Friday 23 December 2005

Why celebrate?

Why do we celebrate people every week?

Is it perhaps that we’re just good natured, big-hearted, lovable characters at Consumer Watchdog? Well, you certainly would not think we were if you listened to certain stores, a number of micro-lenders and all loan sharks. Oh, and a certain cult masquerading as a Church trying to help people. That’s not why we celebrate service stars.

Is it because it’s Christmas? Not a chance. We celebrate (and criticise) all year round.

So why do we do it? It’s simple. We do it for our own self-interest. We want better standards, better service and better prices.

Our strong belief is that the only way really to make things better is by having truly effective competition. We, as consumers, benefit when stores see their only chance of survival as being better than their rival next door. The constant pressure not only to maintain standards but actually to continually improve them gives customers a constantly fresh range of choices.

That’s not to mean that only the first across the line will survive. There’s room enough for two, three, maybe even several decent supermarkets, restaurants and car repair centres in a city the size of Gaborone. However, just as some will survive, others will fail and that’s actually a good thing. We must understand that the failure of a proportion of businesses is actually a good thing. Yes, of course it’s desperately sad for the investors, managers and staff but it’s just the way of business. In most economies it’s well known that half of all businesses fail within the first 18 months.

So why do we celebrate service stars? Because they give an example to follow. They are role models that other people can aspire to be. Whatever the industry we work in it’s great to have someone we can look up to, someone whose example we can copy and who can be a genuine hero. The more service champions that we have, the more others will try harder, the more money their employers will make and the more competition we will have.

And that’s what we want. More competition, more winners and losers and consumers who genuinely benefit from the fight for survival and the inevitable end-result: better customer service.

Our Christmas stars!

We have had so may Christmas stars to celebrate. We knew there were service stars that we should all celebrate and but we were delighted to realise quite how many of them exist. For a full list of all winners check out our website at

So who wins the star prize? Who is our Christmas superstar?

The winner of our star prize, P500 donated by First National Bank, is Blessed Monyatsi, one of the senior managers at Tebelopele. We received an email from someone who had visited the Tebelopele Testing Centre in Gaborone in a desperate emotional state. She was apparently very upset and needed a test during the lunchtime break. Finding nobody on duty she didn’t know what to do. When Blessed noticed her he took charge, arranged for her to be seen and tested during the break.

So what’s so special about what Blessed did?

It’s simple. He understood that even though Tebelopele are not a commercial organisation they nevertheless have customers who deserve attention and that as a service provider his convenience was not as important as a client’s needs.

He also didn’t see himself as a manager who should remain aloof and removed from his client’s needs. Despite the fact that it wasn’t actually his job to deal with the client he took personal responsibility for the situation and dealt with it.

He also realised that the emotional components of service are critical. OK, so maybe we can’t compare Tebelopele with a restaurant or a supermarket but nevertheless the feelings expressed by the client made it clear that rules needed to be broken, flexibility was required and that the personal needs of the client are paramount.

So, congratulations go to Blessed for demonstrating how it can be done, and also doing it so professionally and in anarea of Botswana life that is so important.

Friday 16 December 2005

A new target for Consumer Watchdog

This week’s column is going to be a little different. This week we’re going to do our best not to say anything bad about stores, restaurants, banks, micro-lenders, loan sharks or indeed anyone who sells us anything. All of these people have been on the receiving end of our attention over the last 9 months and for just one week we’re going to give them a break.

So, who is our target this week? Who is the poor, unfortunate victim? Whose weekend are we going to spoil?


Yes, you, the consumer.

OK, so maybe you think our job is to stand up for consumers? Maybe you think Consumer Watchdog is here just to support consumers who have been exploited, abused and disrespected?

Well, yes, that’s one of the things we are here to do. However, one of our most important (self-appointed) missions is to educate and inform customers and BOY have we got a long way to go!

Yes, we realise that the consumer community in Botswana is still young. We know how recently we got large shopping malls and what limited choice we had 10 years ago. So much of what we have now is recent so perhaps many of us aren’t used to variety, choice and competition.

But this is no excuse for gullibility, for accepting abuse like we don’t deserve better and for not standing up for our rights.

Why do we continue to fall for appalling store credit schemes? Why do we voluntarily sign up for store credit schemes that make us pay back so much more than the cash price? A recent offer we saw involved the highest proportional finance charges we had ever seen. The item on offer was a DVD player. If you had cash it would cost you P399. However if you opted for their credit scheme you would pay back over 2 years a grand total of P2,207! These figures are just ridiculous! If, instead of signing the credit agreement, you invested the monthly repayment amount in one of the new high interest, zero-charge bank accounts you could buy the same DVD player for cash after just 4 ½ months! And on top of that the bank would give you enough interest to rent your first DVD!

But the worst thing is that the reason this store advertises this scheme must be that people actually fall for it! Why would they waste money advertising if people didn’t select it?

It also still surprises us when we hear of consumers giving away their ATM cards and PIN numbers to loan sharks and the slightly more legitimate micro-lenders. Surely everyone knows that this is extreme foolishness? Would they trust any other total stranger with something as important as their ATM card?

Why do shoppers fall for it? We sometimes feel that consumers switch off their higher order brain functions when they see something they want. They are willingly persuaded by suppliers to do things that they must know are deeply foolish.

As we’ve said before in this column the answer to all this can be found in our pocket or purse. Look at a P5 coin. What does it say?


We need to rely on ourselves. Read what Dichaba Molobe has to say in his column in this paper every week. He writes a lot of good sense about self-reliance and the “entitlement mentality” we sometimes show. It’s genuinely not government’s fault that we sign up for these agreements. It’s not society’s fault either. Yes, some of the stores are exploiting us but it’s fundamentally our own fault. We really must begin to take responsibility for our own actions, particularly when it comes to money.

Don’t we all know by now that credit schemes are hugely expensive? Even if we aren’t so good at the maths surely we can tell that they’re ripping us off?

Don’t we know that loan sharks do NOT have our best interests at heart? They are lending us money so that they can make money and many of them go to extremes to get our money from us.

We must mature, get a grip and show some self-reliance. We can’t expect Government, suppliers and society in general to take the blame when we get ourselves into desperate financial problems because we’ve done something unwise.

As Karl Marx almost said, “Shoppers of the world, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your bad credit rating!”

This week’s stars!

  • Meshack nominated the team at TJ Trimmers who attended to his needs and didn’t even charge him! Both the manager and Paul win a Watchdog Christmas voucher for being service stars.
  • Tom called to nominate Enrico at Debonairs who not only apologised in writing for a mix-up but sent Tom’s kids ice cream to say sorry. A Woolworths voucher worth P100 donated by Standard Chartered goes to Enrico.
  • Neo celebrated Topollo at FNB who arranged to have Neo’s replacement credit card sent ahead to her in South Africa. A Game City worth P250 voucher goes to Topollo.
  • Boitumelo nominated Mr Bossman from Lewis who gets a Woolworths voucher worth P100 donated by Standard Chartered for responding to a customer’s complaint so well.
  • Lydia nominated Otsile from KFC for delivering a real “wow factor” and she’ll get a voucher.
  • Kabelo at BTC gets a P250 voucher donated by Stanbic bank for being a star. Kabelo is clearly passionate about service and has been nominated over and over again. BTC should be proud of him.
  • Lalala at Stanbic was nominated by Richard for being just fantastic and she gets a P250 voucher donated by Barclays.
  • Ellen nominated Teddy from TD Builders. She says he’s the first builder she’s ever met who does a job on time and within the quoted price. He’ll get a Christmas voucher for being unique!

Friday 9 December 2005

Watchdog’s Christmas wish list

Dear Santa Claus

We know that only good children are visited by Santa at Christmas but we think we’ve been pretty good all year. We’ve only been threatened with legal action twice and given that we make a habit of exposing extortionate interest rates, hidden charges and the occasional supplier or store who has no idea about standards we think that’s pretty good. So surely we deserve something?

We’ve given it a lot of thought and here’s our Christmas wish list.

Service stars

Send us some more service stars. We know there’s quite a few of them in Botswana already but we can’t get enough of them. So far we’ve celebrated around 100 people for delivering customer service over and above consumer’s expectations but we’re greedy and we want more! Every store, every restaurant, every bank should have service champions who can lead teams, train newcomers and, every so often, fire those who just can’t make it in a service setting. They can take the lead in improving our whole service culture and making us a country people talk about for being welcoming, friendly and hospitable. It shouldn’t be so difficult, surely? We are welcoming, friendly and hospitable aren’t we?

Suppliers who “get it”

Just as there are individuals who deliver top of the range service there should be suppliers that realise that excellent customer service makes them competitive, makes them achieve the best and makes them lots of money. There are a few companies that do this already but a few isn’t enough. We want more of them! We want much more competition in Botswana. Real competition. Yes, there’s room for it and things can only get better when those that excel make those that don’t either shape up or ship out.

More assertive shoppers

Please Santa, send us a large dose of assertiveness that we can share amongst shoppers and consumers. We don’t mean aggression, rudeness or confrontation, just assertiveness. Just the strength to stand up for our rights, to say “No” when we’re being abused and some backbone when the supplier tries to bully us.


Please send us some reason? We urgently need to send some to those suppliers that get all defensive when we raise our perfectly justifiable complaints with them.

We also need to distribute just a little bit among consumers themselves. Very occasionally the customer is wrong. Completely or partially wrong. Sometimes even unreasonable. Every now and then we need to give a consumer a dose of reason for when they have either been driven crazy by an awkward supplier or they just happen to be unreasonable in their expectations.

Some smiles

This should be easy as smiles are cheap! Send us a huge load of smiles that we can give suppliers, and indeed customers, to use when they deal with each other. We know that a smile at the beginning or end of a transaction or a complaint makes the whole thing much easier and much more satisfactory.


Some outlets urgently need some imagination. Restaurants need new menu items occasionally. OK, keep the items you know people love but be adventurous occasionally. It may not work but at least nobody will be able to criticise you for not trying.

Oh and give us some special offers. Just make them ones that work in Botswana please? Not ones limited to South Africa. We are not a province or a colony of South Africa. We are a separate country and you know what? We rather like it that way.

A little legal protection

Send us a few laws that can help to protect us. We don’t want many, just a few that will regulate the micro-lending industry, control store credit schemes and punish those that transgress. However, if you and your little helpers don’t have many laws to go round there is one we want more than any other. We want every company, whether a bank, a micro-lender or a furniture store to be forced to tell us every time they advertise what the total cost of a lending scheme will be. Make them include every charge, make them say what the annual percentage rate is and make them give us a compulsory cooling-off period so when our husband or wife blows a fuse we can change our minds!

However, and this is a big however, please do not send us anything like the litigation culture they have in the States. We don’t want to sue a company for compensation for our emotional trauma and psychotherapy bills every time they upset us, we just want the right to get our problem fixed. We really don’t want every tiny complaint sorted out 2 years later in the High Court having incurred huge legal costs, we wanted it sorted out for free on the shop floor this afternoon.

Legal threats

Lastly, can you please send us a few more suppliers who, the moment we criticise them by pointing out their outrageous interest rates or their complete contempt for their customers, will threaten to sue us for defamation? It does make us laugh such a lot!

Lots of love

Consumer Watchdog

This week’s stars!

  • All the guys at Kudu Filling Station in the Main Mall in Gaborone for being great fun
  • Raj at Plascon for being “just great at customer service”
  • Daniel and the team at BSPCA for being so caring, friendly and great with the animals
  • Enrico and the team at Kgale Debonairs Pizza for responding SO well to an issue a customer raised (free ice cream all round!)
  • Debbie and team at Waterbabies for donating an Adult swimming course as a Christmas prize

Friday 25 November 2005

Watchdog dresses up as Santa

Christmas is coming and Consumer Watchdog wants presents!

Not for ourselves of course, but to give away to the deserving service stars of Botswana.

In the run up to Christmas we’re asking those service providers who really care about customer service to donate Christmas prizes we can award to the service stars we celebrate and maybe even to the readers who recommend them. The prizes can be as big or as small as the suppliers can afford and can be either in cash, goods or vouchers, whatever the supplier thinks would be best. All the prizes will be announced in this column and on our GABZ FM radio show and lots of recognition will be given to the donors!

So how are we going to choose the winners?

Between now and the last Monday before Christmas we’re inviting you, our readers, and listeners to the GABZ FM show to contact us with details of the service providers who you think deserve a Christmas present. We want to find the real stars, not the ones who go just a little further than the rest but the ones who you think the nation as a whole should celebrate.

The rules are simple. You can’t nominate your brother, lover or colleague. It has to be a genuine employee of a service provider. It can be someone at a supermarket, filling station, restaurant or even the security guard at a shopping centre, anyone who delivers a service. Obviously we’re going to validate every recommendation to make sure there’s no funny business.

The judging panel will be the team at Mmegi and the presenters of the radio show.

All you need to do is drop us a line, email us, phone us or fax us with who they are and why you think they are so special.

Back to the suppliers!

We’ve already approached a number of the organisations we know from past experience like to recognise and reward success and we’ve had a great response from them. So, who has donated so far? Well, no surprises, it’s the usual suspects! Primi Piatti in Gaborone we first off the mark and have offered 4 P100 meal vouchers.

We’ve also had offers from Pick N Pay at Molapo Crossing and KFC in the Main Mall both in Gaborone. Nandos have donated 15 meal vouchers. Standard Chartered Bank have very generously donated P1,000 which will be awarded in P100 Woolworths vouchers. First National Bank have also been very generous and have offered P500 in cash which we’re going to set aside for the winner of winners which we’ll announce in the last week before Christmas. More and more offers are coming as and we’ll keep our readers up to date as we hear more!

So, all you other suppliers our Christmas appeal is to join us and help us to celebrate success. Let’s help our service champions have a great Christmas!

Separating the wheat from the chaff

One of the things we’ve noticed in our dealings with suppliers over the last year has been the great variety in approach and imagination between suppliers when it comes to dealing with customers and the community in general. Some suppliers, like the ones mentioned above, really do seem to care about the quality of service they deliver but as importantly the general levels of service available.

A few weeks ago 30 people contacted us to celebrate Blessing at Equatorial Coffee for being a generally fantastic guy. We gave Blessing a voucher that had been donated to Watchdog by Primi Piatti, just a few metres away from his workplace. However, some people have suggested to us that it is a bit strange that his reward for being great at Equatorial was a meal at Primi, a competitor outlet.

We don’t think it’s strange at all. Both Equatorial Coffee and Primi Piatti recognise that everyone benefited from this award. Equatorial come across as great for employing Blessing, a service star, Primi Piatti come across as being generous and committed to quality service and Blessing got a free meal! Did anyone suffer? Of course not! Will either Equatorial or Primi to lose business as a result? Of course not! Is Blessing upset that his reward was for a meal somewhere other than his workplace? Of course not!

Companies that really understand about customer service seem to get the picture. Their business will boom when they are seen as open, friendly and competitive but not protectionist, not secretive and not unimaginative. These companies understand that they themselves will benefit when there is greater competition. Competition separates the weak from the strong, the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff. In a competitive business environment all companies that deliver the best service will benefit. Did the opening of Primi Piatti put the Caravela Restaurant in Gaborone out of business (they are, after all, both great places to have a top-quality meal and compete with each other for business). Of course not, there’s room enough for two and each no doubt inspires the other to improve even further.

As Herbert Hoover said: "Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress."

This week’s stars!

  • Some while ago we twice celebrated Mojwadi from Bomaid for excellent service. We hear that in response to this Bomaid were so delighted with her being mentioned that they gave her a trip to Kasane as a reward. Good for Bomaid for recognising their star and for rewarding her!
  • The directors and staff of New Capitol Cinema, notably Gaone, for going out of their way to give a great time to a group of kids taken by SOS to see a film.
  • Cousin at Incredible Connection for putting a customer’s problem right and for compensating him very generously.
  • Tiro at Nandos for sorting out a customer’s reported problem so well.

Friday 18 November 2005

Do we want tourists or not?

Do we really want tourists to visit Botswana? Do we really? Are we sure?

We all know that our economy urgently requires diversification, that tourism has been identified as our great hope for the future and that we have some of the greatest tourist attractions in the world. We all know that tourists are already visiting Botswana and bringing with them foreign currency, international interest and can go a long way towards countering the negative coverage we may have received over the last couple of years.

So, given all that, why do we go out of our way to offend them?

Why do we treat them with contempt, discourtesy and disrespect?

So perhaps you don’t believe it? Perhaps you think that we treat them well? Here are two stories that were reported to us in the last couple of months.

At a hotel in Maun eight foreign tourists in a restaurant were completely ignored for ages by the owner and staff. When they finally began to show signs of getting up and leaving in protest at not being served, what did the owner do? Did he apologise, ask them what he could do to help, engage them in conversation and make them feel welcome? No. Did he offer them a snack and a free drink while they waited? No, funnily enough he didn’t.

He watched them leave.

So what are those foreign tourists telling their friends and relatives in their home country right now? Are they telling them that they came to a great country with courteous and friendly people who were really proud to welcome them to Botswana? Not a chance! They’re laughing at us, right now as you’re reading this.

The second story came from Kasane. Two foreign tourists had booked their stay at a leading hotel there in advance and had paid a deposit of P1,500. However shortly before they arrived they were forced to cut short their stay from three days to two because the travel agent had made a mix up with flights. The hotel was fine with this but insisted that the deposit they had paid was for three nights, not two and that the P500 that related to the third night could not be offset against their bill. They were told that they should pay the hotel the extra P500 cash instead and then claim back this amount from the travel agent when they were back in their home country.

After a lot of argument the hotel eventually cancelled P500 of totally unrelated items from their bill, like meals and drinks to compensate them for the deposit they had paid.

OK, so we don’t really understand this either. Does this make ANY sense to you? The point is why on earth should the tourists have to bother with all this? They had paid a deposit and that amount should be deducted from the bill. End of story. If the hotel have accounting and cash receipting problems that is not the customer’s problem!

It’s obviously beyond the scope of this column to comment on government economic policy, the diversification of the economy and how exactly to run a tourist centre but there are times when we at Consumer Watchdog really wonder whether some hotels and restaurants are actively trying to sabotage our tourism industry. They seem to be going out of their way to send tourists home with the very lowest impression of Botswana.

Is it really too much to ask that we treat all visitors, whether domestic or international, to excellent service? It doesn’t need to be ingratiating, fawning and servile. Regardless of where they come from most visitors just want a smile, a friendly welcome and staff that actually show an interest in looking after them.

One thing that perhaps we should all remember is that the vast majority of the tourists that come to Botswana aren’t millionaires. They’re not Bill Gates, they’re just ordinary people like you and me who have probably saved up for ages to have a once in a lifetime holiday that they hope to remember for the rest of their lives. The sort of holiday they’ll tall their grandchildren about.

As we’ve said before, contrary to what some people say the customer is NOT king or queen. The customer is just another guy who deserves good treatment. Everyone deserves it whether they live here or are a tourist, whether they are rich or poor, whether they are black or white. We all deserve the very best treatment.

However as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, foreign tourists may end up being our bread and butter, our pap and seswa. We absolutely must really examine the way we treat these visitors who may keep our economy going in the future.

We call on all the relevant bodies, including the Department of Tourism, HATAB, travel agents and, most of all, the service providers in tourist destinations to shape up. Commit yourselves to the very highest levels of service, to giving our visitors the greatest welcome and the best memories of the greatest country in Africa.

This week’s stars!

  • Montshiwa from Tyre Services for stopping a motorist with a flat tyre and advising them to get it fixed urgently. Great service and excellent business sense!
  • Maneo, also from Tyre Services, for fixing the tyre efficiently, quickly and with a smile.
  • Brian at Funrmart for “being a star”
  • Choppies Phakalane for being friendly, helpful and being really great with customers.
  • Staff at Akermans Riverwalk and Broadhurst for being helpful. Apparently they even look after your kids for you when you shop!

Friday 11 November 2005

How DO they justify it?

We’ve reported in this column on numerous occasions on some of the store credit options available to shoppers in Botswana. We’ve reported on the outrageous activities and charges applied by some of the less appealing micro-lenders. We’ve also reported on the rates charged by the stores around the country. Some of the rates charged have been truly staggering.

A few weeks ago we were stunned to find what is perhaps the highest ever store credit charge we’ve ever seen. The item in question was a budget DVD player. If you bought it for cash you would need to pay just P399 which is actually pretty cheap. Sounds like a bargain and it probably is!

However, if you were to opt for the store’s own credit scheme you would pay somewhat more than P399. Firstly you would need to pay a deposit of P95. Then, every month for 2 whole years, you would need to pay back P88. At the end of the 2 years you would have paid back a staggering total of P2,207. Remember that this is for an item that costs just P399 if you have the cash. For those of you without a calculator to hand that’s an annual percentage rate of 227%!

We at Consumer Watchdog cannot recall ever having seen an APR that high ever before, anywhere in the world.

When we mentioned these figures the store contacted us and disputed our figures, saying that we hadn’t taken into account the optional elements of the charges and were being unfair to them. Our response was that they had published the very figures we had used and we felt that our arithmetic was therefore correct.

So why do some stores charge such high interest rates? To make money of course!

However, to be fair to the stores (yes we are always fair, despite what some people say) they will say that they are forced to charge such high rates to protect themselves against the large proportion of customers that fail to make payments.

So what’s our response to that? The reason so many customers fail to keep up with the payments is that they are so high!!!!! It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The higher the repayments, the more who will default, thus requiring the rates to be made even higher etc etc etc.

Surely if they lowered the cost of their credit schemes fewer customers would default?

The good news

Yes, there is good news. Not all stores charge 227% interest rates!

In advertisements last week we found the following.

Hi Fi Corporation will sell you a laptop computer for P3,699 for cash, but on their 2-year credit scheme you’ll pay back a total of P7,378 which is an APR of 50%. Still a little on the high side but a whole lot better than 227%!

OK Furniture have a fridge for sale for cash at P1,049. If you choose to pay over 2 years, you’ll pay back a total of on P1,526, an APR of only 23% (one tenth of the 227% figure!).

Best of all if you go to Game and like the TV they are selling for P1,199 for cash you can get it on 2-year credit for P1,536, an APR of only 14%! Searching through the Game literature we couldn’t find any APR higher than about 16%.

We confess that we are completely unable to explain how one store can get away with demanding 227% and another just a few hundred meters away can charge 14%.

Incidentally, before any angry store manager writes in and complains about our comparisons, yes we do know that rates vary according to the value of the item (cheaper items usually attract higher rates). We also know that some figures include delivery and insurance but that’s rarely made crystal clear in the advertisements. And anyway, Mr Store Manager, if you give figures in public advertisements that suggest you charge 227% in interest and you in fact don’t charge this amount we suggest you get a new advertising agency!

So what are our lessons for consumers?

Don’t buy on credit unless you absolutely must. If you can live without what you want for a few months, put the same amount you would have paid each into a high interest account and earn interest on it. That way the bank will actually help you pay for whatever you want!

Back to the DVD we mentioned at the beginning of the article. Instead of going for their credit scheme just put aside the P88 they would make you pay each month into a bank account. In less than 5 months you would have saved the total cash price of the DVD player. Yes, FIVE months instead of TWENTY-FOUR.

If you really DO need to buy on credit then shop around! Identical items can vary enormously when bought on credit. For almost exactly the same total repayment you could get a DVD player worth P399 or an entire home theatre system worth P1,899.

Check your budget. Yes, it’s very boring advice but please check first whether you can afford the repayment and whether you are really confident that you will be able to afford them every month. These credit schemes make no allowances for unplanned funerals, car repairs or school fees. Do you really want to sentence yourself to 2 years hard labour paying back a loan?

Do you really need it anyway? Won’t your current fridge survive for another few months? Patch it up and put the money aside in a savings scheme!

This week’s stars!

  • Dave at Skip Hire for being efficient and helpful
  • Gaborone Cricket Club for organising a fantastic fireworks event
  • Lyndsay at HRMC for being a star

Friday 4 November 2005

How to complain - Part 2

Last week we talked about some of the key rules about complaining. We did this because almost all of us actually find complaining very difficult and we often find it difficult to complain in a way that actually works. We end up either giving in because we are too polite or else we find ourselves shouting and screaming because we’ve been pushed beyond reasonable endurance.

The rules we outlined were quite simple but they can all be overlooked in the heat of battle!

Calm down. Keep it cool and you’ll stay in control.

Be reasonable. Yes, sometimes we get SO mad but it’s critical not to lose the battle by becoming the bad guy. Make sure you remain the good guy at ALL times.

Seek advice. Don’t forget that there ARE people out there who will help!

Put it in writing. Phone calls, emails and conversation aren’t good enough. If you mean it, write it and post it!

Keep records. Keep copies of everything. Every receipt, invoice and letter. Keep notes from how many calls you’ve made, including names of the people you spoke to. Everything.

Escalate. If the little guy on the other side doesn’t help you then talk to the big guy! “Never accept a No from someone not able to give you a Yes”!

Don’t give up. Do not let them grind you down.

Chase them. “Fortune favours the brave”. Take the battle to them. Phone them every week. For ever or until they give in!

Take control. They are in the wrong, you are in the right. You are in charge.

Manipulate their emotions. Appeal to their better nature. Even if they don’t actually have one they probably want the public to think that they do.

Get nasty. Set your MP on them. If that doesn’t work then call us and we’ll set Kate and her team of watchdogs on them!

So how actually do you do it?

This sounds very easy but how exactly do you do it? How exactly do you write a letter that sticks to these principles?

Keep it short and simple

Try your best to keep all letters of complaint short, simple and direct. Give the supplier enough information to research the matter but don’t go on and on. If they are faced with four pages of ranting they will not understand what actually went wrong. Be fair to them and make it easy to understand.

Give them facts

Give them all the boring dates, locations, names, model numbers and serial numbers. Say things like “On 15th October 2005 at 11:45 I purchased an Acme Widget 321 for P599 from your store at Toy City, serial number 123456789. When I first used the Widget the whatsit did not operate according to the manual and the thingamajig was cracked.”

Give them evidence

Give them photocopies of receipts or invoices. Do NOT give them the originals. Many stores really do have internal rules that require receipts as proof of purchase so they really can’t do much without a receipt.

If you’ve lost the receipt (we’ve all done it) you should still complain, explain that you don’t have the receipt but try and supply them with other evidence like a credit card bill, debit card transaction slip or the original packaging.

Give them a solution

Tell them exactly what will make you go away and give them a quiet life. Give them the solution you want. Say things like “I require an apology and for your company to compensate me for the phone calls, taxi fares and medical expenses I have incurred. So far this totals P400.”

Also make I clear what is NOT acceptable. Say things like “Unfortunately a replacement is not acceptable as I no longer have faith in this manufacturer.”

However, don’t go over the top. Don’t demand the earth when all that’s needed is an apology and a free voucher. Thankfully Botswana isn’t a litigation-happy culture like the USA and we really don’t want to see it become that way. A broken DVD player does NOT entitle you to compensation for your emotional trauma and the psychotherapy sessions you needed as a result. Be realistic!

Don’t be crazy

Don’t write in capitals, it just looks like your shouting. Don’t write a complaint letter in green ink. It’s just weird! Don’t become a stalker. Don’t give them an opportunity to reject you as a lunatic!

Do NOT let them pressurise you

A few companies just cannot take criticism. We’ve seen it often during our time fighting for consumers. When faced with a genuine complaint rather than fix it promptly and courteously they get defensive, they then go into denial and they finally get aggressive. We’ve been threatened with litigation by stores twice in the last couple of weeks just because we defended someone or reported facts. Clearly some stores think that by acting like this they’ll frighten consumers away from standing up for their rights.

If a supplier you are arguing with gets aggressive then you should understand that this is almost certainly because they realise they’re in the wrong and they don’t want anyone to know this.

So don’t be threatened or pressurised. If they get heavy with you then give us a call. There are few things Consumer Watchdog enjoys more than taking on a supplier who’s getting nasty!

If you can do all these things your complaint stands a really good chance of motivating the right person to fix your problem for you, of getting your what you want and allowing you to get in with your life!

This week’s stars!

  • Lawrence and the technical team at Securicor for being friendly, quick and really helpful
  • Kabelo at BTC for making things happen!
  • Also at BTC, Alice and Tsholofelo for listening to a customer and following up.
  • Kgomotso at Aluminium 2000 for being really friendly and great at customer service
  • Goitsemang at Stanbic Fairgrounds for going beyond the call of duty

Friday 21 October 2005

How to complain

Let’s be frank. Most of us aren’t very good at complaining. Either we find it too difficult, too embarrassing or we just don’t know how to phrase it. Finding the right words to express the complaint is often very tricky.

So this week we’re giving some free tips on how to complain.

But first, some essentials of complaining.

The golden rules of complaining

Calm down. So often when we feel we have good reason to complain we’re already angry, upset or feeling abused. It’s very easy when we feel like this to lash out and forget that we need to be reasonable as we do it. A shop owner who is presented with a complaining customer who is shouting and swearing will rightly throw him out. So before you complain, calm down. Go for a walk, have a cup of tea, watch TV for a while. Do anything that reduces your blood pressure and that will enable you to deal with the situation calmly. It’s not going to help your complaint if you have a coronary or a stroke before you get back to the store!

Be reasonable. Don’t forget that mistakes happen, even in the best stores. Give them the chance to sort out your problem in a friendly fashion first of all. Have a quiet word with the manager and see if they don’t sort it out immediately. All decent stores (and they DO exist) will remedy things instantly and without a big fuss.

Seek advice. Talk to someone you trust about what to do. Talk to your parents, your cousin the accountant, someone trusted in your community or even to us, your friendly neighbourhood Consumer Watchdog! Get their opinion on your complaint. Ask them to tell you frankly if you are being reasonable and listen to what they say. Occasionally we all get a little over-excited and lose grip on reality so we need someone to help us to see reason.

Put it in writing. If the store doesn’t fix it after you’ve approached them in a friendly way then start to get tough. Put your complaint in writing and post it, fax it or hand it in. Most importantly though, keep copies of everything you write. Mark everything with the date you sent it or the name of the person you handed it to. If you have problems phrasing the letters then see below.

Keep records. As well as keeping copies of your letters, keep records of the phone calls you make, the visits to the store, the people you deal with and what they say. Also make sure you keep everything you can such as receipts, invoices and their letters back to you. Be at least as organised as they are!

Escalate. If your complaint doesn’t get the result you wanted then go to the next stage up the ladder. Decent, large organisations have a complaints procedure so get a copy of it if you can. BTC, to their great credit, have their complaints procedure displayed openly in their centres and have even published it in the press. This will tell you the sequence of people to hassle to get things sorted. Go to the very top if necessary.

Don’t give up. Stick to your guns. If you’re convinced that your complaint is valid then don’t give up. Take it higher and higher until you get to someone who has the authority to order their juniors to fix it. As Warona Setshwaelo on GabzFM likes to say: “Don’t take a No from someone who isn’t empowered to give you a Yes”. Do NOT be put off by some arrogant junior who think he or she is in charge when there’s someone more important who can overrule them.

Chase them. One of the standard tricks used by unscrupulous stores is silence. They’ll receive your letter and then do absolutely nothing. They won’t acknowledge your complaint and they’ll hope you’ll get bored, go away and forget the whole thing. So don’t stop. Phone them every couple of days and ask them who’s dealing with it. Ask them when you can expect a response. Bother them into submission. Fight silence with noise!

Take control. In your letters give them deadlines. Say things like “I expect a response from you regarding this complaint within 14 days”. Obviously make it reasonable so they have the chance to investigate but don’t make it too easy for them. You are the customer, you deserve a quick response.

Manipulate their emotions. Say things in your letters like “I realise that the conduct of your staff did not meet the normally very high standards at XXX so I am sure your are as disappointed and surprised as I am”. Appeal to their pride.

Get nasty. If all else fails then quote Shakespeare to yourself. “Cry Havoc and let loose the dogs of war!”. Threaten them with legal action, endless bad publicity and a mass boycott of their store. Write to your MP. Remember that politicians love an opportunity to look good by standing up for the little guy against the cruel oppressor.

And if you feel like getting really nasty? Seriously nasty? Unbelievably nasty?

Call us and we’ll set Kate and her team of watchdogs on them!

This week’s stars!
Lawrence at Securicor for being friendly, professional and efficient.
Patrick and the team at Mr Moves for being speedy and really efficient.
Boy from Facilities Management Group for being great fun and going the extra mile.
Lebopo, Ahmed and Cedric and the rest of the new management team at BotswanaPost for showing that organisations here in Botswana can turn around and lead the way!

Friday 14 October 2005

How can we protect ourselves?

Last week’s crazy business plan

Last week we went a little crazy and considered setting up our own loan shark business. We thought we’d begin by operating from our current employer’s office so we would get free tea and biscuits and the occasional promotion for looking busy. We thought we adopt the traditional loan shark approach of charging vicious interest rates, pretending to operate according to the rules set by the Micro Lending Association, taking victim’s ATM cards and PINs, taking as much money from their accounts as we like (because there’s nothing they can do to stop us) and then getting nasty when they can’t or won’t pay us back.

However, after serious reflection we decided that it probably wasn’t such a good idea. Firstly, we feared that sooner or later Government is going to get really nasty towards unscrupulous loan sharks and start passing laws that would make our activities illegal. Much as we’d like to make loads of money we’d prefer not to do so from a prison cell.

Secondly, we had a crisis of morality. Isn’t it, well, morally wrong to rip off the financially unfortunate? Isn’t it also likely that the people we want exploit will one day turn against us and throw us money-lenders out of the temple? Perhaps if we have a conscience we shouldn’t really go into the lending business?

All of this was prompted by the various investigations we’ve undertaken in the past which showed loan sharks operating from beneath trees in car parks and others from their government offices. We found loan sharks who claim to have letters from banks authorising them to take ATM cards from their customers. When we told the banks about this they were furious as it’s a complete lie. No such letters have ever existed and never will.

We’re back on the straight and narrow

Instead we’re going to go back to our original aim. To see how we can protect consumers from the people we almost became.

So what’s the solution? What can consumers do to protect themselves? What protection can we seek from others? Who’s there to look after us?

We think that much of the answer is staring us in the face. Well, the message is in our pocket or purse. Look at a P5 coin. What does it say?


We need to rely on ourselves. Read Dichaba Molobe’s column in this paper. He writes a great deal of good sense about self-reliance and the “entitlement mentality” we sometimes show. As we have said before our parents were right. There comes a time when we have to take responsibility for our own actions, particularly when it comes to money.

Don’t we all know by now that loans from loan sharks are hugely expensive? Even if we aren’t so good at the maths surely we can tell that they’re ripping us off? Surely we know that giving our ATM card and PIN to a total stranger who has a financial hold over us is, well, silly?

The bad news is that we really can’t expect Government, the banks and society in general to take the blame when we get ourselves into desperate financial problems because we’ve taken a wrong turn financially and sold our soul to the financial devil.

Some tips on taking personal responsibility

This is perhaps insultingly obvious but before you do anything you know to be unwise ask for advice!

We all have people around us that we can turn to for advice. There’s usually a family member or friend we can trust who is not only wise but can do maths as well and can look at what we plan to do. If you don’t have someone like that then go to your kid’s school. Take the Maths teacher an apple and ask his or her advice.

Go to your Church. Someone there will help you think through your options. Mention something about moneylenders and temples!

Please, please, please, before you borrow money to pay off other debts, first talk to the people to whom you already owe money. Whether it’s your landlord, your bank or a utility company the chances are that they would much rather do a deal with you than waste loads of money taking legal action against you. Isn’t it better to restructure your existing debts before getting into even more debt?

Talk to your employer. Many employers will advance you some salary that you can then pay off gradually, often without any interest at all. Yes, it might be embarrassing but surely it’s better than going to a loan shark? At least your employer is obliged by law to treat you reasonably and not to rip you off.

What can Government do?

Despite us urging ipelegeng we do think that there is an obligation on Government to set the scene and to set certain limits on what’s acceptable.

We think Government should pass laws that control the micro-lending industry. We think there should be some limits on how micro-lenders can operate. Despite the good work of the Micro Lending Association we think there should be controls that have real force. Real force that’s backed up by the fear of closure, financial penalties and prosecution.

They simply shouldn’t be permitted to lend too much, at outrageous interest rates and without proper registration and inspection. Food inspectors can just walk into a restaurant and inspect the premises for cleanliness, hygiene and good practice. It should be the same with micro-lenders.

The lesson

Ipelegeng. You know it makes sense!

This week’s stars!

  • Titus at Pick N Pay at Molapo Crossing for going the extra mile and being helpful
  • The Police for responding to a letter of praise by publishing the letter in the Police magazine as an inspiration to other officers. The officers were Senior Superintendent Gondo from Police HQ and Assistant Superintendent Fane and Sergeant Kerekang both from Borakanelo Police Station in Gaborone.

Friday 7 October 2005

Consumer Watchdog starts up a new business

We’ve been inspired by our recent investigations and the on-going activities of the informal lending sector to consider a new business venture. Rather than compete we’re going to join the competition. We’re going to become loan sharks.

We’ll get cheap office space

Firstly we’re going to operate from our existing employer’s office. After all they very generously give us an office so why shouldn’t we use it? That way we won’t have to pay any heating, water or phone bills, we’ll get occasional cups of tea and plates of biscuits at the meetings we can’t avoid and we’ll have people to chat to when business is quiet.

We’ll also look like we’re really busy with all the visitors we’ll get. The boss may even think we’re performing really well. We might even get promoted!

We’ll charge vicious interest rates

First rule of the business - we’ll charge exorbitant interest rates. Of course we know that our victims, sorry clients, will be able to get a loan from their bank at a much lower interest rate and without having to make enormous sacrifices, but well, we don’t care. We’ll charge a huge amount more than them but we’ll hide it by giving you ridiculous rewards like P50 if you bring along another victim! If you pay on time we’ll very generously splash out P20 and give you a couple of cans of a sugar-laden, tooth-rotting, diabetes-inducing, fizzy drink we got cheap somewhere.

We’ll also trick you by relying on the fact that you weren’t so good at maths at school. We’ll quote monthly interest rates instead of the annual rates banks quote. We’ll somehow forget to mention the penalties we’ll impose on you if you default on a repayment. We’ll not even mention the issue of compounded interest! Why would we want to bother you will all those boring facts? You might change your mind and not borrow anything from us!

We’ll pretend to be legitimate

We’ll suggest (but never actually prove) that we’re members of the Micro Lenders Association and that consequently we’re governed by their rules and that as a result we have to behave reasonably. Obviously we’ll probably never join them. Why would we want to?

Of course if for some reason we DO have to join them we’ll just break the rules flagrantly. We’ll charge more than the 30% per month limit they impose, we’ll just not tell them. Yes, we’ll pretend to abide by the rules, such as registering every customer with Compuscan, their computerised register of customers that helps to prevent people borrowing too much. But why would we really want to? That would only stop us from lending money to people who can struggle to pay us back all that money and that lovely interest! Why don’t we just not register them and continue to lend? What’s the worst that might happen?

“Give us your ATM card”

Of course we’ll demand that you give us your ATM card and give us your PIN before we actually give you any money. You won’t need it as much as we will. After all, how can we guarantee we’ll get our money from you? Also, if we feel like taking a little more from you because we’re either having a bad month or, well, we just feel like it, we’ll be able to!

If by any chance you happen to find out that we’ve taken a little too much what will you be able to do about it? Complain to your bank? They’ll just tell you that you shouldn’t have given away your ATM card and PIN. They’ll say it’s all your fault and they’re not in any way responsible. Guess what? They’ll be right!

And if you hear that giving your ATM card to a loan shark like us is a bad idea of course we’ll tell about the letter of authorisation we have from various banks that allows us to do so with their blessing. We won’t actually show you the letter though. That’s because it doesn’t exist. It never did. It never will do. But it sounds good doesn’t it?

Give us your bank statements and Omang as well

We’ll also demand to see copies of your bank statements before we give you’re the money. Why? Well, obviously so we can see how much you earn and therefore can get an idea how much we can persuade you to borrow. Also so we have a good idea how much money is normally in your account and how much we can take if we have one of those bad months!

Oh yes we’ll also demand to see your Omang number and get details of your address and personal details. That way we can pretend to be you and call the credit agencies to check up on your status every now and then. We know how easy that is!

We’ll make you ours for life!

So you find it difficult to make the repayments because we charge all that interest? By mid-month you can’t afford what you owe us? Borrow some more! We’ll happily lend you another few hundred to tide you over until pay day. So that will only make you more dependent upon us?

Why on earth should we care?????

And if you refuse to pay?

So you get to the point that you simply can’t or won’t pay us back what you owe us? Excellent! We’ll just come round and borrow your sofa, your car, your father’s car. Permanently.

Oh and we’ll then punish the next guy who borrows from us with an even higher interest rate to get our money back. We don’t really care who pays us so long as we get the money.

Oh and if you threaten to report us to the Police, the City Council, Consumer Affairs or your lawyers?

We’ll break your fingers!

OK. We’re sorry. We don’t mean it. We’re joking. Honestly. Promise!

But can’t you just hear this going through the heads of some of the loan sharks around the country? Can’t you see why there are so many of them? Can’t you see why we need protection from this sort of abuse? Loan sharks like wild dogs prey on the weakest, the most desperate and those in distress.

What’s the solution?

Read next week’s article for some ideas!

Friday 30 September 2005

Free tips for stores and suppliers

Over the last few months in this column we’ve advised consumers on all sorts of things they can do to protect themselves against crippling loan sharks, abusive credit schemes and the generally poor levels of service we consumers receive. This week we’re going to outline some tips, not for us but for suppliers. Some basic rules we think they should adopt to treat us properly and by doing so to gain our custom, earn our loyalty and perhaps even make themselves lots of money?

We realise that these tips are actually obvious but it’s a constant surprise to us that they are so often forgotten. Don’t some suppliers ever take the time to think about how they do business? Don’t some suppliers actually care?

Be honest with us

Don’t make stuff up. Don’t make up answers on the spot just to look good! If we ask you something and you don’t know the answer just be open with us. We’ll respect you for telling us the truth. Just tell us that you don’t know but that you’ll find out. Then make sure that you do!

This honesty extends to the special deals you offer us. Most of us have heard of the false offers we are sold. Only recently we were told of a clothing store that was offering 20% discounts on their range. When our shopper looked closely at the labels these showed the normal price and the new discounted price and yes the discount came to 20%. However when she looked closely she saw that underneath these labels were the original labels that showed that the so-called original price quoted had just been increased! Rather than a 20% discount they were only offering a 7% discount. We can only assume that they deliberately increased the price so that the discount seemed better.

Don’t forget. If you lie, you will get found out, sooner or later.

Show us some respect

We are your customer. We are the ones who are bringing OUR hard-earned money into YOUR store and who MAY consider giving it to you in return for a product. Please show us a little respect. Don’t treat us like we’re irritations, interruptions or idiots. As a community we are increasingly prepared to take our money elsewhere. There are actually very few companies that don’t have a competitor who’d love to get our business and take it away from you.


Don’t some of you realise this yet? Customers really appreciate being greeted with a smile. Doesn’t everyone know that smiling actually makes you, the person smiling, happier? A happier salesperson performs better, is more attentive and makes more money for the business.

Leave your problems at home. If your weekend was awful, you had an argument with your partner or the kids were awful don’t take it out on us. It wasn’t our fault!

So just smile when you greet us OK? Then smile again when we buy something. Then smile yet again when we leave. Smile a few times in between as well!

Be flexible

Allow us to have what we want, within reason. If we don’t want exactly what’s on the menu, why don’t you let us have something a little different? The best restaurants don’t see this as an issue, in fact they encourage it!

Be imaginative

Come up with some bright ideas every so often. Offer us some special deals (ones that really mean something). Give us new items on the menu, new products, maybe even something free?


Please take responsibility for your actions. If something has gone wrong with the products or services you supply, own up to it, remedy the problem and learn from it. When there’s a problem be polite, don’t get defensive, research the matter and if it turns out that you the supplier were at fault then just fix it without fuss. And don’t forget to apologise for the inconvenience your customer experienced.

The customer is not king!

Yes, you read that right. Despite what we’ve read recently in other papers the customer is not king. The customer is just an ordinary guy. It’s not just kings that deserve respect, we all do.

Furthermore the customer is NOT always right. Sometimes the customer is just plain wrong. Sometimes the customer is demanding way too much. Sometimes the customer isn’t worth the effort. Instead of wasting time and money fighting to keep a troublesome customer, sometimes you should willingly lose them and concentrate your efforts on us, the reasonable ones!

A free idea for bars

It’s maybe not our job to lecture people on road safety and drink driving but here’s an idea we’ve shamelessly stolen from another country where we saw it work.

When a group of more than 4 people arrive in a bar one should be able to declare himself the nominated driver. He then gets a badge he can wear which tells all the staff that he shouldn’t be given any alcoholic drinks. Instead he gets a free non-alcoholic drink in every round the group orders. The cost of this is met by the bar management. Like KBL’s great idea over recent holidays when they offered to contribute towards taxi fares it’s a way for the industry to contribute towards the safety of their customers and perhaps even to save a few lives?

Oh and make up some interesting non-alcoholic drinks, not just orange juice and Coke. We’ve put some fruit cocktail recipes on our website if you need inspiration!

This week’s stars!

  • Mojwadi in Customer Services at Bomaid who is apparently “efficient, friendly and helpful”.
  • Thato at BTC for great service. Our reader says that “he takes his time and is patient, and took all the rubbish I gave him without complaining”.
  • Willie at Dros in Gaborone for really friendly service. One reader contacted us to remark on the excellent service there and our mystery shoppers were impressed with Willie in particular.

Friday 23 September 2005

Be safe at the ATM

This week Consumer Watchdog have been thinking a lot about ATM security. This started when we heard from a reader who had been visiting Namibia and tried to withdraw some cash from a bank while she was there. She inserted her card into what she thought was a perfectly normal ATM but it immediately shut down and kept her card. Very sensibly she went straight into the branch and reported that there had been a problem but left her travelling companion and the security guard outside to make sure that the card didn’t emerge while she was inside the bank. She got the bank to cancel the card immediately and was told that no further debits would be allowed using her card.

So far so good?

When she finally got home to Botswana she was horrified to find that after she had reported the incident and stopped the card P2,000 had been taken from her account using a different ATM and there had been 9 failed attempts to use the card, all of which had been declined.

Somehow the crooks managed to get her card from the machine while she was inside the bank and her friend was surrounded by people.

She wrote to her bank demanding her money back and clearly she has a good justification for a refund. She did exactly what she should have done which is to report the incident as soon as she possibly could.

However, at the time of writing, the bank have still not refunded her the stolen amount and are suggesting that they may not be obliged to. You can rest assured that Consumer Watchdog will continue to pursue this one!

Meanwhile we’ve been thinking about the measures we should all take to ensure our money is safe and we don’t get ripped off at ATMs.

Card skimming

Many readers will have read reports in the papers or on TV about the schemes that crooks are using to steal money from us at ATMs. The most commonly reported is known as “card skimming”. The crook places a device over the card slot in the ATM. This reads the details on the card and records or transmits them to the nearby crook. At the same time a tiny camera attached to the ATM machine films you entering your PIN number. By now the crooks have everything they need to make a copy of your card and to go to an ATM and withdraw your money.

As far as Consumer Watchdog is aware this hasn’t actually arrived in Botswana yet but it has been seen in South Africa so no doubt we’re next!

What can we do?

There are some very simple precautions we can take. To begin with we should try to notice anything peculiar about the ATMs we use. Does the machine look the same as the last time you used it? Is it the same as other machines you’ve used? Are there any strange attachments that you’ve not seen before?

A simple precaution is to cover your hand as you enter your PIN. Use your other hand, your purse or your wallet to hide the number as you key it in.

We should all take some very simple precautions whenever we go to an ATM. Don’t allow strangers to help you. If you need help get a family member, trusted friend or perhaps even a bank employee to do it, not a stranger.

Concentrate on what you are doing. Criminals will try and distract you by engaging you in conversation while either they or their companions take your belongings.

Be aware of your surroundings as you approach, use and leave the ATM. Keep an eye open for anyone acting strangely.

If you have ANY concerns, don’t use the ATM. Go to another one or come back later. If you see anything strange report it to the bank immediately. The banks would much rather have a few false alarms than allow crooks to get away with crime.

When you travel, take the emergency phone numbers that you’re given by your bank. If there’s a problem phone them and cancel the card. It will cost you money to make the call but if your card is stolen it could easily cost you a thousand times more! The bank is responsible for everything that happens from the moment you tell them you think that card security has been compromised. Make sure that you keep details of the reference numbers the bank give you and the names of the people you speak to in case there are any disputes later!

Finally, and yes, like so much of our advice this is rather boring, but check your bank statements! Keep the slips the ATMs give you and check them against your statement each month.

We’ve put a few links on our website that go into more detail about ATM fraud. You can see them if you visit, click on Consumer Watchdog and then on Current Campaigns.

This week’s stars!

  • Jackie at Travelwise in Gaborone for being proactive and energetic and for getting the best travel deals in town.
  • Joe and the team at BB Motors in Gaborone for being fantastic, for being prompt, efficient, friendly and above all for doing what they promise they'll do!
  • Joel and Motsumi at BP filling station in Broadhurst for being really friendly and efficient, "it's clear you really want to serve your customers!"
  • Nandos in the African Mall in Gaborone for listening and changing the way they do things when customers ask!
  • The Reach for a Dream Foundation for doing such amazing work, particularly Jacqueline.
  • The staff in the Emergency Room at the Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone who responded very quickly to an emergency involving a child.

Friday 16 September 2005

Some more success stories

Consumer Watchdog has had another busy week helping to sort out consumer’s problems.

The dead decoder

One of our readers contacted us regarding a problem she’d had with her DSTV decoder. She bought it from HiFi Corporation in Gaborone last year but didn’t get around to installing it as she was moving house. When she finally plugged it in she found that it didn’t work. However, the bad news is probably during the house move she’d lost her receipt. To make matters worse she had paid for it in cash so there was no credit card or cheque record of her buying it.

When she took it back to HiFi Corporation as a gesture of good faith they sent it for repair only to find that the decoder was completely dead and couldn’t be repaired at all. Technically of course HiFi Corporation weren’t obliged to repair it as there was no proof it was bought from them. When she contacted us we made a couple of calls to HiFi Corporation who started investigating. Eventually, using the serial number of the decoder they managed to confirm that they HAD sold it and even though their supplier wasn’t willing to fix it, HiFi Corporation have now said they will replace the decoder for her.

The lesson? Well, we all know this anyway but we must do our best to keep receipts safe. However, even if they do get lost a decent supplier will do their best to track the purchase and will fix it when they’ve confirmed that it’s their responsibility. Even better suppliers, like HiFi Corporation on this occasion, will go one further and bear the cost of replacing it when they know it’s the right thing to do.

In future articles we’ll be covering in much more detail some of the things we think consumers should remember when buying expensive items as well as a number of proposals for our legislators and government that we think would provide us with greater protection.

What to do with a huge cheque

We heard from a reader who had waited and waited at a bank for assistance in opening a new account. Twenty minutes after being acknowledged and still without being served she walked out. She later phoned the branch manager to complain and she still hasn’t had her call returned.

Why was she so cross? Because in her pocket there was a cheque for P100,000 that she wanted to deposit in the new account.

When we got involved we spoke to the Marketing Manager of the bank who is now chasing the potential customer desperate for her business. Unfortunately another bank is now also chasing her and doesn’t have a failure to recover from!

The lesson? Well, we all know this as well but shop around! And if you happen to have P100,000 in your pocket then make the banks work for it. Make them come to you. We suggest that you send all the banks a fax saying:

“I’ve got P100,000. Tell me within 24 hours why I should lend it you!”

You’ll find out pretty quickly which is the best bank for you.

Mystery shopping

It’s hard work but someone’s got to do it. Consumer Watchdog have been mystery shopping bars in Gaborone. So far we’ve visited 5 bars and the results are as follows. In ascending order:

Pula le Thebe bar at the President Hotel
Shame. No atmosphere, dark and almost empty. The only redeeming feature was friendly staff. Extremely expensive beer! Overall score – 4/10.

Campers bar, Extension 10
Simple but bright, friendly and cheap. A good community bar. Overall score 6/10.

Keg & Zebra, Riverwalk
Prompt and very friendly service but no great atmosphere. Spoiled if you sit outside by being in the middle of a car park! Overall score 7/10.

News Cafe
Great atmosphere, particularly if you like your bars noisy, busy and friendly. Overall score 8/10.

Café Khwest, Main Mall
Wow! Only recently opened but full of people having fun, great staff and management and a fantastic atmosphere. Overall score 9/10.

We’ll continue the very hard work of reviewing bars over the next few weeks. Please let us know of your favourites so we can check them out!

This week’s stars!

  • 30 regular customers at Equatorial Coffee at Riverwalk in Gaborone emailed us to celebrate Blessing. They say that he “deserves the title of Gaborone's best, as he is attentive, quick, with just the right dose of familiarity and respect. We are lucky to have him.” We’ll be giving Blessing the last of the P150 vouchers very generously donated to us by Primi Piatti a few weeks ago.
  • Andrew, the manager at HiFi Corporation for sorting out the problem we reported on earlier. It shows that suppliers can be good!
  • The staff and management at Café Khwest in Gaborone for running a great bar and, above all, for NOT being a franchised operation! It’s fantastic that we really do have young entrepreneurs here who show that they understand about service and good management and have the courage to take a chance. Make sure you keep standards high!
  • Arne and the team at Arne’s Horse Safaris for running a little refuge of peace and tranquillity just outside Gaborone.

Friday 9 September 2005

How not to treat a customer!

Over the last couple of months we’ve addressed a number of issues relating to good customer care. These have covered some of the things we think that suppliers and store owners should and shouldn’t do in the way they deal with us. Very few of them are revolutionary and seem just plain common sense to us. However, it still comes as a surprise when things go dreadfully wrong.

The following is a list of events that have been reported to us in the last week. All are genuine and none have been made up!

What do you say when a customer complains to you, the restaurant manager, that most of the items listed on your menu are unavailable?

A. “It’s not my fault. I blame the chef”?
B. “I’m terribly sorry, we’ve been let down badly by our supplier but let me tell what we CAN do for you.”
C. “Yes, I’m SO sorry about that but can I get you a free drink to apologise?”

In case you hadn’t realised the wrong answer is A! And yes, that’s the answer that was given.

What do you say to customers who are complaining that the restaurant is understaffed and they can’t get adequate service?

A. “I’m the Manager, it’s not my job to serve you.”
B. “Yes, I’m sorry about this but what can I do for you?”
C. “One of our staff is off sick but I really hope you’ll bear with us. Would you like a free drink?”

Again, A is the wrong answer. Again A was the answer given.

What do you do, when 8 foreign tourists who are no doubt carrying loads of foreign currency, show signs of getting up and leaving in protest at not being served?

A. Watch them leave
B. Apologise, ask them what you can do to help, engage them in conversation and make them feel welcome.
C. Offer them a snack and a free drink while they wait.

Again A is the wrong answer. And that’s what happened.

What do you say when all the customers in the restaurant are ganging up on you in response to the dreadful lack of service?
A. “Will you PLEASE stop complaining?”
B. “Look I’m very sorry everyone, this is just a terrible night for us. I’m going to knock 50% off everyone’s bill tonight.”
C. “I’m so sorry everyone. Would you all like a free drink?”

Yes A is the wrong answer again. Yes, that’s what was said.

What do you say to a hotel customer who is checking out and complains that they had a bad experience in the hotel restaurant the night before?
A. “Yes, the Manager told me.”
B. “I’m VERY sorry to hear that you must have felt very disappointed. This is NOT the sort of service we aim for.”
C. “I’m really very sorry, we hope you’ll give us a second chance. Would you like a discount voucher for your next stay or perhaps a free drink?”

Finally, in case you hadn’t guessed already, A is the wrong answer. And yes, that’s what as said.

The really, desperately, dreadfully, appallingly bad news? Every single one of these events occurred during a single stay at the Sedia Hotel in Maun last weekend. Every one of them.

This was in Maun, one of the most important tourist centres in Botswana. What must tourists think of us? What are those 8 foreign tourists telling their friends and relatives in their home country right now? Are they telling them that they came to a great country with courteous and friendly people who were really proud to welcome them to Botswana? Not a chance! They’re laughing at us, right now as you’re reading this.

This really is not good enough. It’s shameful that visitors should see us behave like this. Also, it’s also just rude. Whether we’re tourists or on business we pay lots of money to stay in hotels and the very least we deserve is a little courtesy and respect. And a free drink every so often!

This week’s stars!

  • However it’s not all bad news from Maun! Kaone at Sedia Hotel actually did seem to care about problems at check and did her best to fix them.
  • Sylvester at the security checkpoint at Maun airport looked at our colleague’s ID and then thanked her by name with a huge smile. That sort of thing can make someone’s day and shows visitors to Botswana what we are really like.
  • We heard that Ignatius at Standard Chartered, Hemamo House Branch in Gaborone deserves special praise for always being courteous, patient and friendly and always going the extra mile.
  • Also Candy at Stanbic Bank, Fairgrounds Branch in Gaborone for being “amazing”.
  • Lalala, Lala and Osenotse, also at Stanbic Bank, Fairgrounds Branch in Gaborone for service that WOWs customers.
  • Sarah at Barclays Home Loans for keeping a customer updated and for being so efficient.
  • Kenanae at Barclays Carbo Centre for great after-sales service.

We’ve noticed something about the success stories we publicise. A growing number of the good news stories we hear are about banks! We don’t think it’s just our imagination but the service we all get from the banks genuinely does seem to be improving. Yes, there’s clearly a long way to go but all credit to the banks for actually seeming to do something about it.

Friday 2 September 2005

Consumer Watchdog has plans!

We’ve spent the last couple of columns showing off a bit about some of our successes. Some of our earlier columns covered issues that we feel are important to us, the consumers of Botswana. These included the need for decent Consumer Protection legislation and Data Protection laws that will limit the ways in which companies can use the information they hold on us.

However we think the time has come for us to listen to our readers. What do YOU want us to investigate? What do YOU think we need to protect us from unscrupulous traders?

We’d really like to get contributions from you, the readers of Mmegi, on what you think matters. Rather than just have us go on about what we think should happen we feel that there really should be a debate about what’s needed. Please drop us a line on what you think should happen and whether there are other issues you think we should cover.

In the meantime here are some of the issues we think we should concentrate on in the near future. DO let us know if you think we’re onto something.


We don’t think consumers are safe. We’ve heard of shops that are left open during renovation work and which end up injuring customers, supermarkets selling food that’s well past it’s sell-by date and some horrific stories of poor hygiene in many food outlets. All of these suggest to us that we actually operate in a pretty dangerous environment and that we need greater protection.

It’s not just consumers that are at risk. It’s the staff in the supermarkets as well. So what’s the solution? Well, read our future columns but there’s no surprises coming! We want the City Councils to be given REAL powers to intervene when there’s an obvious threat to our safety. We want consumers to be able to complain to authorities that actually use the powers they have to punish those who put us at risk. If they don’t have the powers then they should get them!

SMS “abuse”

We had an email from a reader this week who complained about the widespread use of SMS messages for marketing purposes. We’ve probably all seen the advertisements in the papers where you send an SMS from your phone to enter a competition, vote in a survey or to get cinema show times. Our reader also reports that some stores are selling discounted scratch cards but when you call to register them to your phone you are forced to listen to a lengthy advertisement which of course costs you money and wastes you time.

Some good news

Much as we’re very proud of what we do and what we achieve readers must remember that we’re only Consumer Watchdog – we have no real teeth. We have no legal powers and can only try and influence suppliers and stores through the promise of public accountability, in other words the embarrassment of being criticised in the press!

As we mentioned last week we do hear that mentioning Consumer Watchdog can have quite an effect on suppliers. It seems that when they are being unreasonable the thought of public exposure in Mmegi or on the radio suddenly makes them see sense! This is really encouraging as it suggests that suppliers really are beginning to get the message that they need to concentrate hard on us, their customers.

But please remember that we do have very little practical power.

However, the very good news is that we do now have a significant new weapon in our armoury! With the blessing of the Law Society of Botswana our good friends at Minchin & Kelly (Botswana), the highly respected Gaborone law firm have been the first to offer to donate some of their time to help out. They’re going to be a much better position to help with any issues reported to us that require a detailed understanding of the law. They’ve also volunteered to contribute towards our campaign to educate and inform the consumer so you’ll see their advice here in this column in the future.

Many thanks to them and to the Law Society for approving this.

But a plea for more support!

This is a plea to those in power, to community leaders, heads of businesses and above all to our politicians and law-makers. If you think we’re doing a good job and that we have some good ideas please get in contact with us. We really want to help you as leaders to achieve what the public want. All our materials and our ideas are at your disposal. Give us a call and let us know how we can help!

This week’s stars!

  • We heard recently from a reader in Francistown who had problems when he went for a working lunch at Diggers. The orders were taken well enough but they took more than 30 minutes to arrive. Some of the guests received their food so late that they had to take it away. Well, a few weeks later our reader got a call from Diggers management who apologised profusely, explained that they had fired the offending chef and, best of all, offered the entire group of 10 people a complimentary lunch! So congratulations to Diggers for taking action when it was needed and winning back a frustrated customer.
  • We also want to praise Payless in the Mall in Gaborone for having an excellent system for keeping belongings that customers accidentally leave behind. Our reader was delighted to get her parcel back.
  • Another reader contacted us to say that Spar at Kgale View in Gaborone should be commended for efficiently serving a variety of warm, clean and hygienic foods with a smile. She says “Keep it up Spar! Your bread is also delicious!”

Friday 26 August 2005

Consumer Watchdog Shows Off a Bit More!

Last week we showed off a bit about some of our recent consumer success stories. Sorry but this week we’re going to show off some more!

We know that it sounds like we’re boasting but we hear that mentioning Consumer Watchdog these days seems to have a tremendous effect on suppliers. People keep telling us that when they have a problem they just have to mention Watchdog and suddenly the shop owner becomes cooperative!

OK, so this makes us feel good but isn’t it a little sad that it takes threats of public exposure to make things happen? Shop owners, suppliers, bank and the rest really should be giving us excellent care because it’s the right thing to do, not just because they’re afraid of some embarrassment. Don’t they also realise that word spreads? Every supplier surely knows by now that for every good story customers tell their friends and neighbours they tell 10 bad ones?

The plain fact of the matter is that good customer service makes a supplier profitable. Look how busy Primi Piatti is every evening, even during the quiet times of the month. Then look at their neighbours where sometimes you’re lucky to see a single table occupied.

The crashing ATM

We were contacted by Ms X who tried to withdraw P1,600 from an ATM when it suddenly shut down. The machine told her that the money hadn’t been taken from her account but later she learnt that the money had in fact been deducted from her balance. When she contacted the bank she was told that it would take almost 2 weeks to credit her with the amount she hadn’t actually withdrawn. She contacted us and we made some calls. We spoke to the no. 2 in the bank and he assured us that it would be fixed. Less than an hour later the money was back in her account.

The lesson? When you are clearly in the right, don’t give up! Go up the line of command until you reach someone who can take decisions!

The faulty football boots

Mr Y contacted us about football boots he purchased. Within a week one of the studs on the boots came off. He took them back to the store who replaced them pretty quickly. However when he used the replacement boots three studs came off!

When he complained he was told that not all goods were guaranteed (yes, we know that’s nonsense) and he got the usual run around from the store. They said that until the boot manufacturer had responded the store couldn’t possibly consider a refund. By this stage Consumer Affairs were involved but they couldn’t seem to get things resolved either.

As usual we made a few calls, applied a little pressure to the store and literally within minutes we heard back from the store that the original manufacturer had accepted that there was a fault with the whole batch of boots. Mr Y got his refund in total.

The lessons? Well, firstly even the best manufacturers sometimes get a bad batch of products. However good manufacturers confess this pretty quickly and fix it because they have their good name to protect.

The next lesson is that consumers shouldn’t be distracted from a simple truth. The store from which you buy something is the party with whom you have a contract. Don’t take any of the “Well, I’ll need to contact the manufacturer” nonsense. You bought your goods from Store X. It’s Store X who has to fix the problem.

The patriotic bus company

We heard from a consumer who wanted to congratulate Seabelo for their great service between Gaborone and Johannesburg. However she was very critical of the general quality of service at the Jo’burg end of the route and specifically in the treatment of a passenger who was returning from surgery in South Africa.

We contacted Seabelo and Mr Thambo here in Gaborone said he really appreciated the patriotism of the passenger and that they don’t take their customers for granted. Apparently they were already aware of some problems down in Jo’burg and as a result they have appointed a new Supervisor who starts on 1st September.

The lesson? Let’s stick up for local businesses, particularly when they are already on top of problems and are taking measures to fix them.

For the record

Nobody has mentioned this to us yet but Watchdog wants to make something clear. In all of our work with suppliers and customers we never accept a freebie. Not ever.

Consumer Watchdog is sponsored by Business & Enterprise Solutions Botswana (Pty) Ltd. We make absolutely no money from the Watchdog. It’s just one of our ways of putting something back into the community.

Quite often suppliers we mention, particularly restaurants, very generously offer us a free drink or two for saying something nice. Much as we appreciate the friendly gesture we always politely decline. Much as we’d like something free we value our independence. However, we DO accept offers that we can pass on to our readers and the listeners to our weekly radio show on GabzFM. Best of all we love to pass on treats to our service stars. Every week when we mention a success we write to the person’s boss congratulating them and when we can, passing on anything donated to us to the stars themselves.

This week’s stars!

  • The entire call centre at Standard Chartered Bank in Gaborone for service with a smile.
  • Ntume at 25° East for such friendly service.
  • Pick N Pay at Riverwalk for not only compensating a consumer for produce that turned out to be bad but for cleaning the dish as well!
  • Lebo Morebodi of GabzFM. According to our reader she’s “friendly and bubbly”, “always willing to listen and go the extra mile” and is “an amazing person”.

Friday 19 August 2005

Consumer Watchdog Shows Off a Bit!

In the last couple of columns we’ve outlined a few things we think we as consumers deserve. We think we deserve a Consumer Protection law and as importantly in these electronic days, laws on Data Protection. You can see these and other articles again if you visit our website at, click on Consumer Watchdog and then on Mmegi Column.

This week we’d like to show off a little and report some of our recent successes.

The Education of a Bank Customer

In June Mr B called us because he’d had a number of problems with his Barclays account. He’d gone overdrawn as result of a misunderstanding regarding bank charges and as a result he’d had his account frozen and he couldn’t use his ATM card. We spoke to Barclays and they agreed to reinstate his account.

It turns out that Mr B, like a lot of customers, withdraws his entire salary on pay day. However when the bank later applies the monthly bank charges there’s no money left in the account and the customers then find themselves overdrawn. Then they get their facilities cut off. Of course when the next month’s salary is paid into the account some goes towards the overdraft and the customers find less than they expect in the account. This becomes a cycle with customers never seeing what they expect to see in their account.

Our success is that in conjunction with the bank we explained to Mr B that perhaps he should budget for the month in advance and only then withdraw what he actually needs. This may seem obvious but nobody had ever taken the time to explain this to Mr B. A little simple advice can go a long way!

We think that the lesson from this is clear. We really do need better consumer education. Banks should take the lead in explaining, in simple terms, how accounts work and should give real, practical advice to their customers. They should have clearly explained charges that we can all understand. Just as in a good restaurant the waiter is happy to explain the menu and find a meal that suits you, so should banks explain the options to their customers.

However we think that the community should take a lead here. Let’s use Kgotlas, churches and schools to get the message out. Surely every one of these gatherings is going to have a maths teacher with some spare time who can take the lead and become a community hero?

The Injured Shopper and the Two Good Samaritans

Also in June we heard about an incident in a local supermarket (we won’t name them - they know who they are!). During renovation work, some shelving was left in an aisle and pretty soon a senior citizen, Mrs M, tripped over it and injured herself. Eventually, and because of our first Good Samaritan (another shopper), she got some help and was taken to hospital.

Unfortunately the store in question has so far refused to take any responsibility for the incident. They tell us they’ve made an insurance claim but the victim has so far not seen a Thebe in compensation for the injury, inconvenience or travel costs to hospital. She certainly hasn’t had an apology and nor has she even had a phone call from the store to see how’s she’s doing.

Here comes the second Good Samaritan. Pick N Pay at Molapo Crossing in Gaborone heard the story and contacted us to see what they could do. They were appalled to hear that someone had been unfairly treated by a completely unconnected store and offered to help. They offered Mrs M a P250 voucher and invited her to come and shop with them instead.

Needless to say Mrs M is delighted at their generosity and had a great time spending her voucher at Pick N Pay!

The lesson from this story? Well, we think it’s a pretty strange state of affairs when a store can’t even fix it’s own problems and a total stranger steps in to fix things. However it’s also a reminder to us all that there really are some Good Samaritans out there. Some of them also happen to be pretty smart business types as well!

The Damaged Furniture and the Fantastic Recovery

In July Ms S called us to tell us the story of her mother’s furniture. In February 2004 she bought her mother a sofa and a table from FurnCity in Gaborone. However when it arrived at her mother’s place in Palapye it was already broken. Despite loads of phone calls nothing was done to fix the problem and tragically in November last year her mother passed away without ever being able to use the furniture. So Ms S was left paying for broken furniture for her deceased mother on a 2-year credit scheme!

We contacted FurnCity and Ben the manager told us he was very upset to hear what had happened. He made a few calls and within 2 days we had a response. Ben made sure the fixed sofa was delivered to Ms S, he cancelled the entire outstanding debt and gave her P1,000 in cash as an apology.

Now THAT is a recovery!

The lesson? Well, despite what we sometimes might think, a lot of store owners really are good people and will respond well if given the chance.

And even more good news!

Consumer Watchdog believes that as well as complaining, we should all celebrate success when we find it. This week we want to celebrate:

  • Tebogo and Joyce at Botswana Life for being friendly and offering solutions
  • Vera at FNB Industrial Branch for her tireless efforts and courteous service
  • All the guys at Pick N Pay Molapo Crossing for fixing someone else’s problem
  • Ben at FurnCity for really recovering from a problem very well indeed!

Purely in the interests of our readers Consumer Watchdog saw Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat again. There isn’t much time left so if you haven’t already got a ticket, beg, borrow or acquire one somehow!

Friday 12 August 2005

Some suggestions

In our column last week we proposed solutions to some of the problems we feel that consumers in Botswana face. Please forgive us our presumption but rather than just complain we feel that everyone has a responsibility to contribute towards solving problems. As motivational specialists say: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.

We don’t claim that we have the answer to everything. Much of what we suggest is really just to stimulate a public debate. However we’re passionate about helping to solve some of the problems we all face.

Last week we suggested a number of specific things that we think would help. This included real, effective legislation that would protect consumers and help guarantee fair trade, fair credit and cooling-off periods for credit schemes or major purchases.

We also suggested two concrete things that Government could do that we think could really change the landscape for consumers. Firstly we feel that community-based lending mechanisms would take credit away from loan sharks and return to where it used to be: our communities.

Secondly we proposed that Government should establish Citizens Advice Bureaux where we could all get free, independent and expert advice on consumer law. How many of us can afford lawyers for minor issues?

This week we’d like to cover another area where consumers currently have little or no protection.

Data Protection

In our column on 22nd July we covered some situations in which we felt that data held on us was not well enough protected. In particular we reported a case where personal credit information was disclosed to an unauthorised party.

We suggested in that article that we need effective Data Protection laws that will force organisations who hold data on us to guarantee that it is correct and to be forced to correct it when it’s not. Such laws should also cover how exactly the data held on us can be used and in particular who has access to it.

So what exactly should a Data Protection Law say?

The Information Commissioner

There needs to be someone in authority who can take charge. We think that Government should appoint an Information Commissioner. This officer should operate either within the Ministry of Communications, Science & Technology or perhaps even independently like the Ombudsman. The Commissioner should have legal powers to regulate the use of information and to punish those who transgress.


Any organisation that holds data on it’s clients must be forced to register that they do so with the Information Commissioner. They should disclose exactly what they are going to hold, who they hold it on, what they plan to do with it and to whom they plan to give it.

This must include everyone. Banks, shops, credit agencies, suppliers, everyone. Yes, everyone. Even hospitals, Government and schools.

Well, maybe not everyone. We’re not naïve. There are certain agencies that should be excluded from this regulation. We’re thinking of the Police and security services who obviously have to hold some data secretly. In these days of international terrorism it’s only reasonable.

Personal access

We must have access to the data held on us. This mustn’t be a voluntary thing. It should be our legal right. We must be able to confirm that the data held on us is correct and if we can prove that it isn’t then we must be able to demand that they correct it.

There should be standards for this access. We’re not unreasonable. We think that perhaps we should be given access to our data within something like 28 days of asking. Corrections should only be made if we can prove that the data is incorrect. The correction should again happen within another 28 days. We also think that is fair for the consumer to pay the supplier for access. It shouldn’t be much but it should be enough to cover the cost of a computer printout and postage. That way we’d also avoid spurious requests for access. Also this should only be done in writing, not over the telephone so we can prove we are who we say we are.

Regulated disclosure

There must be very strict rules about how data is disclosed. Companies who hold data on us must disclose when they register to whom they will disclose it. They will simply not be permitted to disclose it to anyone else.


The Commissioner needs teeth. He or she should be able to punish those who break the rules. The punishments should be effective and should provide a real deterrent.

How easy is it?

This sort of law exists in many other countries already and we know that many people in Botswana, notably in Government, have already given this some thought. However we think that the people need to be consulted. We need the chance to contribute towards this sort of law. However we do feel that we are lagging behind and this is not where Botswana deserves to be. We need this sort of protection now. We need to do what we do best: leading Africa, not following!

If you want to see some examples of how it works elsewhere, visit our website at, click on Consumer Watchdog, then on Useful Links.

And now the good news!

Consumer Watchdog believes that as well as complaining, we should all celebrate success when we find it. This week we want to celebrate:

  • The cast, crew and everyone else connected with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! If you have any doubt about whether we in Botswana have amazingly talented performers then go see it and be proved wrong. It’s simply amazing!
  • Ntume at 25° East for great service.
  • Joyce and Tebogo from BotswanaLife for being so friendly and helpful.