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Golden jubilee profile: She Nswazwi VIII

Jeff Ramsay
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA

Born in 1875, John Madawo Nswazwi VIII is remembered for his and his people's resistance during the 1930s and 1940s to Bangwato overrule. He became the traditional leader of "She" of the BaKalanga-bakaNswazwi community in what the Bukalanga region of the Bamangwato Reserve in 1912.

Like his father before him, She Nswazwi VIII had enjoyed a good working relationship with the Bangwato Kgosi Khama III. The troubles began in 1926 when the later's son, Tshekedi Khama ordered the Bakalanga in the area to build a fence along the Southern Rhodesian (Zimbabwe) border.

This order coincided with the onset of the ploughing season. When a Mongwato tax collector arrived at Nswazwi's village the community used his presence as an excuse for deserting the fence-building project, their She reportedly having said at the time: "people cannot eat wire".

When word of their abandonment reached Serowe, Tshekedi sent Phetu Mphoeng to investigate the community's "insubordination". This resulted in Phetu fining the She and several of his followers two beasts each.

Subsequently, in October 1929, Nswazwi forwarded a petition to the then British Resident Commissioner, Roland Daniel, over the head of Tshekedi, listing his grievances. These included Tshekedi's failure to rebate a percentage of his Hut Tax commission to the She.

He further complained that the Phuti imposed the levies without consultation, that services in Bukalanga, in particular education, where neglected and that Basarwa herders of Bangwato cattle were encroaching on Bakalanga lands.

In response Tshekedi had Nswazwi and his headman brought to Serowe and tried. The judgement was that the She and five others would remain Serowe.

But by then the BakaNswazwi had found some external allies. One was Robert MacFarlane, a European Advisory Council member, who was persuaded to voice his concern by a clerk named Mpubuli Matenge. Regional newspapers also began to publish unfavourable reports of Tshekedi's levies.

Together MacFarlane and the press influenced the new Resident Commissioner, Charles Rey, who ordered an inquiry into the BakaNswazwi affair. In June 1930, the Serowe magistrate, Gerald Nettelton, held the inquiry, but ruled in Tshekedi's favour. The detention of Nswazwi and five others was upheld, while Tshekedi's representative, Rasebolai Kgamane, was sent with a party of Bangwato to rule the BakaNswazwi.

In 1931, a second petition was forwarded to Rey demanding Nswazwi's return, full independence from the Bangwato, and recognition of the Ikalanga language. This petition was notably supported by Kgalemang Motsete. In response Rey personally convened a second inquiry in 1932 and achieved a compromise: Nswazwi's release for the dropping of demands for independence.  Relations nevertheless remained strained.

When in 1943 Tshekedi arrived in Bukalanga to reallocate land, the She failed to attend a letsholo meeting out of fear for his life. Tshekedi promptly had Nswazwi once more convicted of "insubordination"; this time jailing the She for 18 months.

After his release in 1945, Nswazwi returned to his village, against the orders of Tshekedi and the British. The Bakalanga drove away men sent to remove the She.

The British and Tshekedi sent in a regiment and policemen, both heavily armed, and gained backup support from Southern Rhodesian military, including warplanes that flew over the village.

Nswazwi and 122 others were rounded up and taken to Serowe. Thereafter, the She along with 35 others was thereafter detained by the British in Mahikeng.

The BakaNswazwi who remained behind launched a resistance campaign, with World War II veterans taking the lead. In September 1945 the ex-soldiers refused to accept their discharge payouts, and in June 1946 they boycotted the territory's victory parade.

They and others also elected their own headman, Nyena Chemela, while ignoring Tshekedi's representatives. In return, the British refused to receive tax money directly from the BakaNswazwi.

In August 1947, Tshekedi ordered another 150 of the perceived agitators to relocate to Serowe, but they resisted, taking their cases to court. Before they could to appeal to the Privy Council in London, another tragedy  occurred when Tshekedi decided to crush BakaNswazwi resistance by sending Oteng Mphoeng and 2,000 men to subdue the village.

With a Bechuanaland Protectorate Police unit of 13 Europeans and 66 Africans looked on as "observers", Mphoeng's men seized wells as a means of forcing the BakaNswazwi to submit. Many women and children then fled towards Southern Rhodesia.

Within days, the Bangwato advanced on the village, forced their way into houses, reportedly looting the property of refugees while destroying unoccupied houses. They also rounded up persons trying to hide or return from Southern Rhodesia and detained them in a cattle kraal. A pregnant woman Levuna Mpapho died in the process.

Some neighbouring Bakalanga, whom Bangwato had dragooned to assist in their efforts, also began flee.  By November 1947, over 1,600 refugees had crossed into Southern Rhodesia.

In 1948, She Nswazwi and the others who had been detained in Mahikeng were allowed to join the exiles in Southern Rhodesia.

A decade later many of the BakaNswazwi were convinced by Seretse Khama to return to the Protectorate, where they were settled at Marapong. The by then ailing She, however, remained behind, where he died in 1960.

In 2002, She Nswazwi's bones were re-interred in Botswana, while in 2006, some of his additional surviving followers and their descendants in Zimbabwe also returned.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

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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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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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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

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 www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    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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