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Home » News » Weekend Life » An Exploration of ‘Showers’

An Exploration of ‘Showers’

Publishing Date : 27 June, 2017

Author : ANGELA MDLALANI

A group of University of Botswana researchers have found out that bridal and baby showers as well as Naomi/Laban showers build communities and express the concept of botho in urban Gaborone.


The study, Botho and Community Building in the Urban Space: An Exploration of Naomi, Laban, Baby and Bridal Showers in Gaborone, funded by the John Templeton foundation (USA) at a tune of P300 000 sought to investigate how Botho/ubuntu and community building are manifested in Gaborone. Researchers used multiple case studies of Naomi/Laban, Bridal and Baby Showers. Naomi/Laban showers are gendered celebrations organised by women for a mother or father who will either receive a dauther or son in law. The researchers attended a total of 31 showers altogether involving 451 participants. All showers were in Gaborone.


According to the researchers, Botswana has a growing urban population in towns, cities and urban villages where encroachment of poverty becomes a real threat, however, the showers, which have become a common young woman centred movement in Botswana’s major cities presumably express the botho ethic and spirituality in urban areas as well as help alleviate poverty. Botswana cities, as most in the world are as a result of rural urban immigration, where the community spirit can wilt, giving way to individualism and pockets of dehumanising poverty.


Naomi and Laban showers, according to the researchers are a Botswana creation and were started by a group of spiritual women from Kanye, Gaborone and Mahalapye and derive from the Bible stories of Naomi and Laban. Through the showers, a mother/father is prepared to receive a son/daughter in law; further they teach mother-in-laws how to treat their daughter-in-laws so as to end the well known phenomenon that mothers and daughter in laws never get along well. The women have gone on to register an association and named it Gontse Golekane Association and continue to build families and communities.


The researchers attended 31 showers over a year all in Gaborone. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used during the research. Furthermore, they found out that the showers lead to forging of new relationships, support networks, empowering each other as well as echo compassion and empathy through advices shared at the showers as well as gifts bought to help the new bride, new mother or parent-in-law.


Speaking at the dissemination of research results, Dr Baipoledi Kekgonne said that the research would enable the country to become a knowledge-based nation that is able to measure how its indigenous resources enrich and enable our contemporary society as well as be further explored to enhance the development of the society.


The project objectives were to explore the views of Batswana on the expression of Botho in urban areas in Botswana; examine how botho ethic was understood and manifested in traditional Botswana communities; analyse how botho is expressed in contemporary urban settings of Botswana; investigate how botho activities in the urban space construct and reconstruct gender; and to highlight how botho can inform the building and maintenance of justice-loving communities and assist to curb poverty. The John Templeton Foundation funded the research to a tune of P300 000.


The Research Project which took over twelve months yielded some interesting findings on Baby Showers and Bridal showers. These two are mainly a female youth affair. According to the findings, showers are arranged by female friends and relatives of the pregnant woman or the bride to be. “The organizers contribute money towards the celebration which is held a few weeks before the baby is born in the case of a baby shower and a few weeks before the wedding ceremony in the event of a bridal shower.


In both cases the setting is like that of a small party in which the place is decorated, usually with a theme color which every attendee is to wear; attendees bring presents, food is served at the end with music playing,” revealed the findings. The study opines that the two showers are an educational space where the youth engage in teaching and advising the recipient about the new status they are about to acquire; of motherhood or marriage respectively. “There is moral, spiritual, financial and material support.”


Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Botswana (UB), Professor Kgomotso Moahi has applauded efforts by a group of researchers at the university as being representative of the university’s vision of being a centre of excellence. Moahi was speaking at the dissemination of research findings for the “Botho and Community Building in the Urban Space: An Exploration of Naomi, Laban, Baby and Bridal Showers in Gaborone” study last week Thursday at Trinity Hall in Gaborone.


Deputy Permanent Secretary – Research, Science and Technology from the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology – Dr. Edinton Kekgonne Baipoledi said that his ministry supports and encourages research that informs the public and policy makers. “We can no longer tolerate findings that accommodate dust and used for promoting papers only,” he said.


“I am gratified to note that our indigenous resources and concepts are subjects of a scientific research. This research project focus was botho and community-building. The research enables us to become a knowledge-based nation, one that is able to measure how its indigenous resources enrich and enable our contemporary society, and how they can be further explored for enhancing the development of our nation,” said Baipoledi.

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