ONE FOR THE ROAD with Tlotlo

The annual Botswana Consumer Fair is back after a two-year break and organisers are upbeat that this year’s installment will impress, with new features to the weeklong Fair. The spectacle promises traders and exhibitors, as well as members of the public a time of their lives.

Even the slogan bears testimony, that ‘it’s more than just shopping.’ However, ‘ma74’ and the not-so-young at heart know and vow that the Consumer Fair in its current form will never match the old time ‘Show’ that formed in many, sweet and pleasant childhood memories. Please give us that old time ‘Show,’ the one known to evoke the heavens with dusty bouts that filled the atmosphere the whole-week through.

‘Ma2000’ probably do not know and would never understand what the Consumer Fair used to be like. This was a major calendar event that families would plan their fun times around, one only second to Christmas.


It created a lot of excitement for both the young and old alike. The excitement would first of all be launched by the national broadcaster, Radio Botswana, which would for that special week be broadcasting some of its shows from the Fair grounds opposite one of Gaborone’s oldest locations, Bontleng.

All ears would be glued to the Radio station that at the time had no competition on the local airwaves, especially with features like Rakgadi wa bana broadcasting kids shows like Inola live from the grounds. Disco beats, reggae and other popular genres of the 80s and 90s would attract boys and girls who would be eager to send their heartfelt greetings through the airwaves right across the country to friends and relatives.

Sometimes greetings would even be sent to absent fathers, those “hit by trains.” It was common to hear, “Ke dumedisa le papa kwaa le teng!” with all the innocence. Who would forget those very fond memories? At the time, much fun was also about seeing the Botswana Defence Force perform their stunts and entertaining the crowds. It was also about seeing live snakes and different species of animals at close range.

Consumers would even have rare opportunities of holding and touching snakes. Who would forget the colourful candy floss that became one of the distinguishing features of one’s presence at the Fair? I swear, the current entertainment would never come close to that special feeling that the ‘Show’ left etched in people’s hearts.

Fun we had at the Consumer Fair of yesteryears. ‘Ma74’ did not have selfies to prove ‘the situation right now’ at the time, but I bet as the new age Consumer Fair opens its gate on Monday, social media will bear witness.

Fun activities this year include roller coasters with sling caterpillar, quad bikes and go-karts, choo-choo train, inflatable track, human gyroscope, kids flying fighter jets, giant slides, horse riding, zob balls, zip-line, electric marry go-round, bikers, boxing and karate among others.