after classes, I would mope around at the library or hang out at the Student Centre in grumpy typical teenage style. On one of the days I heard rhythmic screaming of people obviously enjoying themselves to pumping music. I peeked to find a group of students doing aerobics and they looked like they were having fun. Unfit as I was, I decided to join them and after a couple of sessions, I was hooked. There were three instructors, with bodies to die for; two ladies and a guy. I personally drooled over one lady’s arms (Michelle Obama arms), and envied the other’s thighs (think Serena Williams). This was fitness goals before Instagram. Flames!!! Sorry I forgot their names.

 

Fast-forward to 2000’s and running is now a thing. Not one to want to be left behind, I too got onto this running business because you know, FOMO.  Dismal fail each time. My time in the police college should have converted me into a runner, alas! After moving to Botswana 18 months ago, I decided to join a cool running team, RWI – yeah, check them out – these guys are really dope. Well, I only ran with them thrice in nine months. THREE TIMES! Suffices to say I was tired of being number last. Now do you understand the embarrassment of being tall and somewhat slim yet being number last in a group of runners? Yeah! I wasn’t having any of that. I started running by myself to gain some confidence and to build fitness with the intention of going back to the team later. *sigh* It always takes so much out of me to get out of the house and hit the road only to come back with a nosebleed or terrible rhinitis attack each time. But I wasn’t going to be defeated. I would continue to drag myself out and hit the pavement, nosebleed, rhinitis and all. This year, 2019, I have run once and went to 4 aerobics classes since my return to Gaborone and actually painfully enjoyed myself. Ok, the enjoyment is not ha ha fun, but I mean that I do not dread going to gym, I do not get rhinitis afterwards, I am loving how I feel and I am always proud of myself for staying the hour and sweating like a pig in the process. My arms and thighs are definitely on the mend.

 

This (aerobics) is how I had managed to keep fit and toned through my tertiary and first working years and then the goods train got derailed when I decided that running was the in thing and I too had to pose with medals. So guess what? 20 years on, I am going back to where my fitness journey started. Aerobics, step, Taebo, Zumba, kata box, etc… Running mates – do best, #Respect! Runners are a different cattle of fish I tell you! Perhaps once a month / quarter I can do a small run but given my track record, please don’t quote me on that. When it comes to fitness classes though, you can bet on seeing me two – three times per week at the gym. Running Comrades will remain on my bucket list (for now) because I am Mzansican afterall (and tsholofelo ga e tlhabise ditlhong – one day is one day), but this dream has since shifted waaaaaaay below the list and that idea does not give me sleepless nights at all. All of this to say, I agree – do you boo. Others run, others swim, others cycle and I step! There is liberty to be found in playing towards your strengths.

Advertisements
 

5 places to have the best SESWAA in Gaborone November 21, 2018

Seswaa.jpeg

Goat seswaa from Botswana Craft

 

On my first Sunday in Gaborone I was stuck in a hotel room and missed home, more specifically my mom’s Sunday lunch. I called room service to ask about their lunch specials and got to hear about this dish, ‘seswaa’ for the first time. On enquiry, the lady on the other side of the line described it as beef that had been pounded, a Botswana delicacy, something I just had to have. “You mean like a schnitzel?” I asked, “Exactly!” Well, when it came, it resembled more of shredded beef, as per the photo. Well, it turns out seswaa is actually overcooked meat which is usually cooked for funerals in South Africa called ‘tshotlho.’ This is my number 1 favorutie thing to eat in Botswana. I have sampled quite a bit of this dish and have found that these places serve the best.

 

1.  Cresta Hotel Mahalapye

Ok ok ok, Relax!. I know Cresta Hotel Mahalapye is about 200km from Gaborone, but man, I had to place it as my number 1 because their lamb seswaa is the best I have had in Botswana – hands down! When driving north, do yourself a favour and stop by this hotel for this treat, and it will be a treat – that much I can guarantee.

 

2.  Botswana Craft

This is my favourite eat out spot in Gaborone and their seswaa is the business. I especially love their goat seswaa but hear it from me, everything at this eatery is good. Their fried goat and oxtail – delish!

 

3.  Pavillion Restaurant, Fairgrounds

A group of guys and I visit this place for lunch every Friday.  This restaurant serves a traditional menu on Fridays (12:00 – 14:00) and it can be quite packed so go early. They also offer goat and mogatla (oxtail), and setswana chicken (free range chicken) which are always very well made.

 

4.  Grand Palm Hotel

The buffet restaurant at this hotel sells seswaa as part of their buffet and it is yumness. It’s a pity you can’t order the seswaa à la carte.

 

5.  Main deck

Such a cool hangout spot in Gabs right in the middle of Main Mall, more a square than a mall actually but definitely one to check out.

If you know of other places I should try out, please do send them my way so I can check them out.  Pula!

 

Forget Trump, proudly African January 16, 2018

African languages

 

I have been in Botswana for 6 months and I am loving it. I am fascinated by the way Batswana live and think but mostly, what captures my attention on a daily basis is of course the language. The pride Batswana have in their language and heritage is something to behold. Although I am a moTsonga, I am fluent in Setswana and consider it to be my first language because of the upbringing I had in the Bophuthatswana, but I am often gobsmacked at how much there is to learn still. My Setswana vocabulary is expanding and often in non-formal interactions. Language is exciting you guys – I am falling in love with Setswana all over again. Of course being in Botswana and working for the organization I work for also introduced me to French which I am thoroughly enjoying and studying through the University of Botswana. It is amazing how a few months ago I knew no word of French and now I can carry out basic French conversations with so much ease. Don’t worry – I will be learning a new African language soon – probably Swahili. I am fascinated by how the mind works in terms of language learning specifically – heaven. So here are some of the few experiences (I have had a lot more) that rendered me (in a good way) speechless, yes I know, me – speechless.

  • Water Utilities call-centre: During the Christmas break I woke up with no water on one of the days and after the landlord had checked and figured that the problem was not in the complex, I called the call-centre. Being the festive season I was concerned that I would not be assisted, but in a matter of a few hours, the issue was resolved on a day before New Years’ eve at 23:00. Anyway, I digress; the post is about language and not service delivery which was great by the way. For the first time in my adult life I conducted a call-centre conversation not in English. I was surprised at myself. I had actually chosen the English option when prompted by the pre-recording but as soon as the lady answered the phone, I switched to Setswana. I thought she was going to tell me it was the English-line but no. She simply continued and we held the rest of the conversation in Setswana. I think from now on whenever prompted I am going to choose this option.  We don’t speak our languages enough y’all.

 

  • ATM: Ever chosen to use the ATM in another language other than English? I must say the first time I did it I was so panicked. But I reminded myself that there was a red button to cancel if I was in too deep so I could stop at anytime. Needless to say I was worried over nothing – now I easily choose the Setswana option. Aren’t you proud of me? 🙂

 

  • Optometrist: I am not sure how I am going to fully describe this experience. I visited the optometrist to get a new prescription of contacts. The Optometrist was Indian and he spoke to me in Setswana. Someone said to me he probably memorized basic Setswana phrases because he asks the same questions everyday. Other than I didn’t think that was the case, I don’t actually care whether he is speaking from knowledge or cram-work but when a non-native speaker speaks to you in “your” own language – that is commendable. I found out after the fact that the man is actually from Krugersdorp in Johannesburg. He never learnt any African language when he was in South Africa but when he relocated to Botswana, it was paramount to learn Setswana. How do I describe this phenomena?

 

  • Airport: At the airport the other day I couldn’t help but observe an interesting interaction. The Airport Service Agent who happened to be black was assisting a white couple. The first thing was the greeting which was initiated by the way, by the couple, the woman to be more specific as she was doing most of the talking. “Dumela Rra (Hello sir),” she said which was duly responded to “Dumela Mma (Hello mam).” The rest of the conversation was amazing to me because the agent continued to speak in Setswana and the traveller spoke in English. Just a flowing conversation with no “I don’t understand your language,” or any such utterances. It sounds awkward to hear a non-black saying I am a Motswana and hear them saying it with pride. That was a tender moment for me. I immediately thought of South Africa – oh my beloved country. How I would love to see non-blacks actually speaking or showing an interest in learning at least one African language. I think it would help us in one way to make strides in achieving the rainbow nation we often speak about.  Language – the great unifier or divider.

 

Why in the world did we ever believe that our languages are not powerful? We must fight to keep our languages alive – seriously. Walking or driving around Botswana is another sobering experience. Billboards are actually in both English and Setswana but most are actually only in Setswana – the whole copy. When I visited Germany with my aunt (Mary Kekana) in 2015, I was frustrated at times that everything was only written in German, but I get it now. Let us restore pride to our nations. I now get why our languages are an integral part of who we are and how almost replacing that with another has done a major major disservice to our psyche as Africans, but maybe more close to home – South Africans.

 

Botswana update September 30, 2017

160 steps. Those are the steps I take from my office to and from the central printer on my floor at work. I am 1.75m tall so my steps are…let’s say, not close together. Given my work, I go to the machine no less than 6 times a day on a not so busy day, 10+ on hectic days. This number excludes all the other steps I make to other offices and my resolve to use the stairs and not the lift, sho! Since the kitchen and bathroom are also in the same area, I’ve now had to be smart about it. So I’ll go make copies / scan documents while I wait for coffee to brew in my plunger and then go to the bathroom while at it. Cost savings to the organization and extra exercise for me 😊. In my previous work I would print and the documents would miraculously find themselves on my desk 😊. So now that I don’t have people performing miracles in my office, I have had to adjust to the current work environment and still thrive and perform because you know, I intend representing my beautiful rainbow nation, the beloved South Africa well. I refuse to be associated with mediocrity so I’m killin’ it

Life is just the same, we wake up each day to face literally the unknown. We are always one situation away from happiness or sadness. We are constantly faced with decisions on a daily, hourly basis and have the awesome burden of choosing to sulk or suck it up. I now get why some employers are moving toward hiring people with a higher EQ than a higher IQ because life will throw curve balls at you everyday, how you deal with it will decide the winners and losers.
I am in Botswana for 4 months now and glad to report that my need to use the GPS is decreasing by the day. The heat is unbelievable and it’s not even summer yet. Here’s a short summary of the past couple of months.

Traumatic loss

In July I lost a new friend with whom I had been appointed. Eugene Nyatanga from Harare, Zimbabwe. We met when we had come to attend interviews this year in March and kept in touch with the rest of the candidates so when he and I were hired, we were excited to at least have one person in a foreign country who would understand the challenges of being away from home. Our office were next door to each other so did everything together. Shared lunch, we drove often to work together, and helped each other acquire accommodation and find our way around Gaborone. A month and a half into our move to Botswana, Eugene passed away. The trauma is still very real and thinking about it still brings a lot of pain and sorrowful memories. The circumstances around his death were also quite heartbreaking as we remain with many unanswered questions. Attending his funeral in Harare and meeting his broken family, was for me very difficult to bear. It’s been 2 months since Eugene’s passing and I still think of him. Rest easy my friend.

Solo adventures

So I’ve always been a home body and quite a loner. I go to movies and restaurants alone and see no issue with that at all. Botswana hosted the Netball Tournament in July and when I heard that South Africa was playing, I took my flag and headed to the University of Botswana’s Indoor Sports Ground. What a great game and experience this was. I sat with fellow South Africans and although we lost to Jamaica, the spirit of the rainbow nation was alive! I love South Africa.

 

On Friday, 29 September 2017, I attended Botswana’s Independence even celebration at the Botswana National Stadium alone. There was singing, dancing, music and oh the spectacular fireworks. I apologize for not bringing a camera. Told you this photography thing is growing in me. Long story short- I had the time of my life. I even wore their national colours to show my patriotism. Happy Birthday Botswana. Congratulations on your 50+1 years of independence. Such a beautiful nation which has embraced me, much love.

I visited Sanitas Tea Garden one Sunday and atmosphere was amazing; birds chipping, little monkeys playing around and a fabulous play area for kids. The menu was just ok, but I sat there with this great book, took in the ambiance and enjoyed my Sunday meal. I will do a proper review of this eatery soon.


Girls, I tell you, it’s ok to live and enjoy your singleness. Do not wait to be a part of, in order to enjoy life. Live your life to the full, I’m telling you it’s rewarding. Anyway, if you don’t enjoy your own company, who will? If you don’t learn to keep yourself entertained, you’ll end up unfairly abdicating that responsibility to someone else with disastrous consequences. Let’s have fun, experiences, explore, travel, make friends, go crazy for the kingdom, serve others, make memories and enjoy each season we find ourselves in.

Church family

The search continues. 😊
Till next time, PULA!

 

My first month in Gaborone, Botswana July 15, 2017

img_9558.jpg

2G of data is P399. No, please read that again and let it sink in. P399 is R502 South African Rands. Sure, I know one of the cardinal sins of travelling is converting all the time as this type of converting does not really reflect the correct picture of the value of the item. Being that as it may, P399 for mobile data is still a lot even in Pula standards. No, data must really fall. Anyway, needless to say, I have had to acquire home internet for P699 uncapped. I definitely feel the pinch. On the brighter and more necessary side of things though, petrol is affordable over here. A full tank cost me about R700 in South Africa and here only P350 or less, almost half of the value. Now that’s some data consolation.

Moving right along, my first month in Botswana has been quite busy. Work is full on speed; I have already been on a couple of work trips and my inbox is never empty. Transiting through OR Tambo makes me feel like so near yet so far. Working in an environment with people from all over the African continent is so exciting. At the end of my tenure here I should be fluent in Shona, Kalanga, French and Portuguese, so help me God :). Of course my mom would love for me to actually have a full-on conversation in Setswana which I am embarrassed to say I can’t at present, but yeah, pretty high language goals! I will let you know how that goes – so exciting… So the differences in the Setswana spoken here and in South Africa? Now that’s a whole new blog.

So, in one month, I have secured accommodation – tick, I have a Botswana mobile number – tick, I have found a shop that makes lovely smoothies – tick (although they open at 9am! Who opens shop at 9am?), I have a Botswana bank account – tick, and most importantly, everything around the city is generally under 20 minutes’ drive. My nickname over here is not Tumi but Boi. It was pretty strange in the beginning but I am  so used to it by now so much so that when a person calls me Tumi then I know they must be South African.

My first Sunday here was so far my loneliest. I just wanted my mom’s food. Trying to find a place that sells homemade food hasn’t been easy. Most restaurants are closed on a Sunday. A lot of places like car dealerships, some banks and some estate agents do not work on weekends. WHAT?? This is honestly quite a culture shift. So everyone needs to find time during their busy week schedule to visit these offices as most aren’t open on a Saturday. Botswana is really alive with business opportunities. Batswana embrace resting. Perhaps a little too much resting but resting they do.

I have taken up running again. Lord help me be consistent this time around. My aim is to run at least 2 – 3 times per week. I have made contact with the lovely Shatiso who writes the blog (https://thegaboronerunner.com/) and passionate about running. Lord knows I need accountability here so I thank heavens for you girl. Here’s to more slashing of kilometres or miles.

Meeting the South African High Commissioner to Botswana, Commissioner Mdu Lembede and his Deputy, Minister Bulelwa Kiva was such a humbling experience and a highlight to my first week in Botswana. Such brilliant minds and so humble. Not that I have felt my safety threatened, but as I drove out of the High Commission, I couldn’t help but tear up. I felt like I was leaving home and going to face a tough world. Now I know where to go when I want to feel like home. Thanks to a colleague and fellow South African Maemo Machete who introduced me to the High Commission Staff and has been such a great brother and friend since my arrival.

Since I have been here I haven’t met a lot of South Africans so you should have seen my crazy excitement when I met Thato Molamu at a restaurant. Gosh! It was so refreshing to see someone from back home. You do not realize just how much you miss home until you see someone from home I tell you. Thato – Thanks for making my week :).

I am still searching for a church family. Finding a home to live in is so much easier than finding a church community. I really miss 3Ci. But God is really amazing here. I am excited about this new season of my life and trusting that God will plant me where I need to be. I know He seldom plants me where I want to be or where I am comfortable, but those places become great grounds of growth and service. So in this area, I relinquish all rights and wait for Him to lead. He’s proved to know best. If any of the readers know of a church to recommend in Gaborone, please feel free to share.

Apparently all those who visit Botswana fall in love with it. Since I am now sort of settled in, I have decided to do some touristy things at least once a month when I am not travelling for work. I also promise to take pictures which is not really my thing but hey, I will lose my inhibitions and give you a taste of Botswana.

img_9562.jpg