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Bogosi Jwa Bakgatla Bagammanaana (Part 5)

Jeff Ramsay
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA


We last left off with on Wednesday, 27 August 1930 with the British Resident Commissioner Charles Rey at the Kanye Kgotla, determined to settle the then emerging conflict between the young Bangwaketse Kgosi Bathoen II and the venerable Kgosi Gobuamang of the Bakgatla bagaManaana at Mosopa. Of the latter, he recorded in his diary:

"…He is a stubborn old man of 70 [by then actually 85] who has defied the Chiefs of the Bangwaketse and three Resident Commissioners my predecessors) for twenty years. He was in the Kgotla, and after he had been vigorously denounced he got up and said that he didn't recognize Bathoen as Chief of the people – that he, Gobuamang, was Chief of the people, that is what he said, and then he talked about guns going off!"


The official Kgotla minutes, translated into English, however, show that Gobuamang spoke only briefly on two occasions during the meeting, which was otherwise dominated by Bathoen and a handful of loyal dikgosana. In his opening statement Gobuamang complained to Rey that Bathoen, unlike Ntebogang and previous Bangwaketse rulers, was not paying him for collecting Hut Tax and Native Fund levies, while he was also trying to force him to go against his people's wishes by collecting the new health levy.


Subsequently the Mokgatla stood up again to deny that he had ever insulted Bathoen, while noting threats, which had been made against his community:  "Last time I was present at a discussion in this Kgotla, only a few days ago, guns were mentioned and people spoke of pulling Moshupa down." It is clear from the above that Rey, who did not understand Setswana and was otherwise not feeling well at the time, had misunderstood Gobuamang.  Ironically, he had already issued Cuzen a stern instruction that no community should be forced to pay Bathoen's levy.


Confident in his ignorance, Rey ruled that Gobuamang's son Kgabosetso should immediately take over as the Mosopa sub-chief, while his father would be detained in Kanye "to live under the protection of the Chief Bathoen and the eye of the Government." In his diary he added for good measure: "They accepted my dictum, and latter on, after all the speeches were finished and we left the Kgotla, they gave us a tremendous reception. Natives don't understand anything except an order: they like to be governed, and as long as its fair and just the more despotically one governs the better."


Drinking his cocktail on Cuzen's veranda Rey believed he had permanently ended the BagaMmanaana problem. He had in fact stirred a hornets' nest. It is uncertain whether Gobuamang knew that the blustering new Resident Commissioner, Rey, had no legal authority to summarily order him to remove to Kanye. He never raised the issue; his own stubborn sense of justice was enough for him to remain at his kgotla. In this, he had the full support of his morafe, who now boycotted Bathoen's meetings.


On the 29th of September 1930 the Officer Commanding of the Kanye Police set off the apprehend Gobuamang, accompanied by one of Bathoen's mophato. But, the BagaMmanaana surrounded their Kgosi, stating that he could only be turned over to British, but not Bangwaketse, authority. When Cuzen rode into Mosopa the next morning, Gobuamang had disappeared. Rey then authorized the taking of hostages, including Gobuamang's heir Kgabosetso, and the dispatch of armed search parties.


Meanwhile Gobuamang, unaware that he a fugitive, was in fact traveling to Mafikeng, where he hoped to see Rey. On Friday morning Cuzen's assistant, Langton, found him at Ramotswa, having breakfast with Kgosi Seboko. The Mokgatla agreed to surrender on the condition that his complaints were forwarded to the Resident Commissioner.


With a police escort Cuzen returned to Mosopa. Arriving at Kgosing, he had the men present file past and salute a Union Jack. Thereafter it quickly became apparent that Bathoen, with Cuzen's connivance, was ignoring Rey's order that no one be forced to pay health levy. At this point Gobuamang might have been quickly released, had Cuzen not alerted Rey to the supposed danger of Kgabosetso's eldest son Diratsame (Philomon/Filomane), who had supposedly returned from his studied Adams College in Natal enthused with radical ideas. It was further suggested that Gobuamang was grooming Diratsame to succeed him, rather than Kgabosetso.


Rey then offered to let Gobuamang go if he agreed to relinquish power to his son. This was refused. For the next year, matters remained deadlocked. Neither Bathoen nor Rey wanted Gobuamang ruling the BagaMmanaana, but neither was eager to assume responsibility for him in Kanye. In January 1931 Rey washed his hands of the affair by formally handing Gobuamang over to Bathoen, claiming that the matter could then be resolved through "native law and custom".


By this time many in Kanye as well as Mosopa wanted to end Gobuamang's detention, but Bathoen initially resisted the pressure. Finally, in September 1931, Bathoen accepted the BagaMmanaana offer to pay a fine of twenty-five cattle, as a gesture to secure Gobuamang's release. Also believing that the now eighty-six year old Gobuamang's health was failing, Bathoen allowed him to return to Mosopa. But, harmony between the two rulers remained elusive.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

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.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

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”

UNDERSTANDING

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.”

COMMITMENT

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.

ACCEPTANCE

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.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

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.

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