BG Travel took a trip up north as part of the Selibe Phikwe participants in the out of town Phikwe Orange Botswana National Marathon, which is one of the many contributions to resuscitate the town’s economy.
We came came with different impressions. Amongst such observation is, although it needs a speedy and well thought out recovery programme Phikwe, still alive and far from a ghost town. The marathon started with a reception on Friday.
The choice of the guest speaker, in business mogul, Jagdish Shah was a well informed decision. The man came to Botswana more than two decades ago without anything save for his accounting qualification.
He worked his way up through the ladder, until he finally took over as well as coming up with many businesses that include being president and financier of Premier League double champions, Township Rollers and Jack’s Gym which is gradually spreading all over the country.
Shah did not disappoint. His message was loaded. He simply called on Phikwe residents to pull themselves up and come up with sources of living.
Some property on Botswana road, the street that has houses for both the BCL general managers and deputies are dilapidated. The properties in question are house 2345, 2347, 2355 amongst others and other properties around town,
The situation is likely to worsen in November as former employees who still occupy the houses vacate them because they cannot afford the monthly rental which will be placed at market value
If the numbers of Phikwe residents was to reduce, certainly there will be more harm than good, and such a move stands to discourage the efforts made by companies such as Orange who are all out to assist SPEDU in resuscitating the economy of Selibe Phikwe
Back to the marathon and its participants: It was very disappointing to note that despite having made huge profits out of residents of which some are even deceased since Selibe Phikwe was established more than four decades ago, save for First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) - all commercial banks, insurance companies and big companies did not heed the call by Orange to come in numbers.
This is despite the fact that there are numerous advantages, among which is that the money spinning Orange Botswana banks with the local banks and participating in the marathon keeps people fit. Healthy minds and bodies lead to profits for insurance houses since their clientele will grow with fewer claims.
The same applies for the commercial banks that have milked the same people that they appear not interested in helping. It is common knowledge that former BCL employees owe banks handsomely and the banks must have by now completed their strategy on how to recover their monies.
If there was a price for a well dressed team, then FNBB which brought employees of different ages, shapes and sizes could have easily snatched it as their employees were clearly visible from a distance. Forget that some were more socialising on the marathon route than competition, but the fact is they lived up to their slogan, ‘how can we help you’.
It is now up to SPEDU to answer the question. Otherwise, Phikwe residents are highly enterprising as some are busy selling all sorts of items from raw food to other household and farming materials in order to put bread on the table.
The spectators on the route were marvellous. The cheer boys and girls added flavour as they called runners according to their attire. If you were wearing orange colour they called you Orange money, FNBB, BURS etc.
The marathon itself was fun and certainly lit Phikwe more. What perhaps was more interesting is the after party which featured top DJs such as Lady K, the local favourite Vee WA Mampezee, Charma Gal, South African actor cum-musician Naaq Music and Leungo Pitse as the Master of Ceremony.
It was evidently clear that there is lack of entertainment and Phikwe residents especially the young ones danced the night out at Phikwe stadium. Our driver Lechiile aka Mr Bones was great as well.
Nothing could annoy him. Not even when he was asked to make a sharp U-turn back to Phikwe 15 kilometres out of town. The reason was that one of the scribes had forgotten his luggage at the hotel reception. Equally disturbing, but did not bother Mr Bones was the many times he was asked to pull out of the A1 road because the bus occupants had taken one too many of the free beverages and wanted to relieve themselves.