BotswanaPost has unveiled the new Kgotla stamps with the tagline, ‘Democracy through dialogue’.
The four stamps were designed under four different themes; traditional adjudication, information dissemination, coronation of a chief and dikgafela harvest celebration. Onica Lekuntwane designed the new stamps, which sell for 50 thebe, P4.00, 90 thebe and P10 respectively.
Speaking during the unveiling, BotswanaPost CEO, Cornelius Ramatlhakwane said the stamps are the ‘ambassadors of the country’ because they disseminate information about culture, people, landmarks and society, among others. He said,
“We want to refocus the Kgotla because it contributes to the development of the community.”
Ramatlhakwane further said the Kgotla is the mouthpiece of the majority and it is where everyone has the opportunity to have their opinion heard. He said it was the third consecutive year they had issued stamps without any delay.
Ramatlhakwane said the Kgotla plays an important role in discussions and dispute resolution among the local communities, as it handles both civil and minor criminal cases, explaining,
“In a traditional Kgotla setting, men lead discussions and women contribute, whilst seated on mats or on the Kgotla floor,” he said.
With regards to the information dissemination stamp, he said the government officials mostly use public assemblies to discuss important issues, policies and legislation with the community.
Ramatlhakwane explained that this is viewed as part of the democratic process in which the village leadership consults with the community, who have the right to express their views and concerns. He indicated that feedback from such gatherings is used to influence policy-making decisions at a national level.
The coronation of a chief stamp displays the enthronement of a female Kgosi to show that culture is dynamic and not static. He said,
“During coronation, the new Kgosi is ushered in by the regiment. The traditional leopard or lion skin that is draped around the shoulders of the Kgosi is a sign of authority and respect.”
Ramatlhakwane said the fourth stamp, which is dikgafela harvest celebration, celebrates the traditional appeasement ceremony meant to thank the ancestors for the rains and harvest.
“Elderly women carry pots of traditional beer and baskets of harvest on their heads to the communal silos at the Kgotla,” he said.