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Rebaone Malefho chats to Kabelo Binns about the importance of respect in any cultural context.
This Setswana proverb, loosely translated, means being impolite doesn’t make you cool. To be brutally honest, in my humble opinion, if you think it does, then you are either dreaming or lying to yourself! The thing is, anytime you are impolite, it reflects poorly on your character.
A case in point would be that most of us have the common sense to greet people when we walk into a room. But perhaps common sense isn’t so common? What if you did walk into a room full of people, and not greet them? How would they view you? Inconsiderate and ill-mannered, with no decorum. Our Setswana greetings are great for several reasons. They are a display of good manners, can be adopted universally in a variety of contexts and scenarios.
Just the word Dumela, is a deliberate well wish on someone, followed by rhetorical questions “a o tsogile” (are you well) and “a o teng” (are you okay?); this would typically be followed by a fist bump or a handshake for affirmation.
These uplifting words are at the tip of our tongues for a greater purpose, the spirit of botho. So, every time you enter a room, pass a colleague, or even a stranger, remember to greet and spark a conversation.
Show respect and, while you are at it, earn some too. I guarantee you’ll feel good.