The house in which Botswana’s first democratically elected President, Sir Seretse Khama was born and raised has been listed under the one hundred (100) national monuments.
The house which is an inherited property of Khama’s royal family is situated in the capital village of Bangwato, Serowe where he was born in July 1st 1921. The house had been abandoned, and was in dilapidating state for years but has been remarkably revamped for tourism purposes.
Built by Khama the Great (Khama III), it belonged to his son Sekgoma II who was Paramount Chief of the BammaNgwato, having been given to him as a present after his wedding and reconciliation with his father. When Sekgoma II, father to Seretse became Chief he insisted that as a result of their reconciliation, his father had altered his will verbally and allotted the bulk of his house and cattle to him.
The modern European style house was last year refurbished at a budget amounting to hundred thousand pula and will soon be used as a heritage site. Botswana has over 2,500 such sites, of which more than 100 have been gazetted. The National Monuments and Relics Act of 2001 ensures that the sites are adequately protected. The National Museum found it befitting to revamp it and it was launched on the 23rd December 2015.
According to a research carried out by the National Museum, the last person to have stayed at the house from the royal family was Tebogo Sekgoma, the wife to Sekgoma II.
This was before it was handed over to the council. Vasco Baitsiseng who is the Principal Curator at the National Museum says they will soon open an exhibition at the newly refurbished house showcasing the life of Sekgoma, his leadership style and the succession and the birth of controversial and vocal Tshekedi Khama.
From his Biography titled Black Prince, Tshekedi Khama has documented well the relationship between him and Sekgoma and the call to the regency, his clashes on many occasions with both the Bangwato royal family and the British Administration, whose representatives he took to task right up to the level of Whitehall and Westminster.
Contrary to Sekgoma II’ s rule the significance of the house is in housing the first President Seretse Khama and father to the current President Ian Khama. However it will zoom significantly to the life of his uncle Tshekedi Khama who rose to fame while he was formally installed at the age of twenty as the Regent of the Bangwato.
This will form part of the history that will be exhibited in the house. In an interview with one of the papers Naledi Khama, the only sister to the founding president Seretse Khama also hailed her uncle Tshekedi for having raised them.
“Being young I cannot remember that much. What I know is that our uncle (Tshekedi Khama) looked after us like one of his own. He gave us unconditional love and sent us to schools both locally and abroad. I don’t know whether he was using his resources or the ones left by our parents,” she said.
Who is Tshekedi Khama?
The birth of Tshekedi Khama on 17 September 1905 when his father was in his late sixties added a new dimension to the intense rivalries that had torn the royal family apart over the past decade. Although Khama had married three times, only his first wife, his much loved Mma Bessie, had born him a son, whom he named Sekgoma after his own father.
But when Sekgoma attained his majority he proved as strong willed as his father and the two began to clash over issues affecting the administration of the state. In 1898 Sekgoma accused his father of grooming his son-in-law, Ratshosa Motsetle, the husband of his eldest daughter Bessie, to succeed him. Khama denied that he was contemplating such a flagrant violation of the Ngwato laws of succession which held that as his only son Sekgoma was his lawful heir.
But Sekgoma continued to see Ratshosa as a rival, especially as it seemed that his imperious sister, Bessie, was determined to exploit his estrangement from their father to seek the succession for herself and her children. Khama entertained such a possibility and even threatened Sekgoma with it, though there was no precedent either for the succession of a woman to the office of kgosi or of succession through the female line.
On that occasion Khama had declared “And to you Sekgoma I swear that you will never get the chieftaincy…I must warn you that I can deny you the chieftaincy and pass it to the Ratshosas if I like.” Sekgoma's apprehensions cannot have been diminished when Ratshosa replaced him as his father's Secretary. Eventually relations between father and son became so strained that Sekgoma went into exile taking a number of followers and their cattle with him. He set himself up as an independent ruler and was recognised as such by the British administration.
In 1916, Khama nearly died after falling from his horse and breaking his leg. When Sekgoma heard that his father was gravely ill, he came to visit him on his sickbed and the two effected a reconciliation that survived Khama's recovery, though Sekgoma continued to live in his place of exile.
While Khama did not formally announce to the British administration that he and his son had become reconciled, the Resident Magistrate at Serowe reported to the Resident Commissioner that the two had resumed friendly relations. Nor did Khama alter his will in his elder son's favour.
Tshekedi had been formally installed as Regent less than three months before the attempted assassination. And so began a turbulent career during which Tshekedi was to take on royal rivals and British overlords including the most senior of these, the Dominions Secretary himself.
In 1951, his protests against the exile into which he had been sent by the British Administration nearly brought down the Labour Government of the day. And when he died in a London hospital on 10 June 1959, one distinguished campaigner for colonial freedom remembered him as the 'most outstanding' of the many African leaders he had met.
Source: Black Prince: A Biography of Tshekedi Khama 1905-1959
According to World Population Review, women aged 16-19 are four times more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault and female college students ages 18-24 are three times more likely to experience sexual assault. Transgender people and those with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault or rape.
From these very statistics Botswana can be found second only to neighbouring South Africa with the highest rape cases in the world. The number of incidents per 100,000 citizens do not take into account the number of cases that have not been reported to authorities. This goes without saying that Botswana may very well be on the same level as South Africa if not surpassing it.
Most of these victims have a hard time dealing with the violence they faced to an extent where it affects their day to day life.
WeekendLife interviewed rape survivor, Patience Ruwona, who was raped at the age of 15. Ruwona shared her gruesome experience and what it took for her to find healing, gather strength and move forward.
“It happened eight years ago and at the time I was only 15 years old. My mother was staying with her boyfriend at the time. So it happened that one day I came early from school. I was still doing form 2. I was the first one to come back from school. The boyfriend was home. So when I was changing into home clothes in my room, the boyfriend came in without even knocking. He then told me my mother has left some money so that whoever comes back first from school can go and buy meat,” Ruwona narrated.
“I then told him I will come get the money when I am done. He went back to his room. So after I finished changing, I went to their room. I knocked and he told me to come in. When I got, I found him half naked with only a towel. That made me feel very uncomfortable because when we were growing, we were taught never to enter an elder’s room when they are not fully dressed. I told him I came to collect the money and he pointed the dressing table.”
Unbeknownst to the young unsuspecting Ruwona, her mother’s then boyfriend would then grab the young lad, rip apart her garments and have his way with her. When Ruwona threatened to expose him, the audacious perpetrator would laugh in her face, telling her that there would be nothing her mother would do about the incident. And true to his words, Ruwona’s mother did not flinch upon hearing the gruesome crime that befell her daughter.
“In the evening when my mother came I told her everything. It was a simple thing to her and she never took it seriously. I told her I am bleeding and she said go and wash up we will talk about this some other time. Just like that suddenly I recalled that man’s words and I truly believed him. Till then I have not told anyone about this. I thought my mother is going to protect me, so if my mother failed to protect me no one else could protect me,” said a distraught Ruwona.
Seeking help after being raped
“Physically I had no desire to have sexual intercourse, I was scared. Years passed by and emotionally I was still battling because there were days I had flashbacks of the rape. It’s like a wound, it can never heal but it can stop bleeding. It never heals. It will bleed another time. I felt uncomfortable around men and I never went for counselling. I never went for anything, I thought I will cope on my own,” she said.
“So one day I decided enough is enough and I decided to speak out. That time I figured counselling would be best. I later went for counselling and I was doing well. I had to accept it happened and put everything in the past. Forgiving my mother helped me to heal.”
Director of Save A Woman, Babedi Samakabadi, has highlighted that rape is a permanent wound that one has to live with for the rest of their lives.
“The first thing the victim can do is to admit that they have been abused and they should be able to talk about it to whoever they can trust; could be a close relative, a counsellor, a friend or a pastor. It is not easy to take a step towards your healing but it must be done.
Victims of rape, must create a huge room in their hearts to forgive the perpetrators even when they are not sorry, forgiveness will help the victim to make peace with life and the future. Forgiveness will allow the victim to be able to get over the horrible experience and not associate the intimate relations as abuse at all times,” said Samakabadi.
“If one doesn’t allow themselves to heal and move on, dating and engaging in intimate matters are going to be a problem in their lives. As the victim can disclose to whoever they trust like friends or family, they are also advised to seek more especially professional counselling for proper psychological therapy, as the memories of the incident may torment the victim therefore therapy may assist with getting to live with such memories without being drawn back or life progress being affected . Lastly, the victims must know that issues as these aren’t easy to deal with through our own ability, we need God for strength, wisdom and courage. We have no power to diminish some of the weight in our emotions or the damage done to our souls and hearts, hence we need God to carry us through.”
If you or a loved one is in need of help in dealing with rape or gender based violence, the following organisations provide free counselling services;
BOFWA (Botswana Family Welfare Association) 390 0489
BOSASNET (Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network) 395 9119
LIFE LINE 391 1270
MBGE (Men and Boys for Gender Equality) 395 7763
BGBVC (Botswana Gender Based Violence and Support Centre) 390 7659
BOCAIP (Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme) 391 6454
After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.
On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.
The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.
Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.
The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.
At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.
“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”
The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.
The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.
The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.
However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.
Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.
Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.
“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.
“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”
Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.
Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.