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Policing the Botswana way

03 March 2013, 10:33
Some time back my wife and I decided to visit Botswana. She drove from our hometown, in the Freestate, all the way to Gabarone, while I flew in from Luanda. On her way she had a flat tire but thankfully some goodhearted Afrikaners helped her and she reached Gabarone safely.

The first few nights we spent at a lodge near the city and one night decided to visit a game reserve and restaurant. When we got back to our car, around 11 at night, the car had a huge bump on the rear. As it was late we could not do much, but decided to report it at the local police the next morning and this is where the real story starts.

The police were not to impressed as we only reported the accident the next morning but after some careful explanation understood that we were tourists and would never have found them at night. That said, while they were inspecting the damage, we noticed a small piece of paper that has slid underneath the bonnet. It was from the people who bumped the car and they left a phone number. The policeman phoned them and three days later they paid us out for the damages. The police even served us tea while handling the whole affair.

The we decided to visit the museum in Gabarone, so of we went following the GPS. It took us to a really large and very nice, walled building. Turns out it was where the president lives and it had armed soldiers at the gate. These okes seemed really paraat and my wife started to kap stress. The wonderful thing was that they simply helped us to the right place, all with smiles and fantastic courtesy.

A day later we decided to drive all the way up to Chobe, via Francistown, so of we went gain. On our way we were stopped twice by police. Both times they simply wanted to make sure we were happy and had no problems. I figured they noticed the Freestate registration plates and thus realized we were tourists.

On the way back, the same happened once and another time we were asked to get out of the car and rest a bit under a huge tent they had set up next to the road. They even served us cold drinks. Imagine that, the police treating us decently. 
I could not help to remember all this, especially in view of how the police in RSA has for the most part become nothing more than a lot of criminals themselves.

It must be hard for the few good ones to do their daily tasks and them I salute.
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