My name is Job Morris and I’m from D’Kar, a village in Ghanzi District. I’m a native speaker of
Naro and take great pleasure in learning other San dialects. I would like to state from the very beginning that San Youth Network (SYNet) is a great initiative that has and continue to enable a better and a great collaboration of San youth from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. This collaboration undermines boarder restrictions in terms of information sharing in real time effort and raising issues of advocacy, which is a cornerstone in which SYNet is submerged. And I think this is awesome. It is on this particular efforts that we now know each other although we are kilometers apart and geographically drifted apart.
However, I want to tell a bit about myself and this is why I had to write this article to be featured in the online publication by SYNet. Being born in a rural area, grew up in it and poor are multiple problems someone should not bear. But I’m grateful that I was born in such an environment. It taught me a great deal about life and survival in the grinding edge of change. It was this grinding edge of change in the development of the village and the transitioning to the new ways of understanding the world that has given me a lesson of life in order to make decisions that matter.
In my teen years, I had no clear understanding of where my life was headed because it was during this period when I noticed and experienced racism in the hands of the ‘non-San’ in my school. No mentorship. Parents at that time didn’t really care or understood the value of education, and so I never knew the reason why I had to go to school. To me, it was kind of a rite of passage. I had to get it done with once and for all and go back home. It was this kinds of hardships that made me perform badly in my senior year of secondary school. As time passed, I had a sense of epiphany and I started to realize the value of education and started reading all the books in the local library. I was fascinated by the books published by IWGIA on indigenous people. This was when I understood cross border issues and the similar issues that the so called indigenous peoples have around the globe.
My knowledge was cocooned under the premise and perception that we are all Batswana was, I must say, liberated. We are only Batswana by citizenry not by tradition, customs and cultures. This was when I realized that education is the best route in order to make change in the society to make them realize the social and political issues that we as San are in. This is called advocacy or activism. To this day, in Botswana, racism and discrimination exist and we must stop this inhumane ideologies. Those who were involved in heroic activism during the forced relocations carried out in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve are now in the center of the politics of race.
I want to urge that we, the San, must come together and rally ourselves in efforts to make impact in the political system. And who else to do that but us? Me, now a student in the University of Botswana pursuing my Bachelor of Degree and aiming to get my Master degree and hopefully a Doctorate, want to advise that to make better representation, it is up to us, the youth to obtain better grades, better education and developed attitudes of understanding different matters/issues in order to make change that matters. There will be no excuse for the political system not to hear us if we face them with educated ideologies. And of course we will need reinforcement from the elders who started this work, way back in 1993. Remember, because we matter, we make change that matters.
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