The Three Musketeers

Last year Ben Motlhalamme, the diocesan secretary, names us the Three Musketeers. He means Fr. James Amanze, me, and himself. We are the three, he says, who have a passion to sustain the ministry of the St. Augustine Theological School. There are others, of course, but he likes the Musketeers.

Today he is giving a welcome at a fund-raiser for the School. It’s held at Trinity, the Lutheran church in the city centre. They have the best fellowship hall, complete with a stage, a good feature since our event is a choir competition.

He declares that today he is the One Musketeer. Fr. James is out of the country at an academic conference. I am just late.

Our students have worked hard at planning this first effort. They have made the rounds of local congregations, trying to encourage choirs to compete on a Saturday. We end up with three: St. Simon of Cyrene Parish in Tlokweng, St. Paul’s in Molepolole, and Holy Cross, the cathedral here in Gaborone.

                                          Bashie Tsheole

A professor, suitably professorial, gives an address about the call to ordination. It’s a fine message, but some of the young people become restless. Bashie Tsheole, one of our third year students, revives them with a lively Setswana song. He’s accompanied by someone on drums and another on keyboard, an import from the local Baptist church.

Then it’s time for the choirs. The first round has each sing an identical hymn, a Setswana version from Hymns Ancient and Modern. The second are Setswana songs of their own choosing. Two judges sit in the front, writing away on their evaluation forms.

To my untrained ear – and in ignorance of what they are actually singing – all of the choirs seem quite good, and the audience cheers them on.

Rra Ben, seated next to me, leans over and says. ‘As diocesan secretary, I am supposed to be neutral, but since I worship at the cathedral, they are the ones I think of as "ours".’ My situation, I suppose, is similar, as I am also placed at the Cathedral. After Holy Cross’ second number, I lean over to him. ‘Ours are the best,’ I say.

The judges think so two. The other two are naturally disappointed. I ask Bonny Bashe, another of our students who worships in Tlokweng, to tell them at church tomorrow what a fine job we staff at the School think they did, and how much we appreciate their coming.’ He promises.

It is a good afternoon. We apparently raise a bit over 3,000 pula, not a lot, but a fine first effort.

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