#LetterToStax My wedding ring


Dear Stax. It’s been almost a month now since you saw me wearing this. I still recall your surprised look. But Mmangwane Pena’s look was priceless. Bemused, she asked, “Naare o nyetse Thalehang?!” Rakgadi Shadiko called my mom disappointed and complaining that, ‘O timilwe lenyalo’. You and boRakgadi warned me against the ring saying that if it’s a fake then I’m bringing myself bad luck. You see that’s what actually led me to rock the ring this past December when I went to the village. I was tired of this marriage talk. “Nywee, nywee, o nyala leng?” ” Blah.. blah.. how about kids?”

Stax you know me, such things are not me. You remember how I hated playing house? Those rich folks kids always gave me a role of a cock. A fuckin rooster Stax! I was supposed to be the timer when they were experimenting some grown up stuff in those makeshift little houses playing parents. I hated that. No wonder my nights lasted not more than 1min. You remember this Stax, if they didn’t oblige to my 1min nights I quit playing. That’s why some days I was upgraded to playing child. Even that too pissed me off because those little fake parents refused to share house with their children especially me – I was the crying baby, I cried all night. Plus I couldn’t stand cooking with urine either. I hated this house thing and you know I used to boycott your silly game and go to the library.

But you were better off Stax, you used to play the coveted Dad role when Princess was in our hood and you really enjoyed the game. All the boys wanted to play dad but I never got the chance, the day I quit forever was when Sam’s little brother, wa leminanyana yole, played dad and wife le Tsotso even though I was elder to him, imagine, just because they got a new TV at their home.

So you see Stax, I’ve always been an outsider, a rooster Stax, while you were enjoying grown up stuff with Princess in there. Now y’all have turned rooster on me. The whole village is on about, “Your time is running out!” All I’m saying Stax is, this is not a game of house, it’s my life. I don’t need roosters to tell me what time is it. I’ve got a watch, a smart watch. Yes, the ring is fake and I don’t care about the bad luck. Please let everyone in the village know this.

Thella Boy.

#LetterToStax Cigars


Eita Stax. I have been meaning to write to you my man but been busy. I know you probably going, ‘Yeah Yeah, what else is new?’ Ok, let me cut the bullshit and get to the point. Man I had my Jimmy Comes To Town moment last Sunday at a nightclub (Please don’t tell mom that I go to clubs on Sunday. She won’t believe you anyway.)

Birthday party of a friend. So I was there, chilling and having drinks. Then came this beautiful girl and sat next to me. She was drinking some red wine coming from a bottle stored in some nice leather container. Expensive looking stuff Stax.

She bought a cigar – that big brown cigarette adored by those elegant suited but mean looking men in the movies.

Then she started to smoke it while watching the ceiling. I think that’s how it’s done. It looks pretty cool. Her blowing that huge smoke like rich old man. I wanted a puff. Peer pressure!

She offered. I raised my head up to the ceiling like a real pro while pulling it hard. Smoke got into my windpipe and choked me. I managed to conceal the choke but she looked at me like she noticed it. I blew up a huge cloud of smoke and felt really proud with the size of my smoke. Leru laitaka!

Another long hard pull! Another choke! I failed to hide it. I couldn’t hide it. She extended her hand to take back her cigar, saying, “This is not a cigarette”.

Little embarrassed and defensive, I looked at her like, “Mxm… gal I know, I have done big hard things than this little cigar of yours, what do you know about lekgorotha wena? Apparently I was doing it completely wrong, but this was a top Gaborone club, no tutorials in there. It’s either you know it or you fake it!

Few minutes on I mastered the art of pulling it – I have watched a lot of mafia movies. I was even feeling like Tony Soprano there. Like a boss Stax, beautiful girls lighting up Cohibas for me. I was enjoying it. I even wanted to wear dark sunglasses up there to look the part.

We finished the cigar and she wanted another one! I wanted another one too.

“Cool, we will have another cohiba. Better, Let’s have two, for you and I,” I was Tony. The boss. Girl wanted a cigar. She will get a cigar. We gonna blaze up tonight.

I confidently asked the waiter for two cigars and I was told the cheapest is P250 each!

“WTF!!! Like Two-Hundred-annn……..Fiftyyy……—-PULA!!?

Stax you could have felt my ego shrinking while the waiter was nodding and looking at me like “Where did she find this broke village boy!?”

I didn’t have a comeback from such a price! That price literally scared me Stax.

“Ok, wait!” I shrieked. It was time to go.

Eish… Stax the things we see in this city while wandering in rich people’s places!

P250 each Stax!

Mablaranyana a maCuba!

P250, the cheapest!


#LetterToStax Bread Crumbs


These people never cease to amaze me Stax. This right here are plain breadcrumbs, masosora Stax, sold at WoolWorths. They are actually more expensive than a loaf of bread. Eish, this place can sometimes test your sanity Stax. They keep changing the game! You and I know all about breadcrumbs. I don’t think we want to go back there. Those were bad rough old days.

Growing up next to an iconic Millies’ Bakery (later called Phuti) in Serowe was exciting and tough too. Every boy from our hood, even those rich bastards who grew up having to deal with deciding whether to eat bread with butter or margarine, knew the two Millies’ dustbins at the back of the bakery. That’s where we weighed the size of our balls. Sneaking through the fence and picking burnt bread from that dustbin was a risky mission. Only tough boys with big balls dared to do it because if caught the punishment was severe and demeaning – at the bakery, home and at school.

It was never really about the love for bread – well, I know you still love your cream donut – although getting through that tiny hole in the fence was nerve wrecking, emerging triumphantly from it with a loot of condemned cream donuts and stale loaves was heroic. Only fearless swift goons attempted that – Stax and Thella Boy.

Then we would share with those scared lot that never risked the bin but were only brave to watch our back by the fence. The weakling chickens, dibari, that used to hide when we risked a beating for the Bakery bin were spared only crumbs. They didn’t deserve an ounce of donut cream because they were at the bottom of the bread eating chain. So Stax, I wanted to let you know that they are now selling breadcrumbs for more than a price of cream donut. Imagine how much stale bread we used to own while we were kids – enough to supply Woolies with crumbs for days!

I waited by the shop to find out what kind of a black person buys ‘plain’ breadcrumbs, masosora Stax, but no one bought crumbs today. Not even white people.

#LetterToStax Skuta sa ga Iyene



One of the people that actually made me to be a photographer is you Stax. If I didn’t own a camera and took these pictures you were not going to even read these letters. You and I have always been that skeptical. I think we still are.

Do you remember when we used to listen to narrations from those forward little boys in our hood who used to beg to watch TV kwa ga Mma Skunyane while you and I refused to bath just so we could be allowed to sit by the door to watch TV? We used to hate that because it was just demeaning. I guess we always had pride ya seNgwatos – bokwete.

Those shameless little boys used to come to us and narrate how we missed the best stunts on TV. And we would listen with total skepticism. We knew that they were watching from a crack of the door, behind the couch and without full view of the TV, so how could they know for sure of the stuff they were telling us. We never loved maaka so we used to just roll our eyes and ask them whether they managed to pinch some of the cool toys from those rich folks. Another childhood lies we were fed was about this heroic figure called Iyene. Man there was just so many of them, lies, lies, lies.

They loved him so much in Serowe that they believed he had superpowers. We heard heroic one-man war stories. We were told that Rhodesia fell because of Iyene, that he warned Ian Smith to never dare touch Masire because Iyene will personally fly his motorbike and smoke him out of Rhodesia.

Kana when Chuck Norris jokes started Stax, I thought people were actually talking about Iyene. But he is now 62 years old and it is true Stax, he has a flying motorbike! I saw it Stax. He flew it in front of me Stax. I kept wondering, this old man is still flying motorbikes at the age of 62 years, so maybe, just maybe, those unbelievable stories were true because here he is, o hoha ka skuta.

Panning The Cycling President

President Khama of Botswana

President Khama of Botswana

I had only two clear chances to get the shot. On the first round the President Khama’s team, called Eat Some More, fielded him (they call him Super on the field) to complete the race. It was a six-member cycling relay. I chose a good spot with nice background and made few practice pan shots with other passing cyclists (with my cheap lens and without the tripod I needed this practice).

One of president's team member. This was the initial spot where i was gonna shoot the president

One of president’s team member. This was the initial spot where i was gonna shoot the president

But when Super got on to the bicycle everyone got excited, fellow photographers ran on to my shot area disturbing the panning and destroying my shot. Mxm! For a moment there I forgot the president is a magnet and travels with a small crowd. On the second take I had to compromise with a bad spot to at least achieve the panning. I forced the last shot and it came out ok, and that’s the one that I filed for Mmegi.

The Cycling President

The Cycling President

#LettersToStrangers #7 – To the World Cup ticket collector


Really dude! “I need used tickets for my collection” Please tell me why? Collecting a number of used tickets from one match! Come on man, you must be knowing something we do not know. Blatter must have told you something.

But man, you really believed it was such a great idea for an adult white male to stand outside a football stadium in Soweto, South Africa and beg for used soccer tickets!

Do you even understand the race dynamics in South Africa?

Do you know how suspicious you looked appeared? I would not be surprised if you were robbed of those used tickets just because you are a white man, begging for something that was viewed worthless by some. Robbed, not because they hate you, but because your skin colour added some imagined real value to the used tickets.

Do you understand the emotions of supporters after these big games? Imagine after watching that emotional match when Ghana got robbed by Suarez and Gyan missing that crucial penalty shot to send them into Africa’s first Semi finals! You come out sad and emotionally wrecked to find some dude smiling to you requesting for your used ticket!

No man. Why don’t you just collect yours?


#LettersToStrangers #6 – To the lady from Stone Town


As-salaam. I sometimes spend time watching your eyes. These eyes that got me little frightened after you quickly ducked by the corner disapproving of this shot I took of you. After you ducked over there I wondered whether I should run away or come to you and apologise for taking the picture without first asking. I was expecting you might come back with back-up and beat me up. Even after walking away I was nervous going through the Stone Town maze of alleys. I apologise.