Last week I wrote an article entitled “Remembering the unwanted: Kgosi Linchwe II (1935-2007)”. The article has attracted a rejoinder from one of our country’s renowned historians and writers, Sandy Grant. I am indebted to him for his informative rejoinder to which I respond hereunder.
But before that, I wish to note that any subject, to the extent it is based on accounts from different sources and by individuals with varying experiences and preferences, may have conflicting accounts. Such is the nature of history, the basis for my article on Linchwe.
That notwithstanding, considering that Grant had first hand interactions with Linchwe and several of the people and incidents I relate in the said article, his version is likely to be more reliable than mine. After all, compared to Grant I am a novice in the field of History and I was only born yesterday. But, for most of the facts in the said article I rely on information from a historian and writer of Grant’s class, Dr. Jeff Ramsay.
Firstly, Grant asks “If Chief Molefi took Linchwe out of the Emmerentia school in Warbaths because he didn’t want him to turn into a Boer, it needs to be explained …why he was ever sent there in the first place?”
This is indeed a good question since there seems to be a contradiction. The only answer, which needs verification through primary sources of history, could be that he changed his mind after actual experiences of apartheid which he hitherto may not have actually experienced.
Secondly, Grant raises issue with my assertion that “It is regrettable that Linchwe’s gesture notwithstanding, the Kgatleng District Council only officially lifted the ZCC ban in 1968”. The essence of this assertion is not to cast aspersions on Linchwe, but to cast aspersions on Kgatleng District Council which only lifted the ZCC ban in 1968, two years after Linchwe re-introduced the ZCC to Mochudi for his wedding in 1966.
I am indebted to Grant’s exposition that “in reality, the District Council agreed in 1968 that under the Constitution, the ZCC could not (be) banned, or indeed unbanned.” It is worth noting that if this was indeed Kgatleng District Council’s view it was misled because our recognition of the freedoms of association and religion even predate the Constitution.
Thirdly, Grant states that “whilst Kgosi Linchwe approved and supported projects, he tended not to initiate them. The one exception was the Mochudi library which he established together with Naomi Mitchison”.
I concede to this point because, as a Kgosi who had many advisors and who subscribed to the idea that Kgosi ke Kgosi ka Batho, Linchwe is likely to have got the ideas for the community’s projects from his advisors and his people. That notwithstanding he deserves commendation because other leaders receive advise from their advisors and people, but disregard such advise.
To the extent Grant states that “the Mochudi Community Centre was established by Martin Ennals and a Committee in London with myself as its first Secretary/Warden… One of its twin roles was to act as a transit centre for refugees from South Africa. Renamed the Kgatleng Development Board – to reflect changed priorities – the project ceased to have any involvement with refugees” he cannot be controverted for he is, in this case, a primary source.
Fourthly, Grant asserts that “the Centre was not established through Linchwe's contacts with Martin Ennals, who would later go on to found Amnesty International. The link, in fact, was Naomi Mitchison who had attended Linchwe's 1963 installation. It was she who helped to carry through Martin Ennal’s concern in London about refugees by introducing him to Linchwe”. I am indebted to Grant for this clarification.
Fifth, Grant states that “Amnesty International was founded by Peter Benenson in 1961… Martin Ennals became its second General Secretary in 1967”. He is right. To add, Peter Benenson was a British lawyer and, according to Amnesty International (AI)’s website, AI was founded “…following the publication of the article "The Forgotten Prisoners" in The Observer (of) 28 May 1961.”
Sixth, Grant states that “Linchwe II School was… started by Henderson Tlhoiwe. I am open to correction.” Even if Linchwe II School was started by Henderson Tlhoiwe the fact is that without Linchwe’s support the school would not have been built. No wonder it is named after Linchwe.
Seventh, Grant opines that “I much doubt, and regard as highly improbable, the statement that a door of the Dutch Reformed Church in Mochudi ever had a ‘whites only’ sign.” I served my Tirelo Sechaba in Bokaa village in Kgatleng in the mid-90s and several elderly people gave me account of this and stated that during the apartheid era the Dutch Reformed Church did not only have racist elements, but also had gender discrimination tendencies.
Eighth, in relation to my statement that “Linchwe’s sister, Tshire, did not help matters when she openly campaigned for the BPP candidate” Grant asks the question ‘Help who?’ and opines that “this is an extraordinarily subjective comment. Surely there will be others who would argue the opposite!”
The statement that Tshire did not help matters when she openly campaigned for the BPP candidate means that it exacerbated the belief that Linchwe and/or the royal family were involved in partisan politics. That this is a subjective comment and others would argue the opposite is true for that is the nature of a social science as the one under review.
Ninth, Grant requires either Dr. Ramsay or me to provide the source of the information that “Dr. Kenneth Koma was allowed to use Linchwe’s office, where he wrote Pamphlet No. 1.” I quoted Dr. Ramsay in his article published in the Sunday Standard’s edition of 26th August 2007. Just like Grant, Dr. Ramsay is a renowned historian and writer and I have no reason to doubt his account.
Tenth, Grant states that “Morima, again quoting Ramsay, is incorrect in stating that, “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.”
Grant continues to say “in reality, as should have always been obvious, I could never have used the Kgabo as my election symbol unless Kgosi Linchwe had specifically approved the idea.” There is no variance between our account and Grant’s since we said “Linchwe acquiesced…” meaning that he agreed to Grant’s use of the Kgabo despite Ruele’s strong protests.
Otherwise, I am indebted to Grant for enriching our history by stating that “Whilst Ruele may well have objected to Kgosi Linchwe, his more pertinent objection was made to Festus Mogae who was then Superintendent of Elections. Mogae had previously accepted my choice of symbol as being legally permissible. He was soon to tell me, however, that he had heard Ruele’s objections and had decided to support him, despite his earlier decision.”
Grant is right that “surprisingly it has not become a matter of debate that a chosen electoral symbol could be rejected whilst being legally acceptable.” Over and above debate, this is a matter that could have been better served had Grant taken it to the courts of law so that judicial precedent is set on the matter.
Eleventh, Grant quotes me when I wrote that “In 1975 he (Linchwe) attempted to revive the male and female initiation practices of bogwera and bojale.” According to Grant this leaves the reader guessing. “Either he did or didn’t – was his attempt, as implied, a failure? Or did the ‘attempt' succeed?”
I wish to apologise to my readers for leaving them guessing. The intention of this statement was to show that though he revived the practices the practices later ceased to take place as they used to. It will be remembered that when his son and successor, Kgosi Kgafela II, took over he also tried to revive the practices, with little success.
Twelfth, Grant takes issue with my statement that “perhaps because of Mma Seingwaeng’s influence, Linchwe was also pro-women’s' rights and empowerment… In 1964 he allowed women to fully participate in kgotla meetings”.
It is true, as Grant asserts, that “In 1964 Linchwe was still unmarried but was very much influenced by Naomi Mitchison, an internationally known feminist and author… MmaSeingwaeng has not been widely known, bojale aside, as a pro-feminist.”
It is equally true that MmaSeingwaeng, having been born and bred in South Africa during the apartheid era, is likely to have been conscious not only of the evils of racism, but also of the evil of gender discrimination. She, therefore, is likely to have brought such influence to bear on Linchwe.
Certainly, Naomi Mitchison cannot have been the only influence on Linchwe in as far as women’s' rights are concerned. Grant himself admits this when he says “pinning down influence is always tricky and bound to be speculative.”
Thirteenth, Grant takes issue with my statement that “the stain in his reign remains the 1994 riots following the alleged ritual killing of a school girl, Segametsi Mogomotsi. According to Grant this statement is not credible and it is ridiculous. In his view, by making the statement, I did Linchwe a major injustice.
I apologise if that is the effect of my statement. The purpose of my article was to celebrate the hero that Linchwe remained until his death. By making the statement I was not in any way suggesting that Linchwe did anything wrong. No doubt, to promote law and order, Linchwe was right in appealing for the Police to be given time to investigate the murder. In fact he needs to be commended for averting a crisis.
But the truth is, some people lost confidence in him because they believed that he was protecting the Police. Some even made the unsubstantiated and regrettable allegations that he was involved in Segametsi Mogomotsi’s murder, an allegation that has never been proved.
Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.
The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.
Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.
At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.
Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.
Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).
This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.
In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.
Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?
Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.
POSITIVITY Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.
“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)
We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”
Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.
Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be. You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.
When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.
Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.
However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.” “Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)
COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT
Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.
It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.
Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.
Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.
The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.
It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.