Connect with us


Jeff Ramsay


We last left off with the observation that, at the time of outbreak of the Second World War, the bitter experiences endured by veterans who had served during the First World War in “Native Labour Contingents” within the South African Union Defence Force (SAUDF) had contributed to a consensus that any Batswana participation in another armed conflict against Germany had to be different.

As it was, initially the British did not see the need for any local troops.

Notwithstanding the rapid fall of Poland to the Germans in the first month of the war, the British and French forces were, prior to May 1940, lulled into a false sense of security behind the massive defences of the Maginot Line in France.

The German’s lightening advance through France in May-June 1940 thus came as a severe shock. On the 22nd of June 1940 the French capitulated, by which time the British army had been evacuated home in complete defeat.

 A largely overlooked aspect of the otherwise infamous Fall of France was the massacre by some German units of captured black African troops serving in the French Army.

One here must emphasize “black” given that the darker skinned troops from North Africa were, for example, separated from their lighter skinned comrades and marked for execution.

At a symbolic level, the Germans further destroyed the war memorial to “Force Noire”, the black troops who had fought for France in World War I. During his brief visit to conquered Paris, Hitler also personally ordered the further destruction of the monument to Force Noire’s most prominent champion, General Charles Mangin.

The massacres and desecrations were a reflection of the extreme racist contempt that Hitler and his fellow Nazis felt towards the presence of any black people, much less black troops, in Europe. Before the war the Nazis had forcibly sterilised members of the small black and mixed race community that existed in Germany itself.

Subsequently most disappeared into the concentration camps alongside Jews, Romani and other ethno-racially targeted groups.

By the end of June 1940 Britain thus stood alone in Europe against Nazi Germany, now joined by Fascist Italy and the smaller Axis states. Yet, in the following December a proposal by local dikgosi, led by Tshekedi Khama, to create a “Bechuanaland Protectorate Labour Corps” under imperial British rather than South African command was firmly rejected.

While there were once more openings for blacks to serve as labourers within the SAUDF, London was still content to look primarily to the white elements of the British Empire and Commonwealth for military manpower.

In June 1941, nearly two years after the war’s outbreak, the British reversed their policy, finally agreeing on the need for more troops from Botswana and elsewhere in Africa.

In this context, they for the first time sanctioned the formation of an indigenous military force under imperial command for High Commission Territories, i.e. Basutoland (Lesotho) and Swaziland as well as the Bechuanaland Protectorate. This belated call to arms was a product of growing desperation.

By the middle of 1941, the Germans had driven the British out of Libya and Greece and were threatening the Suez Canal, the very lifeline of the Empire.

The new unit of the imperial army that Batswana, Basotho and Swazi were to be recruited into was called the African Auxiliary Pioneer Corps (APC). The demeaning term "Auxiliary" was however subsequently dropped, in recognition that the African Pioneers performed at the same level as those from Britain and elsewhere in the Empire.

From the beginning the Batswana response to the recruitment drive was overwhelming due to the strong support for the APC among most of the territory’s dikgosi. Underlying the dikgosi's wish to have their men in uniform was a continuing desire to contrast their people’s loyalty to MmaMosadinyana with the overt pro-Nazi sympathies of many Afrikaner/Boer nationalists.

Tshekedi Khama, in particular, hoped that the creation of Batswana military units outside of the SAUDF would ultimately serve as a post-war political counterweight to South Africa’s continuing desire to incorporate the Protectorate.

In British military terminology of the period "Pioneers" or “sappers” were troops who carried out such functions as the building or rebuilding bridges, roads and fortifications. Yet, before the war was over, a quarter of the APC's companies were in fact serving as gunners operating 3.7 inch Heavy Anti-Aircraft (HAA) artillery.

The term "Pioneer", nonetheless, survived for the entire unit until 1946 when the APC was superseded by the short-lived High Commission Territories Corps.

Recruitment into the APC was largely carried out by the dikgosi. In some of the Tribal Reserves a letsholo meeting was held to formally declare war on Bojeremani and Boitali. Mephato were then called upon to provide a quota of men.

Although the most senior mephato were excluded, many who came forward were middle aged. Among the Bakwena the Mathubantwa regiment of the late Kgosi Sebele II, which included many veterans of the First World War, was given the task of rounding up recruits.

Continue Reading


Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!


Continue Reading


Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!


Continue Reading



23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!