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Remembering the unwanted: Kgosi Linchwe II (1935-2007)

Ndulamo Anthony Morima
EAGLE WATCH

We continue with the series where we remember those of our heroes and heroines who, though unwanted by government, made immense contributions to the legacy we will be celebrating this year. This week we discuss Kgosi Linchwe II of BaKgatla.

Kgosi Linchwe II a Molefi II a Kgafela a Linchwe a Kgamanyane a Pilane a Pheto a Molefe a Kgwefane a Mare a Masellane a Tebele a Kgafela was born on 2nd May 1935 as the first and only son of Kgosi Molefi II and Motlatsi Pilane.

Linchwe went to Linchwe I Primary School and Mochudi National School after which he proceeded to St. Joseph’s College. For his secondary education he went to Emmarentia Geldenhuys School in Warbaths, South Africa. Reportedly, he left Emmarentia because his father, Kgosi Molefi, did not want him to turn into a Boer.

After the tragic death of his father in a car accident in 1958, Linchwe went for his further studies at Woodchester Park School and Southern Municipal College in the United Kingdom. During his absence, his uncle, Kgosi Mmusi Pilane, served as his regent. Linchwe was installed as Kgosi Kgolo of Bakgatla on 6th April 1963.

In 1966 Linchwe married a Bakgatla Baga Mmakau princess, Kathleen Nono Motsepe, known as MmaSeingwaeng. This marriage is significant in that it brought peace within the Bakgatla royal family, and wider Bakgatla community. It also reduced the hostility between adherents of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and those of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC).

According to Dr. Jeff Ramsay, writing in the Sunday Standard edition of 26th August 2007, “For many decades the leader of the later faction was Linchwe’s grandmother, Seingwaeng.
In 1947 Seingwaeng, along with other leading Zionists, was exiled from Kgatleng by her son, Kgosi Molefi. The group subsequently found refuge, in 1953, at Lentswe le Moriti”.

Linchwe deserves commendation because after his installation as Kgosi Kgolo, he ensured Seingwaeng’s return to Mochudi. In another admirable reconciliatory gesture he invited the ZCC’s Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane and his band to be a part of his wedding celebration.

It is regrettable that Linchwe’s gesture notwithstanding, the Kgatleng District Council only officially lifted the ZCC ban in 1968. According to Dr. Ramsay “…Over the years, Linchwe was called upon to play a mediating role in internal church disputes involving local Lutherans, as well as ZCC and DRC.”

Like Kgosi Seepapitso IV of BaNgwaketse, Linchwe served in the public service. He served as Botswana’s Ambassador to the United States of America from 1969 to 1972. He also served as the President of the Customary Court of Appeal from 1991 until he joined his ancestors in 2007.

Not only that. Linchwe served as the Chairman of the Kgatleng District Council for many years until he voluntarily stepped down in 1982.
During the late 1970s, he led the Botswana National Football Association as its president.

Linchwe initiated several development projects in Kgatleng. Through the international contacts he had established with the assistance of his associate, prominent author and social activist, Lady Naomi Mitchison, he undertook such projects as the establishment of the Mochudi Library, Linchwe II Secondary School, the Mochudi Community Centre (later called Kgatleng Youth Development Association) and the Refugee Centre.

According to Dr. Ramsay “…The Refugee Centre, which was the only such institution in the region under a “tribal authority”, was established through Linchwe’s contact with Martin Ennals, who would later go on to found Amnesty International.” Other projects initiated and/or supported by Linchwe were the establishment of the Lentswe la Odi Weavers, Phuthadikobo Museum and the Botswana Work Camps Association.

Linchwe played a significant role in the fight against racism. He accompanied Lady Mitchison to the then racially segregated Mafikeng in 1963; he, in 1964, brandishing a gun, entered into the “whites only” bar in Mahalapye, after having first been refused service; he barred an alleged racist from entering Mochudi in 1965 and he, in 1969, insisted in using the whites only entrance at the then Jan Smuts Airport in Johannesburg.

According to Sandy Grant’s Botswana Notes and Records Linchwe banned “…a white Station Master at Pilane from entering Mochudi. This was after the Station Master had ordered Mrs. Pauline Chiepe out of the whites only seat in 1964…In 1977, he refused to attend the centenary anniversary celebrations of the Dutch Reformed Church in Mochudi. At some stage, the church had the “whites only” sign on a door.”

Linchwe, together with Kgosi Bathoen II of BaNgwaketse and Kgosi Kelemogile Mokgosi of Balete fought in defense of Bogosi when its position was threatened in view of Botswana’s move towards independence. This they did by arguing for the retention of Bogosi at the 1963 Constitutional Conference held in Lobatse.

Like his son and successor, Kgosi Kgafela II, Linchwe was, in the 1960s, critical of the role played by the House of Chiefs and turned down offers to be its first Chairman.

According to Dr. Ramsay, the then British Resident Commissioner, Sir Peter Fawcus, stated that “Chief Linchwe said that he was personally not able to see that the House of Chiefs would be of value…”

However, later Linchwe accepted the House of Chiefs. Sir Fawcus quoted him during our 20th anniversary of independence saying “I doubt if a House of Chiefs exists in other countries. But here, we Batswana have been led by chiefs from time immemorial and we have realized it would be wrong to get rid of chieftainship as such…so we decided to provide in our constitution for two Houses – The National Assembly and the House of Chiefs…”

Like Kgosi Seepapitso IV, Linchwe was not trusted by government because of suspicion that he was a member of the Opposition. This suspicion was worsened when, in 1963, he delivered a welcoming address at the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP)’s annual conference held in Mochudi.


According to Dr. Ramsay “Many of the then Kgatleng based BPP activists had earlier been associated with a local political movement of mostly young progressives, commonly known as “Mphetsebe”, which had advocated for Linchwe’s early installation”.

Tshire, Linchwe’s sister, did not help matters when she openly campaigned for the BPP Mochudi candidate, T.W. Motlhagodi, who won the Parliamentary seat during Botswana’s first elections in 1965.

According to Dr. Ramsay these suspicions grew because “…from April to October 1965, Linchwe further hosted a series of meetings among opposition political figures in Mochudi which, on the 10th of October, culminated in the launching of the Botswana National Front”.

However, Dr. Ramsay writes that “after opening this gathering, Linchwe withdrew on the grounds that his position barred him from active participation in partisan politics.
However, during the same period, Dr. Koma was allowed to use Linchwe’s office, where he wrote Pamphlet No. 1.”

Apparently, not even the fact that in 1965 Mochudi hosted the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s 4th National Conference abated government’s suspicion that Linchwe was pro-Opposition. On the contrary, according to Dr. Ramsay “…the political speculation resurfaced during the 1984 election, when Linchwe was suspected of being sympathetic to Ray Molomo’s unsuccessful bid to unseat the then Member of Parliament (MP), Greek Ruele, in the BDP’s primary elections.”

Dr. Ramsay  continues to say, “…thereafter, there was further controversy when Linchwe acquiesced, despite Ruele’s strong protests, to the use by an independent candidate, Sandy Grant, of the Bakgatla totem, a monkey, as his election symbol; (Grant, however, agreed to give up the symbol)”.

Government’s displeasure with Linchwe was confirmed when shortly after the election the then Assistant Minister of Local Government and Lands, Lesedi Mothibamele, reprimanded Linchwe during a kgotla meeting for meddling in politics.

Linchwe’s relationship with the Opposition was not without incident. According to the Daily News’s edition of 29th August 2007 “…his car was petrol bombed at Motimalenyora Bar in Mochudi in 1976… The bombing followed a series of events involving him and Opposition politicians. It all started with a meeting he addressed in Mochudi, urging Batswana to contribute towards Botswana University Campus Appeal…”

The report continues to say “…at the meeting, a certain Rapula Sello spoke against the appeal but Kgosi Linchwe reprimanded him for introducing a BNF resolution at the kgotla. The BNF had resolved at a meeting in Serowe earlier in the week to discourage its members from contributing to BUCA…”

It goes on to say “…the following weekend, the BNF attacked him at a meeting in Gaborone and challenged him to decide whether he was the Bakgatla Kgosi or a BDP MP. One of the speakers at that meeting was subsequently arrested and convicted for the car bombing, but was acquitted on appeal…”

According to the report “…Kgosi Linchwe had in response to the BNF attack said party officials who attacked him had placed the noose around their necks and invited me to pull. Activities of the BNF remained low in Kgatleng following the run-ins. It was only in 1984 when Dr. Kenneth Koma initiated reconciliation moves that the party regrouped in the district.

Linchwe also endeavored to preserve his tribe’s culture. In 1975 he attempted to revive the male and female initiation practices of bogwera and bojale. Linchwe, being the culturist he was, imposed his own hunting bans on certain species as dictated by custom.

Being the non-conformist he was, during bogwera and bojale, Linchwe organised unlicensed hunts for the initiates, something which brought him at loggerheads with Department of Wildlife officers.

Linchwe also called for the legalization of dagga; the expulsion of corrupt local Councillors, educational reforms such as Education with Production and Bakgatla volunteers to assist in the liberation of Zimbabwe. The Daily News reports that “…in 1974, he abandoned the body of a Motswana on a table at Sikwane Immigration Offices after staff refused the body entry because the deceased had no passport…The body was finally allowed into the country for burial after intervention by Home Affairs Minister Mr. Bakwena Kgari…”

Perhaps because of MmaSeingwaeng’s influence Linchwe was also pro-women rights and empowerment. In 1964, he allowed women to fully participate in kgotla meetings. In 1979 he raised paternity payments in Kgatleng from the standard P 180.00 to P 720.00 to cater for inflation.

In 1991 Linchwe relived himself of the daily affairs of his morafe to become the President of the Customary Court of Appeal. The stain in his reign remains the 1994 riots following the alleged ritual killing of a school girl, Segametsi Mogomotsi. Linchwe angered the rioters when he appealed for the Police to be given time to investigate the gruesome murder, something which fueled suspicion that he was involved in the ritual murder.

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Appendicitis: Recognising the Signs

29th March 2022

Many a times I get clients casually walking into my room and requesting to be checked for “appendix”.  Few questions down the line, it is clear they are unaware of where the appendix is or what to expect when one does have it (appendicitis). Jokingly (or maybe not) I would tell them they would possibly not be having appendicitis and laughing as hard as they are doing. On the other hand, I would be impressed that at least they know and acknowledge that appendicitis is a serious thing that they should be worried about.

So, what is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix; a thin, finger-like pouch attached to the large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. Often the inflammation can be as a result of blockage either by the faecal matter, a foreign body, infection, trauma or a tumour. Appendicitis is generally acute, with symptoms coming on over the course of a day and becoming severe rapidly. Chronic appendicitis can also occur, though rarely. In chronic cases, symptoms are less severe and can last for days, weeks, or even months. 

Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency that almost always ends up in the operating theatre. Though the appendix is locally referred to as “lela la sukiri”, no one knows its exact role and it definitely does not have anything to do with sugar metabolism. Appendicitis can strike at any age, but it is mostly common from the teen years to the 30s.

Signs to look out for

If you have any of the following symptoms, go and see a Doctor immediately! Timely diagnosis and treatment are vital in acute appendicitis;

Sudden pain that starts around the navel and shifts to the lower right abdomen within hours

The pain becomes constant and increases in severity (or comes back despite painkillers)

The pain worsens on coughing, sneezing, laughing, walking or deep breaths

Loss of appetite

Nausea and vomiting

Fever

Constipation or diarrhoea

Abdominal bloating/fullness

Diagnosis

The doctor often asks questions regarding the symptoms and the patient’s medical history. This will be followed up by a physical examination in which the Doctor presses on the abdomen to check for any tenderness, and the location of the pain. With acute appendicitis, pressing on and letting go of the right lower abdomen usually elicits an excruciatingly unbearable pain. Several tests may be ordered to determine especially the severity of the illness and to rule out other causes of abdominal pain. The tests may conditions include: blood tests, a pregnancy test, urinalysis, abdominal  “How do ultrasound scans work?” ultrasound (scan), CT scan or MRI Scan.

Treatment

The gold standard treatment of acute appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix known as appendectomy. Luckily, a person can live just fine without an appendix! Surgical options include laparoscopy or open surgery and the type will be decided on by the Surgeon after assessing the patient’s condition. Painkillers and antibiotics are also given intravenously usually before, during and after the surgery.

Complications

Appendicitis can cause serious complications such as;

Appendicular mass/abscessIf the appendix is inflamed or bursts, one may develop a pocket of pus around it known as an abscess. In most cases, the abscess will be treated with antibiotics and drained first by placing a tube through one’s abdominal wall into the abscess. The tube may be left in place for a few hours or days while the infection is clearing up but ultimately one would still have surgery to remove the appendix.

Peritonitis – without treatment, the appendix can rupture/burst. The risk of this rises 48–72 hours after symptoms start. A ruptured appendix spreads the infection throughout the abdomen (peritonitis). This is life threatening and requires immediate surgery to remove the appendix and clean the abdominal cavity.

Death – The complications of appendicitis (and appendectomy) can be life threatening, only if the diagnosis has been missed and no proper treatment has been given on time. This is rare though with the evolved medical care.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email  HYPERLINK “mailto:info@themedicscentre.co.bw” info@themedicscentre.co.bw or visit www.themedisccentre.co.bw

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

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A degree of common sense

7th February 2022

Here’s a news item from last month you may have missed. In December 2021 the University of Staffordshire announced it would be offered a degree course in pantomime! Yes, that’s right, a degree in popular festive entertainment, the Christmas panto.

We used to have one here, put on by the Capitol Players, though it seems to have fallen away in recent times, but the spectacle is still alive and well in the UK, both in local ad-dram (amateur dramatic ) societies and on the London stage and most of the major cities, these latter productions usually featuring at least one big-draw name from the world of show business with ticket prices commensurate with the star’s salary.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the pantomime format, it consists of a raucous mixture of songs and comedy all based around a well-known fairy or folk tale. Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, Cinderella, Jack & The Beanstalk & Dick Whittington are perennial favourites but any well-known tall tale goes. There is no set script, unlike a play, and storyline is just a peg to hang a coat of contemporary, often bawdy, gags on, in what should be a rollicking production of cross dressing – there has to be at least one pantomime dame, played by a man and always a figure of fun, and a Principal Boy, ostensibly the male lead, yet played by an attractive young woman.

As an art form it can trace its roots back to 16th century Italy and the Commedia Del’Arte which used a mélange of music, dance, acrobatics along with a cast of comic stock characters so it has a long and proud theatrical tradition but you have to wonder, does that really qualify it as a suitable subject for a university? Further, what use might any degree be that can be acquired in a single year? And last but not least, how much standing does any degree have which comes from a jumped-up polytechnic, granted university status along with many of its ilk back in 1992, for reasons best known to the government of the time? Even more worrying are the stated aims of the course.

Staffordshire University claims it is a world first and the masters course is aimed at people working inside as well as outside the industry. Students on the course, due to start in September 2022, will get practical training in the art form as well as research the discipline.

“We want to see how far we can take this,” Associate Professor of Acting and Directing Robert Marsden said. The role of pantomime in the 21st Century was also going to be examined, he said, “particularly post Me Too and Black Lives Matter”. Questions including “how do we address the gender issues, how do we tell the story of Aladdin in 2021, how do we get that balance of male/female roles?” will be asked, Prof Marsden added.

Eek! Sounds like Prof. Marsden wants to rob it of both its history and its comedic aspects – well, good luck with that! Of course that isn’t the only bizarre, obscure and frankly time and money-wasting degree course available. Staying with the performing arts there’s Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance at Bath Spa University. Sounds like fun but why on earth would a circus performer need a university degree?

Or how about a Surf Science and Technology degree at Cornwall College (part of the University of Plymouth). Where the one thing you don’t learn is….how to surf!

Then there is a  degree in Floral Design at University Centre Myerscough. No, I hadn’t heard of it either – turns out it’s a college of further education in Preston, a town that in my experience fits the old joke of ‘I went there once…..It was closed’ to a ‘T’!

Another handy (pun intended) art is that of Hand Embroidery BA (Hons), offered at the University for the Creative Arts. Or you could waste away sorry, while away, your time on a course in Animal Behaviour and Psychology. This degree at the University of Chester teaches you about the way animals think and feel. Cockroaches have personalities according to the subject specs– you couldn’t make it up.

Happily all these educational institutes may have to look to their laurels and try to justify their very existence in the near future. In plans announced this week, universities could face fines of up to £500,000 (P750m), be stripped of their right to take student loans or effectively shut down if they cannot get 60 per cent of students into a professional job under a crackdown on ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses. Further, at least 80 per cent of students should not drop out after the first year, and 75 per cent should graduate.

The rules, published by the Office for Students (OfS), aim to eliminate ‘low-quality’ courses by setting new standards & requiring courses to improve their rating in the TEF, the official universities ratings system. Universities not meeting the new standards will not be able to charge full annual fees of £9,250. Unconventional courses that could fall victim to the new rules could include the University of Sunderland’s BA in Fashion Journalism, where students learn essential’ skills such as catwalk reporting and the history of Chanel.  They have only a 40 per cent chance of entering highly skilled work 15 months after leaving.

At University College Birmingham, BSC Bakery and Patisserie Technology students – who learn how to ‘make artisan bread’ – have a 15 per cent chance of a professional job within 15 months. Universities minister Michelle Donelan welcomed the move, saying ‘When students go to university, they do so in the pursuit of a life-changing education, one which helps pave their path towards a highly skilled career. Any university that fails to match this ambition must be held to account.’

OfS found that at 25 universities, fewer than half of students find professional work within 15 months.  Business and management courses at the University of Bedfordshire (14.8 per cent) were among the least likely to lead to graduate-level jobs.  Asked to comment, the University of Sunderland said it always looked ‘to find ways to improve outcomes’; University College Birmingham said data on graduates and definition of ‘professional work’ was limited. I’ll bet it is! As the saying goes, ’what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over’. What a pantomime!

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Why regular health checks are important!

7th February 2022

With the world still reeling from the negative impact of the Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), and the latest Omicron variant (which is responsible for the ongoing global forth wave) on everyone’s lips, we should not forget and neglect other aspects of our health.

While anyone can get infected with corona virus and become seriously ill or die at any age, studies continue to show that people aged 60 years and above, and those with underlying medical conditions like hypertension, heart and lung problems, diabetes, obesity, cancers, or mental illness are at a higher risk of developing serious illness or dying from covid-19.

It is a good habit to visit a doctor regularly, even if you feel healthy. Regular health checks can help identify any early signs of health issues or assess your risk of future illness hence prompting one to take charge and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other non-communicable diseases (even communicable) can often be picked up in their early stages, when chances for effective treatment are high.

During a health check, your doctor will take a thorough history from you regarding your medical history, your family’s history of disease, your social life and habits, including your diet, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking and drug intake. S/he will examine you including measuring your weight, blood pressure, feeling your body organs and listening to your heart and lungs amongst the rest. Depending on the assessment, your doctor will notify you how often you need to have a health check. If you have a high risk of a particular health condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent health checks from an early age.

Diet – a healthy diet improves one’s general health and wellbeing. It is recommended that we have at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily. Physical activity – regular physical activity has significant health benefits on one’s body, mind & soul. It contributes to preventing and managing non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhances thinking, learning, and judgment skills and improves overall well-being. According to the world health organisation (WHO), people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour of moderate physical activity at least four days in a week. Examples of moderate physical activity include brisk walking, gentle swimming and social tennis.

Weight – maintaining a healthy weight range helps in preventing long-term complications like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. It is also vital for one’s mental wellbeing and keeping up with normal activities of daily living. Ask your doctor to check your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference annually. If you are at a higher risk, you should have your weight checked more frequently and a stern management plan in place.

Alcohol – as per WHO reports, alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Healthy drinking entails taking no more than two standard drinks per drinking day with at least two alcohol-free days in a week.

Smoking –Nicotine contained in tobacco is highly addictive and tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, many different types of cancer, and many other debilitating health conditions. Every year, at least a whopping 8 million people succumb from tobacco use worldwide. Tobacco can also be deadly for non-smokers through second-hand smoke exposure. It is not ‘fashionable’ if it is going to cost you and your loved ones lives! If you are currently smoking, talk to your doctor and get help in quitting as soon as possible to reduce the harm.

Blood pressure: Hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. It is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women – over a billion people – having the condition. Have your blood pressure checked annually if it is normal, you are aged under 40 and there is no family history of hypertension. You might need to have it checked more frequently if you are over 40, your blood pressure is on the high side, or you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack. Your doctor will be there to guide you.

Dental care – eating a low-sugar diet and cleaning and flossing the teeth regularly can reduce one’s risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Visit a dentist every six months for a dental examination and professional cleaning, or more frequently as per your dentist’s advice.
Blood tests – annual to five-yearly blood tests may be done to further assess or confirm risk of disease. These may include blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, kidney function, liver function, tumour markers, among other things. They may be done frequently if there is already an existing medical condition.

Cancer screening – various screening techniques can be done to detect different cancers in their early or pre-cancer stages. These include; skin inspections for any suspicious moles/spots, two-yearly mammograms for those at risk of developing breast cancer, Pap smear or the new Cervical Screening Test (CST) every five years, stool tests and colonoscopy (every five years) for those at most risk of bowel cancer, prostate cancer screening for those at risk (over 45 years of age, family history of cancers etc.). Discuss appropriate tests with your doctor.

Vaccinations – You should discuss with your doctor about the necessary routine immunisation, in particular; the Covid-19 vaccines, an annual flu shot, a five-yearly pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had one or you are immunocompromised and any other boosters that you might need.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email HYPERLINK “mailto:info@themedicscentre.co.bw” info@themedicscentre.co.bw or visit www.themedisccentre.co.bw

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

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