Whatever happened to Mma Ramotswe? (2004)

A letter from Gaborone

Gaborone, 25 May 2004

Dearest Aunts Ausi, Thelma, Sarah, Gertrude, Donna, Helga, Fatima, and Chang,

You all are asking whether I have seen a Mma Ramotswe around town. Well, she doesn't seem to be around at the moment. But I've seen and met a number of local women pretty much like her.

Mma Ramotswe's house, in a "cul-de-sac" or dead-end lane just off Zebra Way, has obviously been rented out. Some one else's name must be on the gate. Mma Ramotswe must be getting a fair bit of rent, as the area has gone up-market in the last ten to fifteen years.

As for Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's house, that is one of those quaint old houses backing onto the "sanitary lane" near the Boer War graveyard in the old colonial part of Gaborone. It's shabby genteel, with a rusty roof, but the plot must be worth quite a bit nowadays. Let's hope that nobody buys it and puts a modern monstrosity in its place.

As you know, Gaborone (with the G pronounced like the CH in "loch" and "chutzpah") has undergone great change, as the capital city of Africa's fastest growing economy. There wasn't a single solid wall around a house twenty years ago: now they're everywhere. Single-storey houses less than thirty years old (the main city was built after 1964) have been re-modeled with an extra floor, or have been replaced by town houses. There are traffic jams during rush-hours, and everyone seems to have a cell-phone.

I'm not sure exactly where Mma Ramotswe's office and Mr Matekoni's garage used to be. They could have made a packet out of selling them to real estate developers.

Her office facing Kgale Hill, in Gaborone West, is most likely now covered by a business park and a U.S.-sized shopping mall built in the last four years. But there are still places in the nearby village of Mogodits