Category Archives: Education

This England

Argus title : Our entire society is based upon a culture of exploitation and bullying

Alexander McCall Smith, a Zimbabwean-born Professor of Law at Edinburgh University, has written a very successful series of novels about a female private detective in Botswana.It begins with “The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency”. I read it just a few months ago and since then, enthralled, have read them all.

I’d avoided the books in the past, in the belief that no White man would be able to write about Africa or women without patronage. In fact, McCall Smith describes Botswana with respect and gentle humour. And his heroine, Precious Ramotswe, the “traditionally built”, owner of the Ladies Detective Agency is a delight – kind, strong, intelligent and resourceful, a Motswana woman who loves the best traditions of her society and challenges those that need to change – particularly the status of women.

Few male authors make women their chief protagonists and fewer still allow them to be fat. Precious wears her bulk as a badge of pride. She has survived the death of her beloved father Obed Ramotswe, a violent marriage to the no good trumpeter Note Makoti and the death of her baby. She loves Africa, meditates philosophically on its cattle and pumpkins and the virtues and many weaknesses of its men. She eventually marries the finest mechanic in Botswana, Mr JLB Matekoni, proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, who loves machines and is entirely without corruption. Continue reading