Thursday, January 12, 2006

My friend LT

LT was one of my best friends in Botswana. He was Bakalanga. That is the minority tribe in Botswana. The vast majority of the people are Tswana. Botswana the land of the Tswana - even the name Bo-Tswana has this meaning. The official indiginous language is Se-Tswana (Setswana) - thus the Bakalanga are a arguably to some extent disadvantaged living in Bots!

Anyway, LT was a great friend. When I arrived at the college to take up my post he welcomed me with open arms. We worked in the same team - both as Lecturers in Religious Education - and we quickly bonded. I had heard that some of the 'locals' might be a bit resistant to someone from overseas (or even from other African countries) - and especially a white man - being recruited by the college but LT certainly wasn't of this mindset. There were perhaps one or two of the Batswana who resented the fact that the British and Irish lecturers had additional contractual benefits and to be honest I didn't blame them at all. I had taken a 75% pay cut to work in Botswana but none of my colleagues would have known that and they would have seen that the perks of being an ex-pat worker were good. I think that many of the Batswana realised that their country could afford to pay for overseas professionals to mentor local colleagues and that this was in the main a positive thing. On the other hand too many of the Brits enjoyed the status of being 'a white man in Africa' too much and did not endear themselves to their Batswana colleagues. (see my entry 'Bob plays Russian Roulette')

So LT and I became good friends. We still keep in touch today.

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