Botho as a Way of Enhancing Problem Solving in a Community Project: The Case of Moshupa Study Group Project in Botswana

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Setumile Morapedi


The paper examines how the concept of Botho has enhanced problem-solving in a community project, where it was used to gain entry into the research site. This was undertaken in the village of Moshupa in south-eastern Botswana between April 2011 and August 2014. Botho works in a situation where members of the society are held together by common values and beliefs. The paper demonstrates how the principle of Botho helped the research team for the Moshupa Study Group Project to gain entry into the Moshupa community and be successful in achieving the intended goal of solving the youth’s education problem. The project emerged from Moshupa Development Show held on 18 September 2010, where the residents, including the youth, showcased their works. The exhibition was organised by the then area member of parliament, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi, the current president of the Republic of Botswana. The principal researcher of the project, Dr Setumile Morapedi, who happened to have been invited in her capacity as an academic, was moved by the artistically created artefacts exhibited by the youth. She responded to the
talking desperate faces of the youth exhibitors by preparing a 20 paged proposal and submitted it to the Office of Research and Development at the University of Botswana for the possibility of funding. The aim of the proposal was to have the youthful exhibitors’ skills and talents nurtured and hence taken to a level higher than where they were at that moment. The hope was that if assisted, they would be linked with the development of the nation. In particular, the aim of the project was to assist the out-of-school youth to stand on their feet, re-enter the school system, learn more vocational skills and subsequently establish their own businesses. The assistance was going to be in the form of tutorials for academic and vocational courses which were to empower them, and in turn help them to empower others. Instances in which exercising Botho typically enhanced progress in the project are highlighted in the paper.

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