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Jeff Ramsay

Kelebantse Sebele a Sechele II (1892-1939), known as Sebele II, was a popular albeit controversial Kgosi among the Bakwena (effective Reign 1918-31). But, in the end his determination to act independently brought him into conflict with the colonial regime. In 1931 the British detained him and, without trial or consultation with the Bakwena, confined him as political prisoner at Ghanzi, where he spent the last eight years of his twenty-one year reign.

Sebele II's rule generated opposition among some of his subjects as well as the British. His removal from bogosi, however, was deeply resented throughout the Kweneng. Efforts to restore Kgosi Sebele were attempted, but they were suppressed.

Sebele's reign thus resulted in much discord. In the decades thereafter elders recalling his bogosi have been divided in their opinions. Many would concede, however, that much of the controversy which still surrounds Sebele stems from his desire to rule as a "neo-traditionalism"

Sebele's neo-traditionalism aroused feelings early in his reign, when he upheld bogwera, rainmaking and polygamy. At the time such practices appealed to the majority of his people but offended many local Christians.

Among the latter group were much of the major sections of Molepolole. Elite members dominated the lay leadership of the LMS Church (since 1967 the UCCSA), which they regarded as their "National Church". The British also recognized certain members this elite as the Kweneng's "leading headmen," who were entitled to play an important role in Bakwena affairs.

Sebele's neo-traditionalism ultimately challenged the status and position of the Bakwena elite, who felt threatened by the way in which Sebele promoted commoners. Sebele's supporters maintained that his policy accorded with the tradition, Kgosi ke Kgosi ka batho, rather than just by his relatives.

Years before Sebele II was installed as Kgosi, the conflict between leading headmen and commoners, as well as between neo-traditional and Christian attitudes had already begun. During his reign, however, the conflict proved impossible to contain. Throughout the colonial era, neo-traditionalists such as Sebele were often stereotyped as '"backward" individuals who were out of step with the march of "civilization".

Colonial administrators readily accepted these stereotypes. For one thing, they liked working with Christian elites such as the one in Molepolole for the purposes of collecting tax and ruling strictly. For another, by branding the Kgosi as one opposed to change and progress, they could disguise their own dislike of Sebele, who openly resented colonial interference in Bakwena affairs. Sebele was anything but backward. He was, in fact, one of the most cosmopolitan men in the Protectorate.

His background was unique among diKgosi of the time. He was fairly well educated, though he dropped out of secondary school, despite being a top student. Among Bakwena dikgosi, he was the first to be fully literate in English. Even more important, Sebele gained valuable experience outside the Protectorate.

For several years he worked as clerk in the Witwatersrand mines and witnessed the squalid and violent conditions of compound life. With the freedom and money to visit bustling, growing Johannesburg, he also moved among a new community of urbanized Africans and tasted the pleasures of big city life.

During the First World War, Sebele was among the 555 Protectorate Batswana who served in France (1916-18) as enlisted members of the Fifth (High Commission Territories) Battalion of the South African Native Labour Contingent. He thus witnessed the miseries of trench warfare on the Western Front while coming into contact with military and civilians of various races and nationalities.

As suggested by its name, the Contingent was conceived by the racist authorities in Pretoria as a labour support unit only. The South African Government further insisted that all black troops under the command should not be given issued with firearms. This experience was quite different from the Batswana who later served in the African Pioneer Corps during World War II, all of who were armed and many of whom performed frontline combat duties.

On the 10th of July 1917 Sebele was among a handful of SANLC NCO's, who were selected to meet with King George V and Queen Mary, accompanied by Edward Prince of Wales and General Haig, in Abbeville France. On that occasion the King had assured the men that: "You are also part of my great armies fighting for the liberty and freedom of my subjects of all races and creeds throughout the Empire."

Notwithstanding such lofty sentiments, the SANLC was commanded by often cruel white officers. After some black troops (not from Bechuanaland) mutinied against these conditions it was decided disband the unit, by which time Sebele had served his tour of duty. Sebele became the Kgosi of the Bakwena on the very day of his return from the Western Front, which happened to coincide with the death of his father Kealeboga Sechele II.

On the whole, Sebele's years in France and Gauteng made him a sceptic of "white civilization". After return to Molepolole, he freely voiced his doubts to those who came in contact with him, blacks and whites alike. As kgosi it would be his stubborn rejection of his and his people's subordinate position within their own homeland that led to his downfall.

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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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