Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I will mainly be blogging from here: http://otlogetswe.wordpress.com. This blog will therefore be changed minimally in the future.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My dog Bobby

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Setswana dictionary

Do you have a degree in English and or African Languages (Setswana)? We have a job for you to work on the Bilingual Setswana-English English-Setswana dictionary or a Thanodi ya Setswana. Please respond by March 20th if you are interested and can work in Gaborone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Personal Infor & Contacts

* Thapelo is the current language advisor to Radio Botswana News and Current Affairs.
* He was the language advisor to the Mokgosi Newspaper, in which he had a column.
* He conducts language seminars and trainings in Setswana and English languages.
* He has been involved in numerous translation projects.
* He speaks periodically on radio about national language issues.
* He may be contacted at the following address:


Monday, November 03, 2008

Subprime, Pre-Slime

Published: October 20, 2008 in The New York Times
YOU can usually tell that a period of human disquietude has evolved into something of historical dimensions when the lexicographers become involved. Most events of moment are eventually defined by single words that were once quite unfamiliar — perestroika, arbitrage, Tiananmen, dotcom — but which endless retellings have rendered mundane. And thus it is with the lexical keystone of today, an unlovely two-syllable concatenation employed interchangeably as both adjective and noun: subprime.

Interestingly, the word arbiters at the headquarters of the Oxford English Dictionary have discovered something odd: “subprime” has suffered a surprising and unusually rapid evolution. Until 1991 it meant something eminently desirable and worthy of aspiration.

Lexicon is by its very nature a fugitive affair. Over the centuries the meanings of words slip and slide without cease, and dictionaries have to be constantly revised. The current print edition of the O.E.D., for example, still sports this definition of the unusual word “abbreviator”: “a junior official of the Vatican, whose duties include drawing up the pope’s briefs” — which would clearly, after briefs-as-legal-documents transmuted into briefs-as-boxer-alternatives, benefit from some rewriting.

The dictionary’s New Words Group began looking closely at subprime’s history late this summer, when the bat-wings of the current crisis began fluttering against Oxford’s mullioned windows. Team members discovered that when first applied to financial matters in 1976, “subprime” meant a loan offered below the prime rate and typically was offered only to the most desirable borrowers.

In was not until 1993 that it took on a much less enticing guise, with Business Wire referring to a company that “buys subprime loans made ... to creditworthy buyers unable to qualify for loans from banks.” And an O.E.D. editor was moved to write a new definition: “Of or designating a loan, typically having relatively unfavorable terms, made to a borrower who does not qualify for other loans because of a poor credit history. ”

And this, one imagines, is the meaning that will go down in history. But what prompted the lexical revisionism? The Oxford lexicographers do not pretend to know why, nor, as dictionary-makers, to care. But they do know the change occurred between 1991 and 1993, during a period that can now perhaps be designated the Great Subprime Ambivalence of 1992, during the final years of the elder George Bush’s presidency — a time that students of politics and economy, rather than lexicography, might now care to study in their turn.

Simon Winchester is the author of “The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

pommeled but not destroyed

I have been pommeled, but I am not destroyed. My feet are weary and tired; my body is bruised. I am thirsty and the sun is scorching my skin and blinding my eyes. The hot wind is roasting my baked lips. I am tired, hungry and exhausted. My lower lip is bleeding. I have been attacked. I feel dispossed. My eyes are bruised and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. I cannot speak; I cannot cry. I am knocked down, but I am not down and out. There is one who made the sun and the scorching wind; one who made the future and the past. I am standing on his shoulder.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thinking allowed: Is it possible

I have been thinking lately; thinking through the rattling of my keyboard; thinking as I walk along the UB campus and seeing students sitting under hard concrete benches snuggled under the mosetlha trees. I am just thinking, what will it take to turn this country around? What will it take to see miracles? What will it take to have churches in their 1,000s? Have you thought of that? Maybe you haven't, but you should. Four years I was haunted by these questions: "Are the churches we have the best we could ever have? or is the best yet to come?" Have you wondered about churches in Botswana and remembered those stinging words of Christ as he visited churches and literally put them on the scale (Rev 2: 1-7). He reminded them of the first love. The quality of church leadership, the rot that lies at the heart of local churches; the stentch of sexual immorality that rises from the church roof tops, strong and forceful; strong and forceful as the loud sounding praises of Christians, should be a thing of the past that vanishes in distant horizons behind us. The financial mismanagement; insipidity; hate; unforgiveness; the insatiable love of money and property consistently eat at the core of local churches. What is wrong with our nation? I am just thinking, just wondering and I wish you could join me and dare to believe. Dare to believe that dry bones, white, and desolate and forgotten down in the valley can one day join with the sinews & muscles and come to life again. Yes I am asking you to believe, no, am not asking for religious "Amens" that sometimes thunder truth to silence. I am asking you to believe during your private times; genuinely believe that God desires to change this nation & that he wants to change it through YOU! Will you avail yourself to be God's hands, his feet and mouth through which he channels his grace? Or do you find satisfaction in being an outside; one who watches from the margins; a spectator; a cheerleader; a critic?

Tim Hughes wrote that amazing song, a sound track of hungry souls that are dissatisfied with the status quo, which he entitled "There must be more than this"

There must be more than this, O breath of God come breathe within
There must be more than this, Spirit of God we wait for You
Fill us anew we pray, Fill us anew we pray
Consuming fire, fan into flame passion for your name
Spirit of God, fall in this place
Lord have your way, Lord have your way, With Us
Verse 2:
Come like a rushing wind; Clothe us with power from on high
Now set the captives free; Leave us abandoned to your praise
Lord let your glory fall; Lord let your glory fall

I ask you to believe that there IS more that this. God's desire and wish exceeds our vision and goals. Let's believe there is more than this... and that my friends; that "more" lies only in Jesus Christ our Saviour; one who died so that we might live forever. He is the one who gives MORE.

I am around

I haven't vanished dear friends. I am still around. I haven't lost my faith in Christ. It has instead been fortified by the clear evidence that God is on the march in our country; that where we thought we couldn't reach, the church keeps on moving regardless of the peccadilloes and the impediments that stand on our way. No I haven't vanished dear friends. I am continuously digging my heels; scratching and searching for God's leadership, amazed by his infinite power to transform even the worst of us. So when I wake up every morning and hear the ramblings of my one year old, Lobopo, I am eternally reminded that I am a child in God's hands; that his grace has no limits towards me; that I who was once an outsider, an enemy of God, persona non grata, have found favour in the complete work of the cross.