Steve Harvey has no power to create anybody’s Hollywood career because he has been sidelined by Hollywood due to his routine sexist and homophobic rants, writes DONALD MOLOSI in commemoration of the International Day of Conscience

April 6 is commemorated by the United Nations as the International Day of Conscience, a day when we all pause and reflect on promoting a culture of peace with love and conscience. For Botswana, which is a country renowned for peace and love, commemorating the International Day of Conscience remains a curious exercise.

One wonders, for instance, whether we Batswana still care about being peaceful
with each other or we have just become exceptional at paying it lip service? Despite
our reputation of being hospitable, do we even still have the conscience to welcome visitors into our homes? Botswana has a kind of dysmorphia: the difference
between who we are reported to be and who we truly are is huge and it is a threat to peace.

For starters, we are told by thick reports from abroad that Batswana have a culture of peace. What I do know is that we are quite passive-aggressive when not outright violent. We Batswana are all participants and enablers in this culture of aggression, and it is difficult to unlearn it.

This year, on April 6 and beyond, may we then begin to reflect on where our appetite for the murder of women comes from? In our own families, let us ask why we violently limit the potential of queer children as human beings by grooming them for a projected homophobic future where they may not legally and culturally exist still?

Botho is a lived Tswana belief that you exist because other lives do, that all lives are all interconnected and that all sentient beings deserve compassion. Conscience simply understood, is to have a sense of right and wrong. When our President leads a mask-wearing campaign at home but does not wear a mask in a crowded funeral in Tanzania, which mask message by the leadership is right? When our President tells us to stay home in isolation from friends but he himself flies in and out of the country to see his “friends,” then which of the two messages is from his heart? Which one is wrong? Are you sure?

Gaslighting is a political force. It is also an enemy of certainty, an enemy of peace. When we cry daily and bury our loved ones because of COVID-19, our government responds by literally buying us Tshirts and balloons for millions of pula to fight COVID-19 instead of vaccines – gaslighting Batswana in order to enable corruption.

When Steve Harvey, an American TV presenter side-lined in his own country because of alleged plagiarism and sexual misconduct, is flown into Botswana to lord over Botswana’s young talent with promises of Hollywood careers, then you know we are being dangerously gaslighted, at the very least. Now the Botswana taxpayer is somehow paying millions of pula to sure up Harvey’s pockets, to fly him in and out of Botswana in private jets full of entourage.

It is often difficult for Botswana herself to reflect. There is little incentive for Botswana to do so when she is constantly bombarded with self-interested reports from abroad about how much better she is doing than her poorer African cousins.

Sadly, we as Batswana now believe that being better than worst case scenarios means we are doing well.

That hubris has created xenophobia against fellow Africans, and Botswana remains one of the most socially hostile countries for fellow Africans, particularly if they are darker or have ‘deeper’ accents.

In the interests of creating a culture of peace with love and conscience, I hope we begin to take a hard look at the mirror this April 6.

Donald Molosi is an award-winning Broadway and Hollywood actor. He has featured in numerous films, including Breakfast In Hollywood opposite Jay Tarses, Green Zone starring Matt Damon and A United Kingdom starring Rosamund Pike. Molosi is the star of award-winning UK film 2064. His next film appearance will be in Freedom From Fear (IMDB working title) due for release in Botswana in May 2021. He is the Founder of the Upright African Movement. Molosi is the award winning author of We Are All Blue
and Dear Upright African