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Kgosi Sebele II (PART 12):The Broken Reed



The removal of Ledeboer or Ledibogo as he was known to the Bakwena did not bring an end to tensions between Kgosi Sebele II and the British. Indeed, it seems to have caused both sides to become more unyielding in their engagement. From 1925 the Mokwena was in open conflict with colonial officials. His initial opponents were A.G. Stigand, Resident Magistrate in Molepolole, and Jules Ellenberger, the new Resident Commissioner in Mahikeng.

As in 1921, the Borakalalo figures Kebohula and Moitseelasilo were pushed into taking the lead. In 1925 they claimed that Sebele had beaten people outside the kgotla and further complained about his reluctance in seduction cases to award fines to parents of impregnated daughters. Stigand held an inquiry in hopes of using the two “elder headmen” to incite others into declaring themselves against Sebele. Instead, the Kgosi and headmen were criticized alike. Stigand’s inquiry had achieved him nothing.

When, in the following year, Sebele assaulted his mistress, two dozen Bakwena led by Kebohula and Moitseelasilo drew up a petition against him and handed it over to Stigand. The Resident Magistrate then used it to get Sebele charged in court. Ellenberger held a public inquiry in the hope that this time, the Bakwena would support the removal of Sebele.

But, the inquiry failed to achieve its purpose. The Bakwena supported Sebele. Once again, the Borakalalo faction were exposed as an isolated minority. Only sixteen people voted for Sebele’s censure. Ellenberger was disappointed. He later wrote that “We missed our chance by not removing Sebele from the Reserve.”

Throughout 1927 Sebele and Stigand continued to engage in a tug-of-war. When Stigand accidentally shot a local lunatic, Sebele demanded that Ellenberger remove him. The Kgosi also complained about Stigand’s harassing the townspeople and plotting with his uncles.
During his postings in Maun as well as Molepolole Stigand did in fact demonstrate erratic and questionable behaviour. He had a disturbing penchant for shooting thigs in the night that disturbed his sleep, from bullfrogs to cattle to the unfortunate lunatic.

Although aware of Stigand’s idiosyncrasies, Ellenberger kept him in Molepolole. “Referring to Raphalane Hirschfeldt, Stingand then wrote a series of stinging reports about the “Hidden Hand” behind Sebele, portraying him as the puppet of “a cabal of Jewish businessman” who constituted “a dangerous power that controls the chief and a good proportion of the tribe”.

Stingand also tried to revive the Tribal Council but this attempt fell apart when the Bakwena convicted Kebohula of using boloi against Sebele and sentenced him to exile. The colonial Government of the day then rescued Kebohula by proclaiming the Witchcraft Act and cancelling the judgement.

Sebele’s relations with Mahikeng became worse after the joined forces with Kgosi Tshekedi Khama of the Bangwato and Mohumagadi Ntebogang, the Bangwaketse regent. The three drew up a list of grievances and sent them direct to the High Commissioner over Ellenberger’s head. British rejected these complaints, but they were worried about the unity among the diKgosi of the three largest

Merafe in the Protectorate

In 1928 Ellenberger’s successor, Rowland Daniel, tried on two occasions to impose another Tribal Council on the Bakwena with the support of members of the Borakalalo faction

On 8 May 1928 a small group of proclaimed headmen filed a petition against Sebele. They called for the creation of a Tribal Council of four members (appointed by themselves), who would take over Sebele’s political and financial powers. In order to act on this petition, Daniel held an inquiry six weeks later in Molepolole. Daniel summed up the results.

“During the course of the meeting it became evident that the petitioners were in the minority. They consisted of the Headmen related to the Chief’s family, but they were only supported by a handful of the common men of the tribe… whereas the opponents to the petition were represented by the Chief, few headmen and about three-quarter of the common people.”  In spite of widespread opposition voiced in the meeting to the revival of the Bakwena Tribal Council, Daniel insisted that a new Council be formed, hoping that it would gain authority once convened.

But, the 3rd Bakwena Tribal Council pleased no one. Even the British admitted it was a failure. The first and only real initiative taken by the four-man Council with the support of the British was assuming control over all “tribal monies”, which consisted of rents and fees collected by the morafe. Previously this income had been largely reserved for the Kgosi. The largest of the funds was an annual sum of &405 paid by the British South Africa Company for used prospecting rights. (before the Council assumed control, Sebele had already pocketed the BSACo cheque for 1928).

The other fees and rents consisted of annual collections from local traders and blacksmiths. The councillors planned to use these fees to pay their own salaries. They discovered, however, that most of this “stand rent” money had been borrowed against. Soon the councillors were begging money from both the British and the Bakwena. Within weeks, Stigand described the new Council as being like the old ones, “a broken reed”.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

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.

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”


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.”


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.


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)


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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