Wednesday, March 29, 2017


MOONLIGHT

When night is nigh I sigh so high
A sigh of no might to say a lie
That I can survive the length of night
Without visions of you coming alight

...Sleep of the Just....Thabile on granpa lap


Loving the maverick you may be naive
Risking wrath and wreck a brave craze
But behold! I hold nothing back
For without you light turns black

Let me leave me to love and laugh
Yet it’s a lie for the pain is no bluff
Rivers of feeling flow so freely, swiftly
Times of sight of you fleet quickly.....

Not a soul got told this mood is for the moon
This lovelorn sojourn is a plea to see you soon
When last you ascended I was in deep sleep
When last you descended clouds buried you deep

Come out now moon mark the savannah moonlit
Come gracious quirky queen so the sky can be love-bit
For my culture makes a cult out of your night reign
It’s when you are up that us farmers wish for rain….


By Andrew Sesinyi.




Thursday, March 16, 2017





COME BACK BOTSWANA


Come back Botswana, come back bouncing

Bodily you are you, soulfully I’m doubting

You’re forlorn, you look dull and dreary

A far cry from past, when you were fiery

Fiery not of fire, but fiery of passion

You had quiet glamour, sedate fashion


I look at you now, Botswana, and I sadden

I’m saddened by your look, it’s my burden

Your past gleam in the eye, is now my cataract

You are sad Botswana, with broken contract

Your drivers have lost manuals, you’re adrift

Your stern Botswana, broke, leaving a rift


Yet I know as I sit here, writing sadness I wrought

That soon and very soon, your joy will be brought

I envision your serene come back, your peace returns

Your broken stern repaired, you’ll survive all turns

For I need you back whole, with no holes or fissures

You’ll be back Botswana, and devoid of mood seizures….


By Andrew Sesinyi

March 16, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

SILENCING THE MEDIA WORSENS YOUR WORST PUBLIC IMAGE

It is the height of folly to imagine that just because an authority has silenced the media, the reputational image of that authority will retain a good rating, enhance such rating or protect the public image of that authority. It has never happened and it will never happen that denial of balanced and objective information, as well as suppression of expression of dissenting views can be of any benefit to personal or institutional reputation; not when we are dealing with human beings, anyway.
When you suppress media expressions and the capacity of media to transmit the street messages which form public opinion, you are building a potent grapevine of gossip and rumor mongering that transforms the authority into a virtual monster. The only way to be perceived as benign, positive, progressive, forward looking, dignified and an excellent person of authority, is to be visible and audible. When you are visible and audible, everyone can see and hear you, see and hear of your deeds, appreciate your true self without the need to resort to artificial or creations of whom you are by sources from the grapevine of rumor mongering and gossip.


The notion that an authority is asserted by making oneself the only beacon of information is a fallacy that has been proven so repeatedly in the history of human development. Authority is uplifted, enhanced and promoted by its tenacity to stand the tests of trial. An authority can only be proven right if audiences receive the other side of the story. It is only right, if you know what is wrong; that is the design framework of a human being. To challenge this fact of life is to brand one as an ignoramus who does not make references to proven concepts; certainly a proof that such a detractor from scientific concepts of communication does not recognize written or spoken literature of facts.
When society is quiet, when an authority does not hear complaints or dissenting utterances and submissions, when everyone sings songs of praises of the authority, when an authority is not challenged- that society’s apathy and pretence become the clicking time bomb for that authority. The fall of dictatorships, which are often accompanied by bloody feuds and fatal suppression of dissenting views have succeeded authoritarian rule that attempts to make society a homogeneous blob of sycophancy. A human being cannot survive enforced silence; they can pretend for a while, but ultimately, the causative source of the silence becomes victim to the spontaneity of the inherent rebellion in all humans who cannot keep quiet.

History is littered with the literature and records of abysmal failure by authorities to shut-up society; it is a shocking revelation of the folly of mankind, and the shockingly self-destructive commissions of some authorities, to keep repeating mistakes of the past. 

There is no dignity for anyone, including authorities, in communities where the passages and tunnels of opinion are blocked, where opinion is governed and managed, where dissension is blocked. The loss of dignity is what turns authorities into monsters- in reality, as they over-react to the indignities arising from loss of dignity, and in perception, as the vicious grapevine builds monstrous apparitions of the real and unreal about such authorities.

There is only one way a person can win and enhance own dignity, and that is by granting dignity to the other person, irrespective of their status in society or the democratic views that they may hold. Dignity is inherent in tolerance; dignity is gained through humility and no authority can convincingly claim humility when such authority endangers the free flows of channels of information. Blocking information channels is the same effects of cholesterol on the human body- it clogs the veins and arteries, causing a stroke or heart attack; and if we carry the analogy further, we know that clogged veins burst because the blood flow is blocked. That is the same as society.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

I REFUSE TO CALL DONALD TRUMP "RACIST"

Despite my Facebook post on how wrong I was about Donald Trump, in presuming that his campaign antics as a presidential candidate would be succeeded by an aptly mellowed, dignified and pragmatic profile of a president of the world’s most powerful nation, I am still convinced that Donald Trump is- as a person - a very nice man. I am also convinced that Donald Trump is not a true mold of what one would regard as a racist person. He is just a white person dealing with political issues that are predominantly race-related and he is taking the side a preponderant white American electorate that is imbued with the nationalism that is currently sweeping Europe and the rest of the world.


America is undergoing its own metamorphosis which may differ from the Arab Spring and the wave of the African national of the liberation struggle era, but it is not alone in this fundamental search for itself.

Personally, I think it is by sheer coincidence that the Trump era of a virtual far right nationalistic stance follows the administration of the country’s first black president; I think President Obama’s high ratings upon leaving the White House is indicative of the gratitude that Americans have towards the man who gave them back their country after the war mongering years of the Bush administration and a depressed economy. When Americans say they want their country back, it should not be inferred that they are referring to the Obama era; they in fact are joining the flood of nationalism that inevitably comes with the debris of xenophobia. It’s in Europe too.

As a matter of fact, Donald Trump has shown a begrudgingly increasing warmth, admiration and respect for Obama since succeeding the latter. He has spoken of a “liking” for Obama; and Donald Trump is not good with lies because it takes only a second for him to contradict himself when attempting to escape from his box of bluntness. It takes a great deal of sophistication to lie and sustain it and we all discern that Donald Trump does not possess much of that attribute. But he is real; he is himself. He depicts himself, and it is convincing, as a loving husband, a doting father and a protective patriarch.

Despite his uncanny African-American body language when he speaks, Donald Trump belongs to his race group and together with the voters behind him he sees most problems facing America today as being from clusters of people of race groups that are not white. That would probably synchronize with his adamantly firm hand of friendship towards Russia, hitherto the traditional American nemesis on the one hand, and his build-the-wall utterances against Mexico,  anti-Iran rhetoric and blanket banning of peoples of a given race and religion from entering America.

That in itself, in my books, is not racist; bigotry may be, but not my textbook definition of racism. To me, racism is when one purposelessly shames another and proceeds to deprive them of their fundamental rights on the basis of race; or when they use prejudice to debase integrity in order to satisfy a perverted sense of superiority over others. Donald Trump genuinely, albeit naively, believes all that he wants to do will solve America’s problems of terrorist attacks, unemployment and an increasingly fragile economy.

Donald Trump’s foreign policy may not appear to place much emphasis on relations with African countries but his campaign outbursts of an African continent that deserves re-colonisation because its people are worse off than during the colonial era, and his vitriol on African leaders who stash the wealth of their countries in America and other western countries, may trigger an unexpected foreign policy crack down on some African countries; in some respects, hopefully so.

That would not be necessarily motivated by racist intentions; Africa does not impress him and he has said that much. In fact, he has extended it to the plight of African Americans whom he urged during the campaign, to try “something new” because voting for the Democrats had allegedly not helped the African American cause. He has thus, clustered his black compatriots with their African brothers and sisters and labelled them “lazy and only good for sex”.

That was rough, wild and hurting, but when a people seem incapable of rising out of helplessness and despondency over long periods and in spite of interventions by others, some extreme critical utterances seem invited.

I do not think for instance that using episodic judgment over problems one faces and attributing the cause factor to a race group is racist in itself. If for instance there is credible statistics and other factual trends indicating that a given race group is at the bottom of the food chain despite having the resources to exploit fertile lands and opportunities, it would not be racist to refer to that group as “stupid and lazy”. If trends and facts show that a certain race group lags behind in innovative development approaches, is given to substandard infrastructure, has a systemic default rating in exploratory and scientific pursuits, is riddled with corrupt societal frameworks, has a predilection for a reckless lifestyle and continues to provide its communities with subhuman facilities-- it would not, in my view, be racist to label such a group as “stupid and lazy,” or even consider it inferior. The facts speak for the expressions, and the labelled people have the God-given powers to release themselves from such a cesspit of contempt by other races. Africa comes to is here.

Donald Trump might feel that enough time and resources have been spent on Africans who never seem to rise above the poverty lines and he should not be blamed or labelled as racist for referring to our real position in the food chain and other aspects of human development. If successive African leaders despise their own people, expose them to abject poverty, deny them their fundamental freedoms, trample on them, incarcerate them, haunt their freedom of expression instruments, plunder their natural resources and reserves etc, then they deserve the strong words Donald Trump has used during his campaigns; he may use them again. The words carry surreal poetic justice because Africans had a choice to be different, but unlike other race groups, opted to tolerate poor leadership and accept to remain in their demeaning status. Africans have declared themselves a derogatory race group. Other race groups continue to evolve in perceptions, philosophies and societal systems. The Africa of today is not far from that of the 1960's, close to their period of attainment of independence. For some, the last infrastructural development still working today, were built during the colonial era.

Why blame Donald Trump for seeing it and saying it as it is!
We do not disown Africa!
We are not ashamed of being Africans!
But we are certainly dissatisfied with the texture of the African, when it comes to the pursuit of basic psychological needs and the African’s ability to stand up and be counted; to define African leadership and choose standards of dignity and high stature. We have to start acting and reacting like humans if we are not to be classified as sub-human. Stand up and be counted.

Plunderers of national wealth are thieves, not heroes!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


video


Press freedom is not a favour, that is granted at the whim of a political leader. It is a fundamental freedom that is entrenched in our Bill of Rights, pertaining to freedom of expression.
The imperfections of the media are no greater or less than the imperfections of a government;
it is thus, an infringement of rights of others granted by the Constitution,  for  a government to persecute the press over its operational weaknesses, when the governing authority is not subjected to operational limitations because of its inadequacies in delivering on its mandate.

Part of the mandate of a government in a democracy is to empower media and create a conducive environment for freedom of expression. Facilitation of Freedom of expression is as much a responsibility of a government as are other essential service provided- andrew sesinyi

Friday, February 3, 2017

Tips on how to handle freedom of expression to your benefit when in authority…from Andrew Sesinyi

It is a lot easier, and more beneficial to grant press freedom than to restrict it; when people, feel free to express themselves, it exhausts your critics and fills your supporters with a great deal of pride.
When you suppress press freedom, not only do you give amplification to the volume of empty vessels, but you become also a source of embarrassment to your supporters.

People want to be able to give support to their chosen principals in an atmosphere of freedom so that they can have living verification of the correctness of their choice. Critics wane and wander aimlessly in an environment where their freedom of expression is not only guaranteed but facilitated.

Your most successful enemies will be those to whom your supporters cannot provide tangible evidence that they are wrong- that comes when you limit their freedom, or cause an environment in which your critics cannot be heard by your supporters. To strengthen your support base is to empower your supporters as your best spokespersons by placing your potent messages in juxtaposition with the criticism of your opponents.  Your propensity to hear and let others hear your critics gives weight to your facts. Facts on their own do not build a person. Perceptions do, and perceptions are a deeply emotive abstract phenomenon that is promoted largely by an atmosphere of freedom.

You are only on the right when your supporters wholly believe that you are fair, tolerant, confident and hence able to defend and uphold their integrity. Factions in your own front are created by the atmosphere you create to engage your critics. If your critics can speak themselves hoarse, your front will not be a haven for gossip among your supporters. It is in the nature of the human being to doubt oneself, to question one’s position and choice of allegiance. To fortify your defences, you must exist in a transparent atmosphere, where you and your supporters can prove that you harbour no malice.

Tinkering with media freedom when you are in a position of authority wears out the trust and confidence fibre of your supporters. There will always be a little voice in your supporter that wants to protect those that you may be seen to be prejudiced against. If you use your power to silence your critics, the little voices among your supporters will grow into a cacophony that eventually benefits your opponents.

-       
I WOKE UP AT 2:30 AM, TROUBLED, AND HAD TO WRITE THIS… IN DEFENSE OF MEDIA

If state media, who are supposed to be public media, play their proper role of informing the nation objectively- with balance and fair play- there would be no need for recent commentators to be concerned about the prominence of allegedly unfair private media reports.

The state media have the widest circulation and broadest reach that cover virtually the entire country. It is a bizarre development that there should be rising anti-private media activists who complain of private media unfairness without addressing the credibility complexion and fair play of the largest information source in the country, the state media.

Audiences and readers resort to alternative sources of information when the establishment or main media channels such as state media, fail to provide information that reflects opinions of all the constituent groups and players in society. Bias breeds distrust and loss of clientele.

It is presumed that the latest complaints about private media reports are an indication that there is a move towards refurbishment of the editorial responsibilities of the state media to ensure that the public receives balanced reports and objective reflections of the expressions arising from public debate.

If, however, it is maintained that the sole responsibility of state media is to report some viewpoints to the exclusion of other properly constituted views, it should not be surprising that more and more people will continue listening to and reading private media reports, no matter how incorrect these may be. Notably, unlike state media, private media operate on poorly trained and weak facility status and should be thus expected to have grave shortcomings. That is all the more reason why the state media should play the objective role of a balanced policy reflection of opinions and observations by all key players in our society.

State media have previously discharged balanced, objective and credible services to the public through publication and broadcast of fairly constituted articles and programmes. This was done without departing from the state media role of promoting state policy and development priorities. This attitude of fair play should be reverted to by state media.

We have expressed before that single stream communication affects media credibility and naturally redirects audiences and readers to alternative sources of information, no matter how poorly presented the latter may be. A two way flow of information gives credence to media and captures audiences with enhanced credibility ratings, audience loyalty and reduced diversion of the public towards unfair sources of information. That is why in other countries where, democracy did not thrive, as it does in Botswana, all the cornucopia of state-owned propaganda media establishments to influence public opinion failed abysmally.

Audiences are a natural, scientific and unpretentious virtual entity. Their natural instincts and inclinations are to receive and process only balanced, two-way flow of processes of information. If state media package information in this manner, the public will rarely be distracted towards other sources of the same type of information. No matter how huge and articulate the sermons are against private media, public reception and reaction to information will always be in the framework of their make-up as people. Unless we provide balance, we can only increase dissent- that is a proven communications fact.

Meanwhile, the trials and tribulations of the private media should continue to be seen as a phenomenon that is consistent with the trials and tribulations of our growing democracy; and we can help productively by enhancing good quality information packages by state media rather than lambasting buddying media houses in their nascent stages.

Let us return to the times when there was little to no private media and reflect on how state media filled the vacuum to present balanced information packages that elevated Botswana’s democracy ratings even during the worst of times. State media of the time were the key instrument of freedom of expression, and they did so without abdicating the responsibility of promoting government policies and development priorities.

It worked in the past, because it was credible; it will work now, if it is credible. You cannot talk people who hear and read out of what they perceive to be their good feed. There can be no competition between private media and state media, so, if the approach is right, the public will be informed responsibly at all times. Then we won’t have to worry about any segments of a perceived biased private press.

We part with a fundamental question:


Why are people listening to and reading biased reports in the private media when state of the art state media houses cover the entire reach of the country?