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Bogosi Jwa Bakgatla Bagammanaana (Part 3)


Jeff Ramsay

We last left off with the observation that the only mophato raised during the brief reign of Kgosi Kgabophuti (1912-18) was the Malwelakgosi, who are notable for being the first among the Bakgatla bagaMmanaana at Mosopa who were not sent to bogwera or traditional initiation school.

Instead many of the Malwelakgosi were enlisted in the 5th (High Commission Territories) Battalion of the South African Native Labour Contingent (SANLC), which performed military service on the Western Front in France during the First World War.

Kgabophuti's abolition of bogwera, which apparently arose from his own LMS (UCCSA) religious convictions, was otherwise consistent with the desire of his Bangwaketse overlord, Kgosi Seepapitso II. It was, however, a sharp break from the position that had been adopted by his uncle and Regent Kgosi Gobuamang, who had maintained the practice among the BagaMmanaana.

In 1904, Gobuamang had thus openly defied Seepapitso's father, Kgosi Bathoen I, who had banned traditional initiation rites within Gangwaketse. Bathoen's annoyance with Gobuamang was aggravated by the fact that boys from Kanye had attended the Mosopa initiation school.

Gobuamang's perceived challenge to Bathoen's authority resulted in a colonial inquiry into the matter, which was held under the auspices of the then Assistant Commissioner for the Southern Protectorate Jules "Ramaeba" Ellenberger. In the end "Gobbleman", as Ellenberger and other British officials had begun to refer to Gobuamang, was sternly warned to obey his "Chief".

Under Kgabophuti, Mosopa's internal peace was also disrupted by disputes over possession of the central (now UCSSA) church building between supporters of the L.M.S., backed by the Kgosi, and breakaway independent African church of Mothowagae Motlogelwe, which continued to enjoy Gobuamang's patronage. The building, itself, had been constructed by mephato during Gobuamang's regency.

Notwithstanding the property dispute, the Mothowagae church continued to be tolerated. Its local moruti was a former L.M.S. evangelist of Batlhaping origin named Diphokwe, who eventually affiliated himself with the Lobatse based African Methodist Episcopal mission of the Rev. Gabashane.

Another local evangelist named Thupane, however, encountered official opposition in his pioneer efforts to also introduce the Apostolic Faith Mission into the village.

With Kgabophuti's sudden death in 1918, succession finally passed on to Gobuamang. The early deaths of both of his brother Pilane's sons inevitably gave rise to some suspicions. One innocuous story is that back in 1870 Gobuamang had initially wished to follow Mosielele to Gamafikana. But, at Polokwe Hill, he was instructed by his father to return to his brother's side after being blessed with longevity.

Kgabophuti is known to have been a victim of the great 1918 "Spanish Influenza" pandemic (known ka Setswana as "Leroborobo"), which killed up to 10% of Botswana's population within a twelve month period, as well as some twenty million people worldwide.

No region in the world appears to have been more devastated by the 1918 Influenza than Southern Africa. Available statistics suggest that overall some half million Africans in the Union of South Africa and adjacent High Commission Territories perished while another three million were afflicted out of a total population that at the time only numbered about six million.

By contrast the number of fatalities in the USA, where as elsewhere the virus's appearance traumatized a generation, is variously estimated to have been between 500 and 675 thousand out of a then national population of 104 million.

We now know that the epicentre of great 1918 Influenza was the First World War battlefields of France. The name "Spanish Influenza" arose due to official censorship. Both sides in the conflict tried to cover up the pandemic when it began to emerge as an extraordinary public health risk in 1917. Early public reports about it thus came out of neutral Spain.

The spread of Influenza across the globe largely followed the path of returning troops at the end of the war, including the SANLC which was disbanded in early 1918, before the final armistice due to South African Government racial concerns.

Alerted by outbreaks elsewhere, the South African authorities initially quarantined the returning troops. But when no signs of the influenza were initially detected the veterans were discharged.

The health authorities at Cape Town were subsequently horrified when the nurses and other personal who had manned the quarantine stations began to get sick and die in large numbers.

The first decade of Kgosi Gobuamang's own reign are remembered as a time of unity and progress for the morafe. The rift in the church was finally healed in 1926 when Mothowagae's local followers agreed to reunite with the L.M.S. This hard won reconciliation helps to explain the community's initial reluctance to allow the Seven Day Adventists (SDA, Sabata) to set up a medical mission clinic in the village, as a satellite to the SDA hospital then being established in Kanye.

With the community otherwise united under his authority, Gobuamang like so many of his peers, was able to initiate various self-help efforts, which included the building a Bakgatla bagaMmanaana "National Office" as well as schools.

During the period there is little evidence of tension between Kanye and Mosopa. In both their fields and at the mines of Gauteng, Bangwaketse and BagaMmanaana worked and socialized as one.

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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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