Below is a copy of the address of one of the secondary school students who won the US Embassy essay competition honoring Martin Luther King Day in Gaborone, Botswana. Winners were chosen for their essay’s originality and were awarded certificates, a book about Martin Luther King and about USD 100. As you read Benson’s dreams for his country, keep in mind that Botswana is one of the wealthiest African countries with an economy considered a safer investment than even that of South Africa.
A Dream for Botswana
Benson Serara Motswetla, age 17
Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. Today I have a dream for my country, Botswana. A dream that I will wake up tomorrow and there will be not AIDS for even as I write this severely dreaded acronym, agony strikes my face. I have a dream that Botswana one day will be free from the bondage of poverty and my countrymen will not be so bitter. I dream that my motherland will be brought back to its origins, when harmony reigned and peace and stability prevailed. A place to work and rest. These are my dreams.
The horizon is set out in blue and black hues, a typical dawn in Francistown. My friend Kabo vacates his old dilapidated compound, leaving behind his sister with his aged grandmother, who is supposed to be their guardian. His parents were swallowed by the so called “Radio disease” [AIDS]. I catch up with him as he is about to close his mesh wire gate. I sense something really obnoxious as I face him. His face is pale and disheveled like he had been swallowed by a crocodile. As I try to release what might be haunting him, I remember that his grandmother has been in bad shape recently, perhaps because of old age but mainly because of hunger.
The little food they get from the government only lasts them two weeks. I am profoundly saddened because he is not the only fifteen year old who becomes a student and cares for the family at the same time. Many children have been forced to drop out of...