‘Batho ba taa reng’ (what will people say) can kill you. It can cripple you, forcing you to take in more than you were made to. It can fast forward your journey to the ‘grave’.
‘Batho ba taa reng’ allows every Nchadi and Nchi to dance on your head.
I am on the side of TD Jakes ‘you might be born in a crowded room, but truth is, even in a crowded room, you face birth alone. And while you’ll probably die surrounded by family and friends, but, your death, is a solo experience.
Naked you came, naked you shall return.
Face the truth.
‘Batho’ don’t care what you had for dinner, or whether or not your children have clothes on their back.
‘Batho’ don’t know that the reason your property is being auctioned off is because you spent all your money on your terminally ill mother. They don’t know that you’ve spent all your life trying to rise above the water, sacrificing sleep and luxuries, but somehow, often, just when you think you have it all in control, a calamity hits and knocks you back to the beginning or worse.
‘Batho’ don’t know your private story, thus crowding your head with the deadly ‘batho ba taa reng’ thinking, is to kill yourself. Is to fall into a trap.
The ‘batho’ who keep you awake at night, probably sleep peacefully at night, if they exist. The ‘batho’ in ‘batho ba taa reng’ are probably fictitious, existing only in your head. The thought, possibly, only exists to confine you to a corner, cursing the day you were born. The ‘batho’ thinking wants to convince you that the world owes you.
‘Batho ba taa reng’ and its cousins, like ‘batho ba re’ (people are saying…), were not created to help you fly, I think. They were for intimidating you, for trampling upon whatever flicker of hope and boldness trying to rise in you. They are happy when you succumb to timidity; when you drag your feet through life.
For once see ‘batho ba taa reng’ as a net, a trap that is too afraid of what would become of you were you to break free and fly. Or look at it, as a yet to be born wild animal, hiding behind a thicket and using strings to pull and push you; directing your every step.
Maybe see ‘batho’ in ‘batho ba re’ and ‘batho ba taa reng’, as that little thokoloshi, from never-land, the hairy tiny animal, we all used to hear about, but never met. ‘Batho bata a reng’ is probably a Setswana name for ‘thokolosi’, who knows. An imaginary animal like dimo.
‘Take up YOUR mat’ Jesus would probably say, ‘and walk’
On the flip side, your obsessions with ‘batho ba taa reng’, may be that you take yourself too seriously. Thinking the world is preoccupied with details of your life.
‘wake up child’ the world is too busy for such random obsessions.