Se Ke Seromamowa Sa Botswana


Even before I returned from Mauritius Ted and I had decided that, however long it took, we would use our own local staff for installation work if we could. That way they would receive the maximum training benefit. The Government had just set up the Botswana Polytechnic college in Gaborone and for the first time we could see the chance of our technicians learning electronics and radio without leaving their home town. Surprisingly, the college was having difficulty filling some of the technical courses because employers were unwilling to release their staff to attend them. They were also scared that, once they were trained, they'd leave their jobs for something better.

If there is one single achievement of which I am most proud during my time in Botswana, it is that over the next couple of years a dozen or so of our staff of 30 undertook "full-time" City and Guilds courses in electronics. We also started sending some to universities abroad. To lose so many staff at once whilst still staying on the air would ordinarily have been impossible, but with a combination of overtime payments and sheer hard work by everyone we struggled through the next few years. I remember a staff meeting at which it was all discussed. Everyone confirmed their enthusiasm to work - effectively - double shifts in order to let their colleagues go to college, reassured that it due course it would be their turn. By contrast, all the other Government departments such as the police, defence force, telecommunications corporation and so on only managed about half-a-dozen candidates between them.

To complete the picture, I pushed very hard to ensure that as our budding engineers qualified they would have the reward of a good job to return to. This was a continuing fight, involving some very careful drafting of job specifications, as it appeared that we were trying to build a little empire at the expense of other departments. Indeed, we were occasionally referred to as the engineering mafia. Nevertheless, by the time I left in 1984, 18 of those 30 technical staff had made it through to university level or the equivalent. I am very proud that, as I looked through the World RadioTV Handbook in subsequent years, those trained engineering staff stayed with Radio Botswana, progressing into higher and higher management positions. Most of them are still there even now.

. . . Botswana index

Back to paws logo front page . . .

Next page . . .