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Jeff Ramsay

Sekgoma aLetsholathebe (1873-1914) was Kgosi of the Batawana from 1891 until his removal from power by the British in 1906. As a ruler he was both talented and ruthless. Through his charisma and skilful use of patronage, he also came to command broad support among his subjects. This was especially true of those who were not at the time considered to be the paternal descendents of the morafe's original, Bangwato, founders.

It is widely held that Sekgoma assumed the throne as regent for the then under age Mathiba (1888-1933), who was the son of his elder brother Kgosi Moremi II (1855-1891). Moremi II had ruled the Batawana from 1877 until 1891, during which time the kingdom had prospered. A highlight of Moremi II's reign had been his decisive victory over invading Amandebele in the 1884 battle at Khutiyabasadi.

Moremi and Sekgoma were born of different mothers. Their father, Kgosi Letsholathebe I (c.1830-74; ruled from 1847-74) had had at least eight wives, but only three living sons at the time of his death. The mother of Moremi was Mphepheng, who had been a Mongwaketse captive of the Amandebele before escaping to Ngamiland. Her marriage to Letsholathebe was confirmed shortly after the latter assumed bogosi. Before then she is said to have been the wife of one of Letsholathebe's age mates.

Sekgoma's mother, Boleko, was a daughter of the Bangwato Kgosi Sekgoma I, and thus a half-sister to his successor Khama III. She died while giving birth to Sekgoma, a few months before Letsholathebe's own death.

During Moremi's reign, Sekgoma was raised in the household of his uncle Dithapo aMeno. A prominent kgosana who was also Moremi's paternal cousin, Dithapo arranged for Sekgoma to spend much of his youth away from the court at a distant cattle post. There it is said that he underwent a form of initiation with local Khoe (Basarwa), prior to his 1891 bogwera.

The above genealogical background is of significance given that once in power Sekgoma, with Dithapo's support, insisted that he was Letsholathebe's true heir. This ambition for bogosi had shown itself earlier, in 1889-90, when Sekgoma had twice attempted to seize power. A notable aspect of these incidents was that Sekgoma had apparently enjoyed the support of a group of Wayeyi, who Batawana in general then considered to be political subordinates.

The first coup occurred while Moremi was away on a hunting expedition. Sekgoma and his supporters were able to control the then capital, Tsau, for a few weeks until his return. A few months later Sekgoma regrouped to make a second attempt, but was defeated an armed skirmish. This event is confirmed by European eyewitnesses, but is seemingly forgotten local oral traditions.

There were thus already serious political divisions within the Batawana state when Moremi died only a few months after crushing Sekgoma's second rebellion. Dithapo presided over the kgotla that installed Sekgoma in the face of considerable resistance by a faction led by another prominent kgosana, Thabeng Mogalakwe.

Relations between Bo-Mogalakwe and Bo-Sekgoma were soon worsened when Sekgoma took as his first wife Seokoneng, who was then married to Nakedi, the son of Thabeng.

Thereafter, questions arose as to whether he was properly crowned as a ruler in his own right or was merely acting as the Motswaraledi-Kgosi or Regent for his young nephew Mathiba aMoremi II.

In the months immediately preceding his installation, Ngamiland, that is the then core area of the Gatawana kingdom, became part of the Bechuanaland Protectorate. This was a direct result of the Anglo-German boundary agreement of 1890, which resolved a wide range of territorial disputes between the two countries.

Prior to 1890, Germany had made its own claims over Ngamiland with a number of official and private expeditions. Having been disappointed with the harsh environment of central Namibia, some Germans saw Ngamiland as a logical place to expand white settler farming.

Writing in an 1886 volume of the semi-official Deutsche Kolonialzeitung (German Colonial Journal) one such advocate had declared that the Batawana could be easily relieved of their land as they were "small and weakly built and morally and physically degenerate", adding: "The richest of the Tawana kaffirs possess horses and guns, but they are unable to use them well."

The above contempt for Batawana martial prowess ran counter to earlier observations by another German, Schulz, who in 1884 had noted that Moremi II could field a mobile strike force of about 5000 armed men. The build up of Batawana military might had begun under Letsholathebe and continued during the reigns of both of his sons, Moremi and Sekgoma. This had allowed the Batawana to successfully resist incursions by the Makololo, Amandebele and Boer Dorseland trekkers, while expanding their hegemony over such other groups as the Wayeyi, Bananjwa, Hambukushu and various Khoisan or Basarwa communities.

As the late Professor Tlou has previously pointed out, by the 1880s the elite soldiers among the Batawana consisted of mounted troops, who were under the Kgosi's direct command. The strength of this royal cavalry had been augmented c.1882 by the purchase of 2000 modern breech-loading rifles. Below the cavalry were foot soldiers organised along the lines of traditional mephato and generally armed older muzzle-loading muskets.

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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.

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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.

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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”!

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