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Botswana And Namibia (Part 5)



In our last instalment it was noted that following the humiliating 1888 flight of Governor Ernest Goering and his small party of officials to the then British controlled port of Walvis Bay the German Government was faced with the option of either pulling out of Namibia altogether or deepening its commitment. Thus in June 1889, 21 troops under the command of Captain Curt von Francois landed at Walvis Bay, who were soon followed by reinforcements.

Yet, by the end of 1890 von Francois’ authority in the interior was still limited to the area around Windhoek, where he had established his headquarters.  In July of the same year the contemporary boundary between Botswana and Namibia was finally defined by Article III of “Agreement between Great Britain and Germany, respecting Zanzibar, Heligoland, and the Spheres of Influence of the two Countries in Africa". As suggested by its title, the above Agreement was a comprehensive understanding between the two powers that resolved their overlapping claims throughout Africa. The accord was the product of bilateral diplomatic discussions held in Berlin and London, most especially during May and June of 1890.

At the time the major area of imperial conflict between the two powers was over their conflicting territorial claims in East Africa. The boundary between the Bechuanaland Protectorate and German South-West Africa was a relatively minor matter to the involved the diplomats who were neither well versed nor concerned about the finer points of local geography. In this context it is notable that the by then self-governing (settler regime) Cape Colony, some of whose citizens had a significant stake in any border arrangements regarding South-West Africa, was not consulted.

Germany's desire to uphold its claim to Zambezi river access for its South West Africa Protectorate had been communicated to Britain's Ambassador in Berlin, Sir Edward Malet, by Bismarck on 24 November 1888. In a subsequent 2 September 1889 dispatch by the Foreign Secretary, Marquis of Salisbury, to the German Ambassador, Count Hatzfelt, it was suggested that Lake Ngami be seen as equally under German and British influence "and that Germany shall be secured free access from that lake to the upper waters of the Zambezi." Lake Ngami, which in the late nineteenth as well as twentieth centuries was often dry, is of course not linked with the Zambezi by any permanent water.

On 30 September 1889 the German Charge d'Affaires, Count Leyden, proposed to the Foreign Office that Germany acquire rights to Ngamiland west of 24 east longitudes and north of 22 south latitude. But, on the 9th of November 1889, the British Colonial Office, having consulted with its High Commissioner for South Africa, expressed its strong opposition to recognizing any German claims to Ngamiland. This stand was communicated to Malet in Berlin on the 17th of February 1890. The following day Malet was further informed that Leyden's proposal was being discussed with other colonial matters between Hatzfelt and Salisbury. During the second half of 1889 there was also considerable conflict over competing claims between Germany and private Cape Colony interests in the former British Damaraland protectorate.

In expressing its opposition to Germany's Ngamiland claims the Colonial Office wished to uphold the interests of concessionaires already active in the area and, in the process, avoid any partition of the territory under the rule of the Batawana Kgosi Moremi. By 1890 rival British claims to the Ngamiland-Chobe region were being put forward by a number of concessionaires. In September 1889 the British South Africa Co. of Cecil Rhodes had been awarded the right in its royal charter to rule the entire area on Her Majesty's behalf. Subsequently, in June 1890, Rhodes' Company negotiated the Lochner Concession from the Malozi King Lewanika, which consolidated its grip on Bulozi (Barotseland).

Earlier, in August 1888 and 1889, Kgosi Moremi had granted mineral rights to the Austral African Exploration and Mining Syndicate and Messrs. J. Strombom, J.A. Nicholls, and R. J. Hicks. These Ngamiland-Chobe concessions were later consolidated, becoming the basis of the British West Charterland Company's (BWCCO) commercial claims to the area. From 1896-97 the prominent British colonialist Sir Frederick John Dealtry (later Lord) Lugard, in his capacity as a BWCCO director, led a large prospecting team in Ngamiland, which also included his brother Edward James Lugard.

The well equipped and financed expedition had, however, failed to find any significant gold or diamonds in the area by the end of 1897, when Sir Frederick was recalled to Nigeria; where he went on to became Governor General after administratively uniting the previously separate northern and southern sections of the territory. It had been the intent of the BWCCO to look for diamonds in the Boteti region, which was then claimed by both by Moremi’s successor, the Kgosi Sekgoma Letsholathebe and the Bangwato Kgosi Khama III. It seems probable in this respect that the colonial regime’s recognition of Khama’s claim to the entire area served to delay the discovery of the considerable diamond bearing kimberlite deposits in the Letlhakane-Orapa region for another seven decades.

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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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