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The Matsheng Region (Part 2)



Having previously visited Hukuntsi, his week we continue our historical journey through the Kgalagadi District’s Matsheng region with some background on the neighbouring settlements of Lehututu and Tshane.  

Lehututu, also rendered Lehududu in Shekgalagari, has long been the home of two merafe: the Bapebana, who are commonly categorised as being a branch of the Bangologa, and the Bariti, who are said to be of Bakwatlheng origin. The Bariti have also been commonly, but more controversially, labelled as Bashaga.

The Bariti trace their origins to Bakwatlheng who were pushed out of eastern Kweneng during the seventeenth century reign of the conquering Bakwena Kgosi Kgabo I. By the mid-nineteenth century Bariti communities were scattered throughout much of the Kgalagadi, by which time many had become vassals of Kgabo’s descendent Kgosi Sechele I. The Bariti settled at Lehututu under Kgosi Mokwatheng II, also known as Moriti, who begot Mogolega I, who begot Mokutsuwe, who begot Mogolega II, who begot Serhame (Serame), who begot Lekgome. Serhame was ruling at Lehututu when the Bapebana arrived in the 1860s.

The Bapebana presence in the region can, however, be traced back further to a figure named Mopebe who is said to have been the fourth son by a junior house of the legendary Mongologa, who lived under his senior brother Mbolawa. According to a perhaps incomplete genealogy, Mopebe begot Mososwe, who begot Marhogwe (Marogwe), who begot Moabalosu, who begot Moeperi (Moepedi), who begot Morhagaole (Maragaole), who begot Mabotye (Mabote), who begot Leswape, who begot Montshiwe. The latter was still ruling the Bapebana during the 1940s.

While under Mososwe, the Bapebana were settled at Hukhuntsi. There Mososwe allied himself with the Barolong, who provided him with weapons to defeat and incorporate the followers of his local rival Maleme. Mososwe subsequently defeated a Barolong force sent to extract tribute. The Bapebana thereafter moved northward to the Mabeleapodi pans located in the plains south of Lake Ngami, where they lived alongside local Khoe (Basarwa) and Wayeyi before the early nineteenth century arrival of the Batawana.

The Bapebana had relocated to Nokeng, in the modern Ghanzi District, when they were first attacked by the mephato of the Batawana Kgosi Letsholathebe I. An individual named Manthe is said to have convinced Letsholathebe that the Bapebana were becoming a threat. Nokeng was, in this respect, strategically located along the trade routes linking Ngamiland with Namibia, including the already busy port at Walvis Bay. Letsholathebe's own ambitions precluded allowing the Bapebana, along with the neighbouring /Auen Khoe under their leader Dukiri, from obtaining guns from European and Orlams-Nama traders. Many Bapebana were slain in the attack, thus driving the survivors to Lehututu.

The 1880s saw the further arrival of Barolong and Batlharo refugees, who had been uprooted by British expansion in the Northern Cape. Tshane has long been the home of the Bathaga (Batyhaga), whose founding patriarch according to traditions was Nyane who begot Kgosi Tyhaga I. The nyane (finch) bird remains the group’s totem.

Originally, the Bathaga lived in the Central District. Oral traditions claim that there they were attacked by the Bangwato for refusing to pay tribute. But the generational chronology of these traditions suggests that another Setswana group, such as the Bakaa, may have been their actual tormentors; given that the Bangwato under their first independent Kgosi, Mathiba, only settled in the District during the second half of the eighteenth century. Following Tyhaga's death in battle, bogosi jwa Bathaga was passed to his son, Serimeri, who sought refuge in Kweneng. This was probably also during the reign of the Bakwena Kgosi Kgabo.

Like his father, Serimeri died while resisting the imposition of tribute. Subsequent rebellions against the Bakwena, and probably Bangwaketse, authority are said to have lasted for five generations. Serimori was succeeded by Mokgetyhi I, who begot Kwene, who begot Tyhaga II, who begot Moswewi, who begot Moloi, the founder of Tshane. Moloi’s migration westwards from Kweneng coincided with the arrival in 1825-26 Sebetwane's Bafokeng baga Patsa, who would subsequently become known as the Makololo, into south-eastern Botswana. Sebetwane's mephato initially defeated both the Bakwena and Bangwaketse, providing Moloi with an opportunity to break free of the former’s suzerainty.

However the Batyhaga did not find peace in their new home. Moloi was succeeded by Mosarhwe (Mosarwa) who was soon confronted by the "Bamakakana" or BooRatshosa faction of the Bakwena under Moruakgomo I. The later killed Mosarhwe at Kgainyane. Mosarhwe's son Mokgetyhi II then asked for protection from the Barolong. The Bamakakana, however, were reinforced by Kgosi Sebego's Bangwaketse, who killed Mokgetyhi. Thereafter Bathaga were led by Tyhaga III, who begot Motshoge's father Mosalayeengwe. The latter figure was around at the time of the imposition of colonial rule, when the British found him living under a local Morolong ruler, Kgosi Seitsang.

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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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