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New Years Past: Sechele Visits Pretorius At Potchefstroom

Jeff Ramsay

In a symbolic gesture that underscored the post-war establishment of peace between local Batswana merafe and the Transvaal Boers, in December 1859 the Bakwena Kgosi Sechele I accepted the South African (Transvaal) Republic (SAR) President Marthinus Wessel Pretorius's invitation to join his family in welcoming in the New Year.

The visit was the culmination of a reconciliation process that had begun in January-February 1853 when Sechele had agreed to an armistice with Marthinus' father Andries Pretorius, which had brought and end to the 1852-53 Batswana- Boer War. In the years that immediately following the armistice tensions between the Batswana and Boers had remained high, with isolated incidents occasionally breaking the peace.

Tensions were rekindled in 1854-55 with the breakout of renewed fighting between the Transvaal Boers and Sechele's Balaka and Baletwaba allies in what is now Limpopo Province; which after some initial Boer reversals resulted in the decisive defeat of the latter two merafe. The 31 January 1855 edition of the Natal Mercury newspaper subsequently reported:

"The Boers have defeated Macapan and Mapela convincingly. It is affirmed that both Secheli and Moshesh were prepared to come down upon the Boers, if this Commando against Macapan and Mapela had failed." On the 22 of September 1856 the Natal Mercury further reported that: "We hear the Boers have been twice out against Secheli, but that his position [at Dithubaruba] was too strong to attack."

By the beginning of 1857 a military stalemate once more existed in the interior Highveld of southern Africa. On one hand the temporary collapse of organized African resistance in the Limpopo region left the Boers in secure occupation of much of the Transvaal. On the other hand the Pan-African coalitions led by Sechele in Botswana and Moshoeshoe in Lesotho posed a continuing threat to Boers in the western Transvaal and the Orange Free State. It was in this context that Sechele took the initiative to end his cold war with the Boers.

In a 7 March 1857 letter to Marthinus Pretorius, that was subsequently gazetted and debated in the Republic's Volksraad or Parliament, Sechele suggested full peace coupled with a complete opening of trade between Batswana and Boers. He also appealed to Pretorius to assist him in finding missionaries to replace those of the LMS who had abandoned or been expelled during the 1852-53 conflict.

Pretorius jumped at the opening. On 9 April 1857 he contacted members of the German Evangelical Lutheran Hermannsburg Missionary Society, then based in Natal. A month later the Rev. Jurgen Schroder, his wife Dorette and two others, Johann Herbst and Heinrich Muller, were en-route to Dithubaruba. After rendezvousing with their Bakwena escorts at Klien Marico, the then westernmost Boer outpost, the party finally arrived at Sechele's on 16th of July 1857.

For the next five years the German missionaries, sharing preaching responsibilities with the Kgosi and L.M.S. affiliated Batswana lay readers, such as Hendrick Paulo and Jan Khatlane, contributed to a remarkable growth in Christianity, as well as a flowering of economic and social ties between the Bakwena and the Boers. By 1866, when the L.M.S. missionary Rodger Price took over, Sunday services had overflowed the church building, requiring that the congregation be administered to in the Kgotla.

With Sechele's support, Lutheran proselytizing spread to neighbouring Merafhe, such as the Balete and Bangwato, thus promoting a Christianization process throughout much of eastern Botswana. The stationing of the German Evangelical Lutheran missionaries in Kweneng was followed by further diplomatic activity. Early in 1858 the SAR allowed 200 pounds of previously confiscated gunpowder, 400 pounds of lead and a quantity of firing flints to be delivered to Sechele.

The Mokwena later reciprocated by paying token compensation to a number of Marico Boer families whose properties had been destroyed by his warriors during an incident in 1854, that is after the establishment of the 1853 truce. This gesture followed a March 1858 visit by Sechele and Schroder to Klien Marico, where the Kgosi received two wagon loads of gifts. It was not without a little envy that the April 1858 edition L.M.S monthly newspaper Mokaeri oa Bechwana reported:

"Sechele has now befriended the Boers. He recently visited them at Madikwe where they were very happy to see him. They welcomed him into their homes and gave him enough sorghum to fill a wagon along with some brandy. The Boers told him 'we can now sleep well since you have befriended us. We can supply you with all your needs.'"

During the visit the Boers offered the Bakwena additional land in the Lehurutshe, which Sechele in turn allowed to be settled by the Bahurutshe Kgosi Moilwa's people. Thus it was that in December 1859 Boer-Bakwena reconciliation had reached the stage in which Sechele accepted Pretorius' invitation to be his personal guest at Potchefstroom.

The "State Visit" resulted in the establishment of postal routes and regular wagon commerce between Kweneng and the Transvaal. Thereafter BaKwena work parties were occasionally contracted as paid labourers in the Transvaal, while at the same time a number Boer artisans began to migrate and settle in Botswana in small numbers. By 1880 Maburu children were even attending Molepolole's primary school.

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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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