Sunday, August 31, 2008

Musings on an Almost Summer Sunday

I can feel the heat of a Botswana summer in the air and I am loving it. The pool is about to be filled and my lazy Sundays of reading, swimming, sun and that other s- word I should probably not mention here as it will embarrass my husband, are just around the corner. I love the scorchers. I know the whole cancer sun thing, but I just can't accept that sun is bad for me. It just seems against the natural order of things. How can manufactured vitamins be good for me and natural sun bad? Conspiracy theory? You be the judge.

I'm compiling a collection of short stories for a South African publisher and all of my work got wiped away in the recent computer disaster so I am frantically reading trying to get caught up. There are some stunning pieces of writing in the submissions, words that knock you flat. When I was out on my daily walk with the dogs this morning, I was thinking about these short stories, actually I was thinking about short stories in general, and why I find them so satisfying. They are not , as some think , practice for writing novels, or quick short books. They are a different type of writing altogether. They have a beautiful urgency within a confined space that makes them fire-hot sharp. They pierce you deep and leave a lingering wound days after; at least the good ones do. A well written short story is such a gem. It is sad they are not given the status they deserve.

So I have patched the pool, washed my walking shoes, washed two thoroughly reluctant dogs that promptly rolled in the dirt, did the dishes, changed the bed sheets, and written this. After two weeks of raging at computers and late payments for writing- I am feeling the itching of creativity coming back to me. A short story is scratching at my brain; it must be time to get to work.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Measuring Morality

A new circular has been issued from government to heads of departments.. It is a list of what is no longer acceptable dress for the civil servants of the country. It's quite a long list that includes things such as flat sandals, jeans, t-shirts of any kind including golf t-shirts, revealing clothes, tight fitting clothes, and mini skirts that are shorter than 20 centimetres above the knee.

I've considered this. 20 centimetres is quite a distance on my body, my legs are not that long and 20 centimetres puts me into just about a soft porn zone, besides revealing more skin than this 44 year old body should rightly show, but this may not be the case for others. One wonders how the government decided on that figure. Did they bring in a variety of women and measure with a ruler and then take an average? Interesting to have witnessed that.

It also leads you to wonder what about the other parameters? It really does put heads of departments in difficult situations. What is a revealing top? The government might have helped by coming up with a quantitative measurement for that too. Perhaps percent of breasts shown. 20% you're okay, 30% you're teetering on reckless and 40% you are comfortably in "go home and change clothes". And what about tight fitting? My suggestion-you could do a "pull out" test. How much spare material is there to pull out? 10 cm? Fine; 2 cm? Time to get some new clothes.

I'd be curious to know who came up with the list and why. In Botswana, we have widespread poverty, unemployment at over 30%, a double digit inflation, and the much quoted highest HIV infection rate in the world and yet there are a group of civil servants who have likely been meeting for months, discussing and debating, to come up with this list. Is it me or does that seem ridiculous?

Already our new president is putting a 70% tax on alcohol so we can't get drunk anymore unless we want to forego paying the rent, but now he wants us all to dress like 40 year old asexual matrons. What next, a list of the acceptable days for sexual intercourse? Patriotic ways to have fun which include such wild and crazy things such as raking the yard? We already have the "morality" committee moving around the country trying to come up with a policy to guide us through this quagmire of moral decisions we find ourselves facing because we are, of course, all the children of Mr. Khama, not adults with functioning brains of our own. How can we be expected to know what to do with ourselves, we don't even know how to dress? So far the committee has come up with the bright idea to get rid of Childline- a child knowing his or her rights is apparently a big problem for parents who want to beat them to within an inch of their lives, and Ditshwanelo, our human rights organisation. Hmmm… one wonders how everyone being cognisant of their legal rights as citizens of Botswana impacts on our morality. But then I also don't seem to understand how ridding the civil service of revealing blouses, flat sandals, and mini skirts is going improve the country either.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two in Two Weeks

After months of deafening silence, I got two acceptances in two weeks and what a wonderful medicine that has been. My computer died last week and the computer man rubbed everything off the hard disk as if doing so did not stop my heart. Since then I've had a terrible pain in my stomach. I'm prone to such psychosomatic illnesses which I have long accepted as the long end of the stick in my genetically predisposed-to-legal craziness family. But now I am magically well. Two acceptances, and suddenly the fact that all of my work for the past two months has disappeared seems not important.

One of the acceptances is so precious as it is for a story that I knew in my heart was good. It was one of those times when you sit down to the computer and begin to write and two hours later you have a story that is finished. Absolutely complete. You'll change only a comma, a single word, nothing else. It came out as it was meant to. Despite my heart of heart's knowledge that the story was good, it got rejected. Not once but three times. Compounding that, I gave it to a woman in my now dead writing group and it caused her to become very angry with me. She questioned the truth of the story, saying I was taking South African history and plopping it down in Zimbabwe. It deals with racism from a young white girl's perspective. At the time I just thought she maybe didn't know about Zimbabwe because, of course, apartheid was alive and well under Ian Smith and white 'Rhodesians', as many still insist on being called, are some of the most racist people I've ever had the unhappy experience of meeting. (To qualify that, I have also met some lovely white Zimbabweans) Even though the story was battered a bit, I still knew it was good and I stood by it.

I always tell writers that I meet that if you know a story is good and true, rejections are not important. It means that the editor of that magazine either didn't like it or couldn't find a place for it. Shrug it off and find another market. Eventually it will find a home. Now my advice has worked for me, and isn't that nice?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Botswana's Press Freedom Secure , for now

Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Ms Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has backed down with her controversial Media Practitioners Bill which would have seen Botswana's freedom of expression severely eroded. She told Parliament that she needed to go back to the media stakeholders to consult with them. Pressure from the media, other MP's , especially Botsalo Ntuane, and from civil society showed her that she was standing on shaky ground.

Kudos must go out to all patriotic Batswana who fought for our rights enshrined in the Constitution. Now it is up to those same people to ensure that the Minister hears our points this time around and takes the appropriate bill to Parliament.

1- democracy 0- state abuse

Now can we get to work on the MP's declaring their very secretive assets??

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Today’s Papers

I love newspapers. What I love most about reading newspapers is my running dialogue with them. I rant and rave and laugh and shout and write letters of protest I never send. I interact with them, and that’s fun. This morning was an exceptional newspaper day. I am behind in my reading thanks to my trip to Gaborone, and the recovery from said trip so I am still reading Friday papers, and oh what papers they were. Let’s start with the happy, jump up and down news.

Friday’s Mail and Guardian has quite a big article about Fourth Child by Megan Hall, a book of poetry that was the first title published by Modjaji Books. The book has won this year’s Ingrid Jonker Prize for English poetry. Yahoo!! All you naysayers out there who have bad mouthed Modjaji’s policy of publishing only women will have to eat your words. A little bird told me that such talk was flying at this year’s Caine workshop. Colleen Higgs is using her vast experience in publishing for good. She is capitalising on all of the advantages of a small publishing house in such an exceptional way; giving voice to those the big houses wouldn’t touch. Taking big risks, and reaping big rewards. Let her success continue.

There was also a nice article by Allan Kolski Horwitz from Botsotso in which he discusses some of the recent issues that have been at the front of my mind; most especially this vile tendency to force writers to be entertainers and TV personalities. He says, “Added to this is the phenomenon of the ‘celebritisation’ of writing, in that writers are now forced to become media personalities to draw attention to their work; those who do not wish to position themselves as a ‘brand’ risk public indifference and marginal critical attention.” He goes on to say “There is also more space given to vacuous interviews with writers than to engagement with the work itself.” Mail and Guardian should pay attention to those words with its formula interview that writers are given with such questions as “Describe yourself in one sentence.” Why? What does it matter? Kudos for Mr. Horwitz for speaking the truth- now is anyone listening?

In the same M & G is a slashing review of Unbridled by Jude Dibia reviewed by Percy Zvomuya. Of course I disagree with most of it. I liked Unbridled and I tend to question comments such as “hackneyed tale”. He goes on at length questioning if Dibia is able to write from a female perspective. He picks out a place in the book where Ngozi’s brother tells her not to question their father’s behaviour and Ngozi realises that men are not going to be her allies. Zvomuya says Dibia approaches Ngozi’s thoughts on this matter lightly and that a woman would not do that. He says that such ‘sparse prose’ would not have been used by a female writer to explain this emotional transition. I’m thinking Percy is a man too. Sometimes women choose to float along the surface of pains that entered too deep might pull one down forever. I find Dibia’s choice there not ‘male’ but rather human. Anyway, in the end, a review is one person’s opinion. Mine and Mr. Zvomuya. I’m surprised he didn’t mention Jacana’s poor editing of the book. I skipped it in my review as I’d already hammered them with Bitches’ Brew, I’d hoped someone else might give them a shot. Guess it didn’t trouble him. Hmmm?

As for opinions, Friday’s Mmegi had a review of The Pursuit of Xhai that I found, frankly, odd. It’s surprising for two reasons. Firstly, it was written by Sheridan Griswold, who almost never bashes a book, even one that thoroughly needs a bashing. Secondly, the author, Gasebalwe Seretse, is a writer for the same paper and I thought perhaps if Griswold didn’t like the book, as a professional courtesy, he might have not reviewed it at all. For me, the review smells of bitterness stemming from where I’m not sure.

Griswold contends that the events in the book which is set in 1965 seem to come from 1885. Why 1885 I don’t know, but his reasoning is that such vicious racism against the Basarwa would not have been allowed in 1965. He speaks from a position of ignorance. Such things are going on even as I write this (the reported torturing of alleged poachers by wildlife officials as one example) and in 1965 it was worse. He mentions that Seretse flawed in his research by not stipulating from which Basarwa tribe Xhai and his family came from. In actual fact he seems to have missed the point entirely. It is irrelevant to a Mongwato of the type described in the book what tribe a Mosarwa comes from. A Mosarwa is a Mosarwa. Griswold mentions how saying Bantu instead of Bangwato is wrong, but he doesn’t seem to get that that is actually the point.

I find it especially annoying when Griswold says, “It is usually difficult for an author to write about another group that he or she does not belong. Bessie Head in ‘Maru’ succeeded, perhaps because she too was an outsider.” Firstly, Seretse is not writing as an outsider; he is a Mongwato. As a writer who writes from many identities myself, I take absolute exception with Griswold’s line of thought. If all writers followed Griswold’s advice how would we have Harry Potter, for example. As far as I know J.K. Rowlings has never been a wizard. Fiction allows us to take on everyone’s skin, that is the beauty of it. Why Head’s outsider-ness would make her more positioned to write about Basarwa I really don’t understand. She was outside of her community for entirely different reasons that had no historical legacy to it. If anything, her mixed race parentage gave her an upper hand in a society where white is better thanks to residual colonialism.

Overall, a very satisfying newspaper morning. Now to work.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Gig @ GICC

The International Festival for the Power in the Voice sponsored by the British Council took place from the 14-16th of August. On Saturday night, the grand finale (or the Gig as we were told the participants referred to it as) was held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre. Teams from Botswana, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe participated in the fair (Thursday to Saturday afternoon) and all performed at the grand finale on Saturday except for Zimbabwe. I’ve heard only through a fairly convoluted grape vine that Power in the Voice was banned by Mugabe and friends around the time of the elections, so this could have been the reason why they did not perform at the grand finale.

Power in the Voice involves singing, story telling, rapping, and performance poetry. Young people, guided by established performance poets and rappers who act as mentors, competed in their own countries and the winning teams came to Botswana.

The grand finale was wonderful. The best teams were Zambia and South Africa, in my opinion, but it has to be taken into consideration that the Mozambique team performed in Portuguese so I am not a fair judge there. The Zambian team’s performance was about the right to education, while the South African team did an interesting piece about a misguided announcement regarding the end of the world.

Other performers on the night included Botswana’s own queen of poetry and one of the mentors for the Botswana team, TJ Dema, who had the whole hall roaring even before she spoke a word. Her piece “Street Vendor” was performed in her understated way that pulls you in and then clobbers you over the head with the most powerful words like:

She prays tonight it comes with no fist because on her street the women still gather and meet to count calories to feed their young ones’ empty bellies with sun baked promises fulfilled on backseats and hidden alleys.
Not for fame or fortune, she has never met either, not for glory neither. She simply sells what she has and
when there is nothing left she sells who and what she is.

Outspoken from Zimbabwe was excellent too. But for me Lemn Sissay’s performance of his poem “Invisible Kisses” was absolutely exquisite. It is the most beautiful love poem I have ever heard, and the way he performs it brought tears to my eyes. With lines like:
If there was ever one
To whom when you run
Will push back the clouds
So you are bathed in sun;

How can you not fall in love with words like that? (Read the full poem at his website here) I realise I’m likely coming to the Lemn Sissay party very late, but I am here to stay. I might even have to add him to my list of stalking targets. I absolutely loved him.

As for the Power in the Voice Fair that preceded the main event, my father taught me that if you have nothing good to say keep quiet, and, though I don’t always abide by those words usually to my detriment, in this case, silence is the route I will follow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Death of the Short Story has been Highly Exaggerated

A couple days ago I was reading Vanessa Gebbie’s blog. She’s a well established short story writer in the UK. She was blogging about a two page spread in London’s Sunday Times talking about the death of the short story. The’experts’ have said that the short story is on the demise and will soon be little more than grazing fodder for academics. And, to add insult to injury, literary agent Lucy Luck claims, “It is no longer possible for a writer to earn a living by publishing short stories to fund their writing.” I can’t get the whole thing out of my head because, frankly, it has pissed me off.

In a world where attention spans have dwindled to minutes, and immediate gratification is one of the basic human rights, are you trying to tell me that short stories are not at the verge of catching the biggest wave in history? The problem stems from experts who dwell on the status quo and lack imagination. They blather on about the death of the short story so publishers, almost always cowards, look at short story collections as nothing more than a bother. They haven’t a clue how to market them and since the experts have told them there is no market, they are caught up in their own self fulfilling prophecy. There is no market- the publishers won’t publish them- readers have nothing to buy- so there is no market. Voila- the experts were right! Wrong.

I just don’t buy it. There is a huge untapped market out there. There are few people who want to take two or three months of their lives to read A Suitable Boy, but there are plenty who can take some minutes out of their lives to read 'The Headstrong Historian' ( a fantastic short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the New Yorker). Look at the wonderful re-birth of the poem with performance poetry. Poets took the matter into their own hands. Maybe it is time short story writers do the same.

I do think everyone must take another look at what a good short story is, though. Long convoluted looks at our navels are not gonna swing it. Also, schematic genre is also not the way to go. We need a mix. We need excitement, movement, thought prodders. Brief, sharp glimpses that stab deep into the human experience leaving the reader caught in that moment even days after reading.

Legends abound of literary experts who were so off base they appear ridiculous in retrospect. The same will undoubtedly happen here. My son has a t-shirt that says “Chuck Norris doesn’t sleep, he waits”. I say the short story, much like Old Chuckers, is not sleeping (nor dead) - it’s waiting. And when it starts its movement watch out! Mark my words.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Will We Wait for the Children?

Here's my effort for this week's prompt. I'm not a poet, so this can't be a poem, but it's not a short story either. It's writing, my thoughts since I saw the prompt.

Will We Wait for the Children?

A cerulean butterfly edged in gold lifts off for the last time
from high in the canopy of a Brazilian rain forest.
The tree falls and extinct becomes forever
linked with this exceptional insect.
Cars roar down the freeway, filled one by one with a person for each, while the ice drips, drips, drips, into the ocean far away.
She wrinkles her brow and wonders how will they ever manage?
He tugs her skirt, looking up through ageless eyes,
and says, “Wait for me.”

It’s not right he knows
but the power he carries is easily swung like a club
to get what he wants.
She’s beautiful and option-less and he takes what he can,
Morality not even given a walk-on part
Because the stage is crowded with disrespect and anger.
She walks down the dark alleyway, glancing over her shoulder
hoping luck is on her side.
But it’s not.
She swings her short legs as she sits on the tall chair
staring at him across the table,
his face ravaged with heavy thoughts his mind can barely carry.
She smiles at him. “Wait for me.”

She carries her religion like a beloved coat on a too hot day,
it can’t be removed though sometimes it would
make things more comfortable.
They hate her for it.
They’ll kill her if they get a chance.
A death to prove theirs is right and hers is wrong.
Spirit killing actions in defence of philosophies
meant to raise them higher.
He rubs his hand across the gold lettering
on the red leather front of the holy book
and whispers to it, “Wait for me.”

He shoots mindlessly in all directions
since his thoughts are encased in ice cold fear,
Thoughts no longer working right.
He’s seen things they shouldn’t have let him.
One group after another sent to fight on battlefields
for causes only the rich truly understand.
Fresh faced and optimistic,
they end bloodied and bruised, inside and out; unfixable.
She sucks in her young breath, and blocks her ears.
But she holds a secret in her heart that tells her all will be okay,
if only they can wait for her.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guantanamo Justice

A juror from the military commission that listened to the case of Osama bin Laden’s driver, Salim Hamden, told the Wall Street Journal that Hamden appeared mild mannered and not like someone who hated other people. Before and after his sentencing, Hamden apologised for any harm his actions might have caused, and afterwards thanked both the judge and the jury for the 66 month sentence he received for a charge of providing material support to terrorists. He drove a car that had radios and guns inside. Since Hamden has already been at Guantanamo for 60 months, he should be released in January, the same month the United States will finally be released from George W Bush. But the same juror seemed surprised to hear that the 66 month sentence may prove irrelevant since the Bush administration can, if it so deems, keep Hamden in prison forever if they think he fits the description of an “unlawful enemy combatant”.

The worldwide silence on the issue of Guantanamo Bay is deafening. People are being held there without trial or charge. Numerous respected bodies have proof of torture being carried out as a matter of course- but silence allows its continuation. And now Bush and Company will flagrantly ignore their own justice system and keep a man in prison even after he has served his time- just because the rules that they made up say they can.

For how long will the Americans be allowed to use 9/11 as just cause to violate people’s human rights? For how long will the world keep silent while they do this? One wonders – who will stand up for Salim Hamden who in the end has done nothing more than try to provide for his family by taking a job as a driver? There is a line in a Holly Near song that says “It could have been me but instead it was you” which seems so apt here. Any of us could be standing in Salim Hamden’s shoes, perhaps that is what is so chilling about the Americans’ response to his sentence.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Yeah Beijing!

Every morning I drink my tea from a tea cup written “Beijing 2008- Candidate City”. This cup, like all of our dishes, came to us through school prizegivings. In Botswana, where books are prohibitively expensive, teachers find themselves in a quandary when it comes time for school prizegivings. What to give the top performing students? Books would be best, but no school can afford that. So in most schools, to be practical, they give out household utensils. Since our two giant teenagers have excelled at school since they started, we don’t buy dishes in this house. Instead we have an eclectic collection of plates, glasses and tea sets, all courtesy of one school or another. This is how my tea cup came into our home. But this morning my tea cup had much more significance.

What a fantastic, wonderful, inspiring show the Chinese put on yesterday. I still cannot get over it. Somehow though it makes me sad. It makes me sad that these people have been working so hard, for so long to put on an Olympics that would be unforgettable and yet at every step of the way all they got was criticism. Okay fine, they have their problems, but my take on it is which country doesn’t? Why does the world feel so compelled to hold China up as a pariah when in actual fact they have made extraordinary strides in almost all areas?

In Africa, China is stepping in, mostly to quench their thirst for natural resources. They are setting up joint ventures where governments are sensible enough to keep control of their assets. They are engaging the continent at all corners. And yet everybody is looking on with judging eyes. They are not perfect, the Zimbabwe arms shipment is a case in point, but, I at least think, they are a far sight better than the original colonisers. They are trying to trade with Africa, if anything the problem is in the governance void in so many African countries. If you only have Mugabe to deal with, you deal with Mugabe on Mugabe’s terms. It puts China between a rock and hard place.

I thought the opening ceremony yesterday was absolutely extraordinary. I think these Olympics are going to be fantastic. I’m so happy for China and the Chinese people. And I feel very different now drinking my tea in the morning.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Funny Rich Man

No matter the business, he used Old English font, fire engine red, white background preferred. There was no need for discussion because everyone knew. You want a sign done, you called Rre Kopang. He’d pull up on his black Humber, paint, thinner, and brushes at the back in an orange milk crate strapped on with two yellow and green bungee cords, trailed by his thin as a rake dog, Tau. The only question-“What size?” You could choose big or small. Discussions over, he got straight to work.

This was how the village of Lephaleng came to look the way it did. A to Z Electronics, Rest in Peace Funeral Home, Stop By Bar, Go Siame Supermarket, the list went on. All had signs out front of the business establishments in Lephaleng had white backgrounds with the intricate, hand drawn, Old English font giving no indication of what was to be found inside the doors of the establishment. When asked about his predilection, Rre Kopang would say, “It’s the writing wa ga Mmamosadinyana.” Mmamosadinyana-the Queen. Rre Kopang was a fan of Mmamosadinyana, a staunch supporter ever since he wore the uniform for her in WWII. For him, every sign was a tribute to Her Majesty.

Beyond his love of the English, little was known about the tall, thin, ageless, white haired sign painter. His only companion, Tau, was close lipped on how they occupied their time when not painting signs. People in the village would shake their heads and mumble, “He’s funny, very funny.”

That funny took on a whole new meaning when Rre Kopang passed away. Mr. Mohammed, the owner of Star Bed and Breakfast, in urgent need of a new sign, waited the whole morning and half of the afternoon before sending Boy, his assistant manager, out in the Hilux to see what was keeping the old man. Boy found Tau in a state, pacing up and down in the tiny compound. He opened the unlocked door to the one roomed house and, though he was for a moment distracted by the many pictures of Mmamosadinyana that filled the unpainted cement walls, Boy soon realised that Rre Kopang, though appearing peacefully asleep on the bed, was decidedly dead.

Since no one knew of any relatives, the neighbour women streamed in to take control of the situation and that was when the trunk was found. A large, beautifully carved, sandalwood trunk packed full of P100 bills, a million Pula solid and clean. A note on top said, “For the care of Tau”. Though the village was not keen on spending a million Pula on a dog, the kgosi insisted that Rre Kopang’s wishes be abided by. And so, the dog to the funny, rich man who loved the Queen, ended its days living like royalty.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Never Let Me Go

I finished Never Let Me Go by Kazuro Ishiguro over the weekend. Fantastic. Wonderful. Now I’m going to use my Amazon money to buy all of his books. If you haven’t read it, go straight to your bookstore, do not pass go, do not collect R200. I mean it. I don’t even own this book, it is burrowed, and I’m going to buy it because I know I’ll have to read it again.

You know what I love most about this book is the way the writer is lost. You don’t even feel the writer. It’s just Kathy telling her story of growing up, of attending Hailsham, of being friends with Ruth and Tommy. Their lives. The fact that they are clones grown only to provide organs for humans is just what it is. Their lives are what is important. Their everyday lives within the context they find themselves. Such a horrifying, heartbreaking, story told so simply.

I was grappling some months ago with the concept of voice. Must a writer have one voice? I can see how silly that was. I think we must be voiceless. Or is it multi-voiced? I have all these ways of writing, depending on the story, depending on my mood, sometimes even depending on what I’m writing for- I had thought, perhaps, somehow I wasn’t being true. That I was still searching for my voice. But now I think maybe I’ll never find it. Maybe it’s not there at all. Maybe it’s not supposed to be.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Is this woman lying to Parliament?

According to Friday’s edition of Mmegi, Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mrs Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi, told Parliament that MISA’s statement of 19th July reiterated that the process culminating in the Media Practitioners Bill was consultative and that they (meaning the government and the media) agreed on most everything in the Bill. If that is true then one of two things is going on either 1) The Minister believes that her comrades in Parliament don’t read newspapers and have been living in a bubble for the last month or 2) She didn’t read the statement issued by MISA on the 19th of July.

I have the statement right on the desktop of my computer. It does say that there was a consultative process and that numerous things were agreed upon, but then it goes on to point out that almost everything that was agreed upon by the two parties was thrown out the window and the government decided to make it up on their own.

The agreed upon areas included:
 To produce a more overarching media bill that covers all media;
 To produce an enabling bill consistent with international best practice and the treaties Botswana has signed and ratified;
 To give the (already existing) Press Council legal recognition;
 To promote self-regulation;
 To promote access to official information;
 To guarantee editorial independence;
 To address the Minister’s role; and
 To address right of reply

The only agreement on this list that government decided to abide by was the first one- to produce an overarching media bill that covers all media.
Thank God for Botsalo Ntuane who tabled a motion asking for an adjournment to allow the other side of the debate to be heard by Parliament before any voting took place. We can only hope that other BDP members will stand up and do what’s right for the country instead of follow a party line that will see the end of democracy and a free press in Botswana.