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NTEBOGANG RATSHOSA (1882-1979), MOTSHWARELEDI OF THE BANGWAKETSE (1924-1928)

Jeff Ramsay
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA


In 1916 Batswana were shocked by the murder of the Bangwaketse Kgosi Seepapitso III in his kgotla by his brother Moeapitso. At the time Seepapitso’s heir, the future Bathoen II, was only eight years old. It was thus necessary to wait until he reached maturity to be installed. During this period the interests of the Bangwaketse royal house and tribal administration were safe-guarded by two strong women. One was Seepapitso III’s mother, the “one-eyed Queen” Mohumagadi Gagoangwe Gaseitsiwe (nee Sechele). The second was his elder sister, Ntebogang.

In 1923, after seven troubled years working through three male regents, Gagoangwe installed herself as Motshwareledi (regent). Already dying of cancer, she shortly thereafter named Ntebogang to succeed her.  Like her mother, Ntebogang was absolutely devoted to the welfare of her people, while preparing for their future under Bathoen II.

Born in Kanye in 1882 as the child of Kgosi Bathoen I and related through her mother to Bakwena royalty; like other members of her household she received a formal education and was raised in a strict Christian manner. She married the Bangwato noble Ratshosa Motswetla, by whom she bore three children, but returned to Kanye after being widowed in 1917. In 1923 she left the LMS (UCCSA) church to become a lifelong Seventh Day Adventist (SDA – “Sabata”).

Ntebogang’s determination helped her face the relatively weak position she initially occupied as Motshwareledi. The LMS-men who then dominated the kgotla resented the SDA. She was also disadvantaged by her status a widow.

To bolster her position Ntebogang appointed six men to serve as an advisory council. Though all of the councillors served her loyally, she came to rely on one in particular, Kgampu Kamodi, who usually acted as her deputy at the Kgotla.

Among Ntebogang’s early initiatives were efforts to combat the large swarms of locusts. She organized an extensive well-digging campaign to provide large amounts of water needed for mixing chemical sprays and for the hundreds of oxen pulling the wagons of the anti-locusts teams.

Ntebogang also notably used her SDA connections to establish the first medical care centres throughout Gangwaketse. At Kanye, the Protectorate’s first clinics were introduced, followed by the hospital, with additional early facilities placed in Manyana and Lehututu.  With the subsequent introduction of a tribal levy to support the SDA medical services, the Bangwaketse were able to establish what for its time was a model public health system two decades before the NHS in Britain.

Ntebogang’s regency is also remembered for enforcing public codes of conduct that had lapsed since the death of her brother, such as reviving the ban on the sale of khadi.

She also made her presence felt outside Gangwaketse. Ntebogang was first woman to sit in the “Native Advisory Council” and became one of its most outspoken members, often speaking against the threat of the Bechuanaland Protectorate being incorporated into the Union of South Africa.

When Protectorate Government sought South African assistance for the anti-locust campaign, Ntebogang objected. She feared that if such men dug wells or discovered minerals in the process, they might try to claim the land as their own. She got her way, and the work was done by Bangwaketse and local Protectorate employees.

Through the NAC, Ntebogang also obtained money to greatly expand the piped-water scheme in Kanye and set up bull camps, projects which her nephew subsequently continued and expanded.

In 1926, when the Ratshosa brothers were banned from Gammangwato by Tshekedi Khama, Ntebogang helped to quiet the conflict. With Bathoen II’s support (she often referred important matters to him, knowing he would inherit the consequences), Ntebogang provided political refuge to the Ratshosa wives, MmaKhama and Baboni, on condition that they refrain from political intrigue. Her neutrality was accepted by Tshekedi, who later helped Ntebogang retrieve 150 of her cattle, which had been seized by Jonnie Ratshosa.

Ntebogang, Tshekedi and her first cousin, the Bakwena Kgosi Sebele II, also cooperated in 1927, when the Protectorate Government began to seriously to threaten the powers of dikgosi. They decided to take action after the Government passed a series proclamations affecting customary law and held inquiries into the treatment of the so-called Bushmen.

Believing there could be a South African hand behind these developments the three decided to go over the head of the Mahikeng based Resident Commissioner, Jules “Rramaeba” Ellenberger, by sending a petition to the High Commissioner in Pretoria, the Earl of Athlone. This resulted in the later being instructed by London to reassure the three royals, much to the consternation of the Mahikeng Administration.

Concerned about Ntebogang’s growing territorial influence, Ellenberger was happy to see her handover to Bathoen II. At the installation ceremony, Ntebogang offered her nephew the following thoughts: “Rich and poor are presented to you; liars are also presented to you. Whatever he be, everyone is yours, they are like the wives of one man—wives of one man never love each other and these wives of yours will be like that.”

For many years thereafter Ntebogang continued to offer wise counsel to royals and commoners alike, while devoting much of her time to the SDA.

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Fate of Africa: Underdevelopment Authored in the Corridors of Western Intrigue   

17th November 2020
Howard Nicholas

There is a saying in South Africa which avers that, “the White   man has no kin: his kin is money”.  The saying rings very true considering what Mayer Amschel Rothschild – he of the planet’s wealthiest family – once said, that, “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!”

To the white man, the dollar sign looms so large in his optics that it was precisely the reason he appropriated Africa towards the end of the 19th century. The idea was to develop his continent, Europe, at the same rate as he underdeveloped Africa. Yet he was driven as much by economic imperatives as by sheer greed and prejudice.

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The Desolation Sacrilege

17th November 2020
THE UNHOLY EPIPHANY

 A “pagan” King violates the Jewish Temple by setting up an idol in the Holy of Holies

 

Why, General Atiku, has the Judean setting (present-day Israel/Palestine) being the focus of so much geopolitical fervour over the ages when it is so resource-poor and is not even that agriculturally fecund being a virtual desert? Why have all the superpowers of history locked horns over it since days immemorial?

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Joy or grief in the hereafter

17th November 2020

Just a ‘teaser’: we are all complaining of the ‘hot weather’ and ‘heat’ – but think about it, is this a reminder / warning from the Almighty that if we find this weather ‘hot’ can you imagine what the ‘fires of hell’ will be like should we get there?

Let us take this as a reminder and a ‘warning’ that we should change our lifestyles so that we follow in the path of righteousness and that which our Lord has directed. Failing this we will face the ‘fire of hell’ which undoubtedly will be many times worse than what we are facing on this earth.

Because as humans we have been favoured and bestowed with the power of intellect thus we enjoy greatness over other creation, coupled with a greater responsibility. Should that responsibility be misused then only on the Day of Reckoning will he know we will live in joy or in grief forever.

Since the dawn of creation Allah has sent down thousands of messengers, dozens of Divine Books but only ONE universal Message to humanity. That message of Divine Revelation and guidance is clear, unambiguous and eternal:

  • Allah is One, He is Master and Creator of the universe and of mankind and to Him is due all worship and obedience.
  • He has sent humanity Divine Revelation and guidance through His Messengers and His Books.
  • As death is inevitable in this world, equally is our resurrection in the Hereafter where everyone will face the consequences of their belief, unbelief and conduct in this temporal world.

This is the basic message, teaching and belief of every religion and without doubt we will all be called to account for our lives in this world and the manner in which we conducted ourselves, will be rewarded thereafter, the consequences of which may be joy forever for some or grief forever for others.

“It is He [Allah] Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deeds and He is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (Qur’an: 67: 2)

 

In Islam the teachings of the Qur’an and the Last and Final Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) give clear guidance to the believer on how to live a life in this world so as to achieve success in the Hereafter.

‘If any do wish for the transitory things of this life, We readily grant them, such things as We will, to such persons as We will…… those who wish for the things of the Hereafter and strive for them with all due striving, and have faith, they are the ones whose striving is acceptable to Allah’ (Qur’an 17: 18-19)

In this world when a person sets out on a journey towards our Maker (Allah), he finds two paths, one leading to God and the other path to different destinations. A sincere and faithful believer will always try to find the right path and to live by the Divine injunctions, laws and code that his religion lays down. This requires us to live in harmony with the will of the Creator, in harmony with our own selves, and with the needs of the rest of creation. Unfortunately we have a tendency at times to toy with Divine Law and to surrender it to the laws of man and in the process to translate and interpret them into what fits in with our lifestyle of today.

If we are to use the intellect and the freedom of choice bestowed to us by God Almighty and follow His guidance, we will then live consciously in a state of “submission’ to Him, thus we will be virtuous. On the other hand when we ignore our Creators injunctions we work against the natural order, we tend to create discord, injustice and evil – and we become one without guidance. Therefore it is the intellect and the freedom of choice given to us that we are fully responsible for whatever we do.

However, it would be foolish for us to think of ourselves as totally independent and self-sufficient. If a person thinks in this manner, we become proud and. We will be inclined to become ungrateful for the bounties that we enjoy – the air that we breathe and the food we eat to sustain us, the eyes and ears we use to perceive the world around us, the tongue and lips we use to express our needs, wants and our inner most feelings and emotions. And being ungrateful, we will be inclined to forget or to reject the truth of the existence of God Almighty.

Unfortunately, people have varying views with regards to what the most important characteristic of a person is: for some it is the colour of his skin; for others, it is his economic situation – whether he is wealthy or poor; others think it is his , social or political standing, whether he is ruler or ruled; for others it is his social standing as an aristocrat, middle or working class; yet for some is his birth place and the language he speaks or the tribe he belongs to, etc..

‘Do men think that they will be left alone on saying “We believe”, and they will not be tested? We tested those before them, and Allah will certainly those who are true and those who are false’. (Quran 29: 2-3)

In Islam, these have no significance rather they are merely taken as signs of the creative power of God to enable people to recognise one another. The Almighty declares “O Mankind! Indeed we have created you as male and female, and have placed you in nations and tribes that you may have mutual recognition. However, the most honourable of you, in the sight of Allah is the one who is most God-conscious” (Qur’an: 49: 13)

Hence, the most important characteristic of a person is whether he is conscious of his Creator, believes in Him and through that consciousness submits to Him at all times and in all circumstances.

According to the Islamic view man is created by Allah in a pure state, free from sin. He also created us with the capacity or power to do both good and evil. He gave us the freedom to choose between doing good or evil. The good and evil therefore is connected with mankind’s freedom of choice and responsibility for their actions. “Good” may be whatever is pleasing to Allah and therefore beneficial to us.  Whereas “Bad/evil” may be whatever incurs the anger of God and is therefore harmful to man.

‘By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right – truly he that succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it….. (Quran 91: 7-10)

Therefore one of mankind’s main tasks is to keep away from and ward off evil. This is why Taqwa, piety and God consciousness is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an as the most important quality a person should develop in this regard. This means one must be conscious at all times not to over step the limits set by God. It works as a defence against evil and temptation by keeping a person within the boundaries of piety.

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