By Noluvuyo Bacela

My thoughts, my heart and my mind are completely saturated with images of you and the warmth you exude. Your immeasurable kindness and thoughtfulness have captured an unassuming heart to the point of frustration. I want to stop time and go back to you, only to you. So I chastise my thoughts and force myself to remember the game plan: Go in and out. Take no prisoners.

Little did I know I would be held captive by a land consumed by drought as you quenched my longing of wanting to belong. With your ever blue skies, black cattle that seem to do as they please on the roads and beautiful white teeth that never stay hidden, without even a second glance you embraced this ever wandering heart.

Botswana, I love your people.

I love the way they are quick to embrace and ask questions later. Where I’m from it’s more common to stab first, then ask questions later. That is home. A broken place that is full of everything but peace and acceptance.

We are bruised and broken and suspicious people wanting to maintain the façade we have created but, little do we know, everyone can see right through us. Our pride is the stumbling block that leads us to open graves that lie right before us, that could be avoided had we just asked our big brother countries for help.

The sole hope is the youth, the pride of the continent.

One of my favorite hobbies is traveling. Seeing new people, eating new dishes, just learning about stuff. On my recent trip to Botswana, the nation of peace, this was my experience. Yes, they have their flaws, for instance if you are bad they hang you opposite the Mugg and Bean, other then that it really is an amazing nation. The economy is good and they seem to have it all; but like they say, the grass always looks greener on the other side.

I sat in one of their cafes and listened to a lady as she narrated horror stories about the increase of gender-based violence in the country. To be honest, I haven’t been as unsettled as I was that afternoon. As someone who champions the woman power, I felt powerless.

There goes the dream of an Africa at peace with itself.

There goes my own dream of raising children in a safe community.

I think it was in that moment that I realized the power of unity. There are so many organizations in Botswana that are working towards protecting women but they work in silos, which I found extremely odd seeing that the population of Gaberone, the capital city, is only 232,000.

Why can’t they all fall within the same bracket and work together to make a visible change?

There are so many organizations out there  that have the same mandate, it’s like a worldwide phenomenon. I always feel like we can do so much and go even further when we are working toward the same thing. Through dialogue, the Three Chiefs of Botswana led the nation to independence 50 years ago. My mother was 16 at the time, walking around the rural areas of Eastern Cape gathering dry wood to make a fire for some reason. Also, at that time, my mom said we had kings, lots and lots of fattened cattle and were part of the most revered Nguni tribes that exist in Southern Africa.

When I think about it, it gives me a sense of pride; but it also saddens me because I do not know much about the history of many things African. I remember in Cape Town there would always be that random traditional dance crew performing half naked on the side of the road on a Saturday afternoon. I would find myself thinking,”Noli, why are you standing there clapping for these kids like you are a tourist?”

I guess this is something the current President of Bots wants to avoid. This year’s Presidents Day Celebration, held on July 22, 2016, focused on national identity through awarding the best arts and crafts that showcased the nation’s history. I think it’s safe to say I am in love?

Well anyway, now that I am a tourist and have fallen madly in love with the land of the Pula, I only hope my beautiful Africa may be healed from all these wars that tried to take our stuff away. We are a really beautiful people.