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Conclusion: Kgosi Sebele II

JEFF RAMSAY
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA


In our last episode it was noted that the 1936 High Court Judgement in the case between Dikgosi Tshekedi Khama and Bathoen II versus the High Commissioner had upheld the latter’s ''unfettered and unlimited powers", which specifically extended to the continued detention without charge or trial of their colleague Sebele II.

The judgement thus effectively blocked further legal challenges e on the part of the banished Kgosi and his supporters. As had occurred earlier in the case brought before the Privy Council in London by Kgosi Sekgoma Letsholathebe is was affirmed that as a British Protected Person, Sebele along with all other Batswana was not entitled to the basic legal protection of habeas corpus.

Although the Court had ruled against the Dikgosi on the technical matter of its having no jurisdiction over the High Commissioner’s administrative actions to “preserve peace, order and good government” among the Batswana, it nonetheless found merit in the substance of the Dikgosi’s arguments that their people’s views and traditions of governance had been neglected.  

By the time of the judgement, Resident Commissioner Rey's superiors in London had also apparently concluded that his heavy handed approach to the Chiefs, and the consequent turmoil within Kweneng and the other Reserves, had become counter-productive. Under Rey’s his successor, Charles Arden-Clark, new Proclamations where drawn up, in consultation with the Dikgosi, and enacted in 1943. At the time the High Commissioner's Office notified London that:

"There is only one point in which I desire to direct your particular attention and that is the provision in Clause 3 of the Native Administration Proclamation for a Judicial enquiry in case of any doubt as to the rightful successor to the Chieftainship. This is novel, and although the proviso is permissive in form Huggard considers that it would curtail to some extent the High Commissioner's present powers.


Its insertion is pressed by Tshekedi who was supported by the other African members of the committee, which examined the draft. Forsyth Thompson says that the Africans and particularly Tshekedi were insistent on safeguards which would prevent any recurrence of the Sebele incident and similar happenings."

The new administrative climate, however, came too late to be of any benefit to Sebele. In Ghanzi he had remained defiant but isolated, telling the British that he had not been banished because he, unlike they, was still in his country. Indeed the white Ghanzi farmers feared the respect accorded to him by the local population.

0n one occasion, when he was allowed to travel to Maun, Kgosi Moremi graduated mophato in his honour. But by 1938 his longing for Kweneng caused him to offer to abdicate if he could only be allowed to return as an ordinary person. This offer was refused by Kgari, who reportedly stated: "I am afraid that Sebele should return to Molepolole, for he is the real chief, I, Kgari, am a chief's son."

Sebele died 2 October 1939. His body was brought back and buried at the royal kraal next to the graves of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. The funeral was attended by thousands and included people from all over the Protectorate. Susan, the mother of his only male heirs, Moruakgomo and Mokgalagadi, was escorted from her mother's home in Tlokweng to the funeral by the Bakgatla Kgosi Molefi. There she is said to have been seated beside Phetogo, who gave her morning cloths after the funeral. Some refused to believe it was really Sebele's remains in the coffin and continued to pray for his return.

After his brother's death, the British sought to re-launch Kgosi Kgari’s authority by having him serve as a senior NCO in the African Pioneer Corps, while installing a three man regency to maintain order in Molepolole. Upon returning from the war Kgari reassumed his royal duties no longer bothered by demands for Sebele’s return.  Yet although he was now addressed as "Kgosi" his legitimacy remained tentative. As late as 1959 a report by then Kweneng District Commissioner Peter Cardross-Grant noted:

"When Government banished Chief Kgari's brother Sebele, Government made Kgari Chief in his place. Neither Kgari nor the tribe as a whole has ever forgotten that. If Kgari has the support of Government when he needs it, i.e. in dealing with strong, influential and capable characters such as Letlole Mosielele, Makgasane Kgosidintsi, and Patrick Bothusang Kgosidintsi, and if he can be frightened into curtailing his drinking bouts, and from flaunting his mistress Sefentse Makwati in public, he will do almost anything that Government wants him to do- in time. He has the power in him to make his people do things, provided they are sensible and reasonable things."

In his final years Kgosi Kgari, noting the emergence of the new nationalist politics, began to think about abdication and, perhaps, even self exile. Thus, while the Democratic and People's Parties were holding their first public meetings in Molepolole, he was in Swaziland with his friend Nkosi Sobuza II, allegedly looking to buy a farm. There he suddenly died on 19 September 1962. Before his death Kgari had repeatedly predicted that he would be the last Bakwena Chief.

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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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