Bye-election, buy election, by election, bi-election or just bae-election

November 26, 2015


We live in interesting times. Since the 2014 general elections there hasn’t been stability in the Botswana electoral space. We thought elections were done and dusted with, and that we would return to them in 2019. We were wrong. We had said bye to elections but we encountered them much earlier than initially anticipated! Barely a few months after the 2014 general elections, there has been a few resignations of elected politicians. We here say elected because politicians assume office by election. They do not assume office by birth or sheer appointment, but by election. I am aware that there are specially elected members of parliament, however in general, politicians ascend to power through an election. They have to campaign, promise electorates multiple goodies with the hope to impress the potential voter. In the language of transliterated Setswana: ba a ithekisa – a terrible expression which brings to mind images of self-prostitution. An alternative expression is ba a ipapatsa – though better, it still means self-advertisement with connotations of self-trade. Some say ba ithatisa batho, which literally means that once people love you they are more likely to vote for you. In many ways you have to be someone they love, that is, in the youth language of 2015, you have to be their kind of bae (a truncated baeb, which itself is a bastardized babe, with its roots in baby). Steinmetz writes in the Times that: “today bae is used as a term of endearment, often referring to your boyfriend or girlfriend. Or perhaps a prospect who might one day hold such a lofty position. Bae has also taken on a wider meaning, being used to label something as generally good or cool”. This means that people vote for those they love or perhaps like. The politician’s struggle is therefore to endear himself to the voter. Therefore politicians don’t just assume office by election; what the voters engage in is effectively bae-election, it is an election of the one they love. Bae-election is therefore central to democracy itself. People must vote for a person of their choice; a person they love: their kind of bae. Such person must not be forced upon them. Their vote must be a consequence of personal volition.

But we know that in general the language of trade is rife in elections. A politician o a ipapatsa – he sells himself – in effect go nna le papadi kgotsa papadisano – some kind of trade takes place. Is it any wonder then that politicians actually do a lot to buy elections? Politicians achieve this through a plethora of strategies. Some I hear host parties where potential voters are invited to partake in free food and copious amounts of alcoholic beverages. Lately there have been free public music concerts all designed to impress, in effect to woe the voter to the politician’s side. There has been a distribution of blankets, radios and all sorts of other freebies. All of these and others have been designed to buy an election; it is project buy election. The idea of buying an election sounds reprehensible but all politicians engage in it through various strategies. Buying an election is a central part of selling one’s self. It is a costly affair to the politician, but a delight to the voter. In some cases free t-shirts are distributed to the potential voter, so that they could be worn, in effect turning the potential voter not just into a beneficiary of a piece of garment, but into a mobile billboard for the politician. So buying an election must not be seen as splashing cash on the people you want on your side. In most cases it occurs with non-monetary incentives like tenders, jobs or Chibuku.

But I have digressed somewhat. I must return to my original line of thought. In 2015 we have witnessed a number of resignations of elected politicians. In Mochudi, Mr Titus Kebuileng of the UDC resigned his council seat necessitating a bye-election which was won by Mr Molefe Mosothwane of the BCP. In Goodhope/Mabule constituency James Mathokgwane of the UDC resigned his constituency seat citing personal medical reasons. This necessitated a bye-election. The constituency was won by Kgosi Lotlaamoreng of the Barolong still of the UDC. I here intentionally give examples of resignations at both council and parliamentary level because ours is a unique electoral system. During an election we vote twice: we vote for a councillor and then we vote for a parliamentarian. We don’t vote for the president. Since we vote for two people, you could say that what we have is really a bi-election, an election characterised by the casting of two votes: one for a councillor and another one for a member of parliament. Yes sometimes we do have a bye-election which is really a bae-election with the politicians attempting to buy elections since they can only assume power by election. And like I said ours is really a bi-election system.

I must conclude with this: the Setswana phrase for voting is go tlhopha. It really means to select amongst many. It presupposes that there are many elements from which one or more entities are selected. In Setswana it is nonsensical go tlhopha when the person who is being elected is standing unopposed. In that scenario there is nothing like go tlhopha. There is no selection. Strictly speaking this is the same meaning that holds with the English word elect. Elect is of Latin etymology from electus from eligo. It means “to pick out; to select from among two or more, that which is preferred.” Regardless of what we think we are doing, when someone is running unopposed, that person has not been elected – casting a vote for such a person is de facto waste of time. All such a person needs is his own vote to assume office – his singular declaration of interest.

The difference between setho & botho

November 19, 2015


This article is motivated by a question recently received from my former boss, Prof Frank Youngman. The question was: “What is the difference between botho and setho?” One way of answering the question is to consult a dictionary. And here is what Kgasa and Tsonope (1995:30) say about botho: “mokgwa o o siameng wa motho” [the good manners of a person] and my dictionary (Otlogetswe, 2012:62) defines botho as “mokgwa kana maitsholo a motho a itshwarang ka one Bana ba gagwe bana le botho jo bo eletsegang” [habits or behaviour that one displays] and the second meaning that I proffer is: “maitseo a mantle a motho a nang le one Ke mosadi yo o botho e le ruri” [the good manners that one has]. What about setho? Kgasa & Tsonope (1995:258) “mokgwa o o rategang wa motho” [desirable human traits/manners]. Tlhalosi (p.553) offers two meanings of setho 1. mokgwa o batho ba dirang dilo ka one 2. maitseo a a eletseganga a go dirisana le ba bangwe [1. A manner in which people do things 2. positive manners of working with others].

The question as posed by Prof. Youngman requires a lexicological response and not a lexicographic one. Put differently, it won’t be sufficiently answered by a dictionary definition because dictionary definitions by their nature are brief and sometimes unhelpful. So much of my discussion that follows that follows is based on my corpus linguistic influence. It is an analysis based on the consideration of a Setswana language database of about 20 million words. In the database, the word setho occurs 1197 times while botho has a frequency of 2182. This means that Batswana talk about botho more than they do about setho. This is not surprising and it will become apparent why in the development of this column. Let us start with what botho is. The dictionary definitions are right that botho refers to a composite of manners that are considered desirable by members of the community. This includes phatic communion acts such as saying Hello to the people you meet, being polite or being helpful in the community or at home. Ke botho! If on the contrary you are rude, pompous, abrasive and offensive you are considered lacking in botho. A person therefore can have botho or lack it (o na le botho/ga a na botho or go tlhoka botho). In Setswana botho can be molded in a child (go bopa botho jwa ngwana). This means that, while a child may be lacking botho (a tlhoka botho) there is provision that such an individual’s life can be changed through character development. They can be re-socialized, taught manners and be beaten into line. It must be made clear though that Batswana use the term botho not just to mean “good manners” but also mean behaviour or manners in general. That is why it is possible to talk of botho jo e seng jone [the wrong kind of manners].

Let us now turn to setho. The word setho refers to those intrinsic qualities which define one as human. That is why we have botshelo jwa setho (human life), boitshwaro jwa setho (behaviour characteristic of humans), boleng jwa setho (human worth), maikutlo a setho (human feelings), mowa wa setho (human spirit) etc. Those are human traits which are found in all persons regardless of age, race or social class. The lack of such critical traits renders one beastly and barbaric. That is why the term human rights is defined as ditshwanelo tsa setho because they are rights that accrue to one purely because one is human. One doesn’t have to earn them or work for them, but they are purely his/hers on account of one being a human being. Additionally, anything that goes against such basic traits ga se setho. Anything that is not setho is sephologolo [animalistic]. That is why any inhumane treatment is classified as not setho. The butchering of people is not setho, some believe homosexuality is not setho, insulting one’s parents is not setho and bestiality is not setho. Therefore to have no setho is much more serious that to have no botho since a lack of setho signals the lack of characteristic human qualities, while the lack of botho is the lack of good manners which is as common as oxygen in every society and generation. It is almost impossible for society to move ahead with people lacking in setho while a lack of botho in society is typical of every generation.

When the Botswana vision, Vision 2016 speaks of botho it describes a person who is well-mannered, courteous and disciplined, and respects the rights of others in a complex society. “Botho is an example of a social contract of mutual respect, responsibility and accountability that members of society have toward each other and defines a process for earning respect by first giving it, and to gain empowerment by empowering others.” It is important to observe that botho presupposes setho in a motho. In other words, it is only people who can have botho, and it is only those people who are humane and who can demonstrate botho. It would be far-fetched to expect one who lacks setho to show botho. There is a hierarchy here. Motho must have setho to have botho.

Advice to younger academics

November 1, 2015

(a developing letter to my younger colleagues)


Read a lot, write a lot and send your work to lots of journals. Your peers are your best critics. Don’t be fooled by empty praise from uninformed persons and people outside your discipline. They are largely not fit to critique your work. Instead, subject your ideas to peer review. When your work is rejected by a publisher or journal editor don’t be upset or discouraged, understand why, correct it & resend it to the same journal or a different one. Don’t be a lone ranger. Collaborate, not just with people in your discipline but also with those outside it. It will enrich you and broaden your perspective. Make a song and dance of your achievements. Academics are too serious and too modest. Throw a party and enjoy life.

Why are we not naming spaces after our living legends?

October 30, 2015


On October 16 I was fortunate to be at Tiger Kloof to witness the institution name five of its buildings after five former students who many years after leaving the institution, became legends. Two of the legends who were honoured are deceased South African women: Aletha Tutu (The mother of Archbishop Desmond Tutu) and Dr. Ruth Mompati, one of the former leaders of the ANC. The other three Old-Tigers (as Tiger Kloof students are known) who were honoured are from Botswana. They are Sir Ketumile Ketumile Masire, Archibald Mogwe and Dr. Gaositwe Chiepe. Tiger Kloof named the school’s Administrative block the “Sir Quett Masire Building”. The girl’s hostel was named the “Chiepe Hostel” while the boys’ hostel was named the “Mogwe Hostel.” DSC_5154The names Masire, Chiepe and Mogwe join other three Tiger Kloof names with very close ties to Botswana. One such name is the name of CW Willoughby, a former Botswana missionary, who was stationed in Bangwato territory. Willoughby accompanied the three dikgosi to England in 1895 to lobby the British politicians against Cecil Rhodes’ desire to integrate Bechuanaland into South Africa. He established Tiger Kloof and was its first headmaster. The second Botswana name that is remembered in Tiger Kloof is that of David Matthews, the former headmaster of Maruapula School in Gaborone, who led the development of Tiger Kloof after 1991. Tiger Kloof has since named a garden after him. The final Botswana name is that of Khama.  Khama III donated 120 pounds to Tiger Kloof which was used to build a clock tower which exists up to this day. The school dining hall has subsequently been named the “Khama Hall” in honour of both Khama III and Sir Seretse Khama, a former Tiger himself.DSC_5130

In light of these honours, we must ask ourselves the question: “Why are we not naming our spaces after many of our deceased and living legends?” Botswana has many successful individuals. Yes some of them are no longer with us, while others are still alive and continue to make a significant contribution to the country. I am informed that there is a government policy not to name any road or building after a living individual. Why? Why should we wait until someone has died for us to recognise and honour them for their contribution to our society? Why should we bring the sweet smelling flowers to the grave of one who has passed on and deny them such roses in their lifetime? Why can’t we honour them while they are still alive? Are we perhaps afraid of a despot who may name highways and buildings after himself and his cousins were we to go this route? Is our fear justified? Perhaps it is, but naming buildings after individuals is not the only way that we honour our heroes. Every year we award to various persons in our republic medals of distinction for their service to the country. This is done through a committee. There are those who worry that such honours are awarded unfairly and yet that does not dissuade us from awarding them to those that we judge as deserving. kgosibathoen_bots3_iconSo why are we not naming our spaces after our heroes? There is something that we are missing. So far we have named our institutions after mostly dikgosi and other royals. Naming our institutions, our roads and halls after our finest sons and daughters will mark our spaces with names of persons with the ideals that we promote as a people. For instance the University can name its libraries, auditoriums and spaces in general after its previous Vice Chancellors such as Professor John Turner and Professor Thomas Tou. The names of other contributors to our education such as MLA Kgasa, Ben Thema and TK Motsete could also be used to name some of our spaces. Imagine, Sir Ketumile Masire was the first headmaster of Seepapitso Secondary school established in 1950. There is nothing in the Seepapitso Secondary School that is named after him. Why? In naming our spaces we must not just think about politicians. We must think about individuals who have had a tremendous impact in areas such as sports, business, music, arts, education, commerce, religion, culture, leadership, media and many others. Where is the name of Rebaone Mookodi remembered in our spaces? What about Sidwell Gabatshwane? What about David Magang, Daniel Kwelagobe, Maitshwarelo Dabutha? Have we forgotten Moleleki Mokama? What about Sekokotla Kaboeamodimo and Kgomotso Mokane? Where are the names of Bathoen I and the great kgosi of the Bakwena, Kgosi Sechele remembered in our spaces? What about Kgosi Sebele? What are the structures that honour Khama III, also known as Khama the great? What is honouring Kgomotso Mogapi, that great writer of Thutapuo ya Setswana, who for over a generation redefined Setswana grammar? Have we forgotten Moutlakgola Ngwako? What about the woman of many firsts, Dr. Gaositwe Chiepe? She was the first female MP in the Botswana parliament, the first female Minister of Education, the first female to have a graduate degree in Botswana and many other firsts.  What about the Oxon Festus Mogae? What about Archibald Mogwe? What about Kgosi Bathoen II? Why are we silent about Raditladi? Why are we silent about Wookey, Willoughby and Sandilands? What about Kgosi Seepapitso IV? Have we forgotten Motsamai Mpho, Philip Matante and Kenneth Koma? What about Kgosi Lenchwe II? What about Sir Ketumile Masire, our only knight, a man of exceptional talent, humility and leadership? Are we waiting for him and others to die before we could honour them?

Let us prioritise naming our spaces by those who have contributed greatly and meaningfully to our society. We must not wait for them to die before we recognise their contribution to our society.


October 28, 2015

Nte re sekaseke puo ya rona gape – re e eleke, re e pitikolole gongwe e tlaa re go tenololeng re ithute sengwe se re neng re sa se itse.

Baitseanape ba dumela fa puo nngwe le nngwe e humile thata fa go tla mo mafokong a a amanang le dikarolo tsa mmele, go tswa fela gore dikarolo tseo setšhaba seo se di dirisa jang e bile se di tlhaloganya jang. Dingwe tsa dikarolo tse dipuo ka bontsi di bopileng mafoko le diane ka tsone ke tse di tshwanang le pelo kgotsa sefatlhego. Pelo ka e bofitlha e bile ga e itsege re le batho re e akanyetsa dilo di le dintsi e bile re dumela fa e dira dilo tse re ka sekeng ra di supela. Sekai ke jaaka o kgona go tshwara motho ka pelo kgotsa o re ga o a isa selo sengwe mo pelong. Se se supa tumelo ya rona ka karolo e ya mmele le dilo tse e ka di dirang. Re dumela fa e tshwana le boboko e kgona go gakologelwa dilo. Mme ga nkitla ke tsenelela mo kgannyeng ya pelo ka ke setse ke kwadile ka yone mo go tseneletseng mo kgatisong ya Mokgosi mo dibekeng tse di fetileng. Ke eletsa go itebaganya le karolo e le nngwe fela ya mmele, e bong matlho.


E re ntswa dikarolo tse tsa mmele di le dipotlana thata, di botlhokwa mo mmeleng mo fa di tlhokafalang motho a koafalang thata. Batho ba ba latlhegetsweng ke pono ba ba ntsi, mme e bile go tlhoka pono ga bone go ba retefaletsa go dira dilo tse di ntsi mo botshelong. Matlho tiro ya one ke go bona – mebala, lesedi le dilo tse di mo lefatsheng. Ke nngwe ya mejako ya mmele e e bulegelang tikologo. Ka jalo puo ya rona e humile mafoko a a diriwang le lefoko ‘matlho’ mme a tsaya bokao jo boša. Dikai di dintsi ga re kitla re di fetsa mme a re simolole fa: ‘diga matlho’. Fa o diga o dira gore sengwe se wele fa fatshe. Mme fa o diga matlho ga o dire gore a wele fa fatshe. Tebo e katswa e ya ko tlase, ke gore o lebelela sengwe se se kwa tlase ga selekanyo sa tlhogo – bogolo se se ntlheng ya dinao tsa gago. Mme matlho one a bo a sa wa – a nna a ntse fela mo dikgapheng tsa one mo tlhogong. O kgona go ‘latlhela matlho’ kgakala. Le gone go latlhela matlho ga go tshwane le fa o latlhela letlapa, ka matlho ga se gore a bo a le mo seatleng mo a ka konopelwang kgakala ke motho. Go latlhela matlho re go dirisa nako tse dingwe go raya go bala ka bokhutshwane. O kgona go tlhatlosa matlho, go a tsosa, go a rotola, go a gotola, kgotsa go a tlhoma. Madiri a otlhe fa a dirisiwa le lefoko ‘matlho’ a tsala bokao jo boša jo botshwanetseng jwa tsenngwa mo dithanoding ka ke karolo e e humileng ya puo ya Setswana.

Motho gape o kgona go go tlodisa matlho, mme matlho a gagwe kgotsa a gago a sa tlolele gope! Mo gongwe go tlodisa matlho ga go amane le matlho gotlhelele ka go tlodisiwa matlho go raya gore motho a bo a sa go abela sengwe se a neng o se solofetse – ke gore o bona fa o itlhokomolosiwa ke motho yo o tshwanetseng go go fepa. Mme kana gore motho a go tlodise matlho o tshwanetse go go bona – ke gore o tshwanetse a seka a go tlodisa matlho!

Fela jaaka motho a kgona go go tlodisa matlho, o kgona go go tlhaetsa matlho gape. Se bagaetsho ga se reye gore matlho ke dijo tsa mophako jaanong wena o mo moleng o di emetse mongwe a bo a di go tlhaetsa. Fa motho a go tlhaetsa matlho o a bo a go tseela kwa tlase, a go leba dinao, a go kala mme a go bona o le motlhofo mo ponong ya gagwe, a go sinalala. Motswana ene a re motho a bo a go tlhaetsa matlho. Se tota motho yo a bo a se go tlhaetsa ke tlotlo. Ga a go bone o le motho wa sepe. Jaanong gantsi se se itshupa mo matlhong; ka fa motho a go lebang ka teng. Fa a go leba kwa dinaong, o lemoga fela gore motho yo, ga a ntseye tsia, o ntlhaetsa matlho.

Mme kana matlho one ra rialo ra re ke dialana kgotsa dihalana ga a je sa ga ope. Re tlhalosa gore a leba fela motho a bo tsamaya a sa ngatha sepe gope. Batswana ba ne ba bua jalo motho a senka go leba fela a sa reke kgotsa a sa tseye sepe. Mme kana mo bogompienong mo malatsing a dibaesekopo ga o kake wa tsena fela o bo o re nnyaa nna ke ne ke kopa go bona fela, ka matlho dialana, ga nkitla ke tsaya sepe, ke tlaa tswa fela jaaka ke tsene. Owaai o bowa o swabile motho wa batho.

Mme gape fa batho ba buisanya ba lebane, kgotsa ba le foo mmogo ra re ba buisanya matlho a phage a lebane. Se ga se reye gore gore batho ba bo ba gotololelane matlho kgotsa bana le matlho a a boitshegang boo-babedi. Go reng gotwe a phage ga ke tlhaloganye ka ga ke itse gore a diphage di a tle di gotololane matlho. Kgotsa Motswana o a bo a gatelela puo, a e e fa lentswana go gatelela gore batho ba bo ba le teng ka namana. Ke oketse fela batho betsho, khumo ya puo ya rona e feta ya diteemane – re tlaa a tsidifala re e tlogela.



“selae” isn’t the singular form of “slice”

October 17, 2015


Motswana fa a re “selae” o raya mo ka Sekgoa re go bitsang “slice”. Lefoko “sli” ga le yo mo Seesemaneng. Le fa go ntse jalo, mo tsebeng ya Motswana, lefoko “slice” gantsi le utlwalega jaaka e ka re ke ntsifatso ya lefoko “selae”/sli mme go sa nna jalo. Phoso e e utlwalega sentle fa motho a kopa a re: “Can I please have one “slae”?” mme motho a ne a ka bo a rile: “Can I please have one “slice”?

Go supafala sentle gore mo mogopolong wa Motswana /se-/ ke tlhogo ya “selae” ka gore fa lefoko le le ntsifadiwa le nna “dilae”. Se se farologana thata le lefoko “senke” le le ntsifadiwang jaaka “disenke” e seng “dienke”.

Kgosi Chronicles Part 3: Monngammu without mmu

October 14, 2015

In this column I comment on the change to the power of bogosi. Centrally I argue that the powers of the kgosi have been eroded by multiple factors over a long period of time and largely through the cooperation of the dikgosi themselves. These changes did not come after independence. I contend that much of the power of dikgosi rested on the ownership of land by merafe, whose power was vested in the kgosi. This explains in part why the kgosi was called monngammu. I also argue that the kgosi has participated in the dismantling of Tswana culture and he hasn’t always been its effective custodian as he is usually portrayed.

king-khama III

The loss of power by a kgosi is not a new phenomenon. Way before independence the powers of a kgosi had begun to be eroded considerably and much with his cooperation. These changes were evident in the 1800s. In colonial times, it is fairly accurate to say that the kgosi was “at the bottom of the colonial order” (Morton & Ramsay, 1987:3). Above the kgosi were the following in their increasing order of seniority: the Resident Magistrate, The Divisional Commissioners (Gaberones & Francistown), Resident Commissioner (Mafikeng), High Commissioner, Dominions Secretary (London) and British Parliament. Dikgosi were expected to serve the colonial government just like any other colonial official. Principally, their role was “controlling their people, collecting tax and implementing changes introduced from above”. Even then, they were paid something like a salary since they were allowed to keep 10% of the hut tax collected. They “were allowed to change and abolish customary laws and practices, maintain their own police force and administrative staff, raise money and conscript labour for public purposes and banish their opponents from the Reserve. In so doing, however, they remained subject to the approval of colonial Government.” And the kgosi did exercise these powers extensively, especially that many of them like Seepapitso III, Bathoen II, Sechele as well as Khama III converted to Christianity. Some of the customary practices that came under attack when Botswana was a protectorate were bogwera and bojale which missionaries saw as opposed to the spread of Christianity. These initiation schools were seen as pagan and satanic, spirit-worshipping schools. The missionaries succeeded in undermining Tswana culture and ensuring that they convinced the dikgosi to shut the institutions down. “Eventually the missionaries succeeded in ending bogwera almost everywhere in Botswana. Khama banned it first, followed by Bathoen, Sebele and later Mathiba in Ngamiland” (Ramsay, Morton & Mgadla, 1996:187). In this way dikgosi were not only bystanders in the destruction of Tswana culture. They were active participant. Bojale and bogwera were not the only elements of Tswana culture which felt the weight of missionary gospel. The missionaries preached against polygamy too. The effects were so devastating that Kgosi Sechele had to divorce three of his wives to demonstrate his commitment to his new-found Christian faith. Even bogadi was condemned by missionaries to the point that within many merafe there were parallel systems of Christian and traditional Tswana wedding practices. This brought much conflict and confusion especially in instances where the bride’s parents demanded bogadi and the groom’s parents refused to give bogadi on account of their Christian conversion. In most instances, it was the kgosi who facilitated this cultural transformation since he was a Christian convert.

The dikgosi were so powerful that they could banish individuals from the land or offer residence to anyone they welcomed in the land they controlled. They were bannga-mmu (the owners of the soil) in a real sense compared to the modern dikgosi who lack such powers and are called bannga-mmu only out of respect. Modern dikgosi don’t own the tribal land they “rule”. They can neither banish any person from any territory nor allocate land to any person, including to themselves. This is in huge contrast to the dikgosi of old who could banish someone from their territory as a consequence of political or religious differences or out of sheer jealousy. Two examples here are worth noting. The first is from the Bangwaketse territory, while the second is from the Kgatla territory. The tale of one LMS trained Mothowagae Motlogelwa is an interesting one. In 1893 he asserted his independence from the LMS and set a rival school to the LMS school in Kanye. His school was free. This offended the jealous missionaries, Kgosi Bathoen & his successor Kgosi Seepapitso, both of whom were members of the LMS. Mothowagae was banished from the Ngwaketse capital to Lekgolobotlo in 1910 together with his King Edward Bangwaketse Mission Church.

Now to the Bakgatla; After Kgosi Molefi became Kgosi he was given too much to excessive drinking. He loved to party and loved fast cars. He was seen generally as an irresponsible Kgosi. He was suspended from bogosi and banished from Kgatleng by Charles Rey, the Resident Commissioner. He fled and ended up in Segeng amongst the Bangwaketse. Queen Seingwaeng, mother of Kgosi Molefi fought for the restoration of her son. She joined the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) in 1938 and together with the ZCC, which was perceived as a threat to the Dutch Reformed Church, campaigned for the removal of Isang Pilane (motshwarelela bogosi) and the reinstatement of Kgosi Molefi who was in exile. In a strange twist of events, after the reinstatement of Molefi to bogosi, Seingwaeng and the Zionists who had fought for the return of Kgosi Molefi were now seen as political threat by Kgosi Molefi and the ruling elite. Kgosi Molefi expelled them from Kgatleng. He didn’t just do this; he first flogged his 64 year old mother in public and together with a group of Zionists bundled them into a lorry and sent them out of Motshodi towards Mafikeng. They were banished from Kgatleng territory by a kgosi.

To conclude, I have tried to demonstrate one major point: that the dikgosi historically have been part of a complex system that facilitated the destruction of traditional Tswana culture and that contrary to belief, they have not been its consistent defenders as it is sometimes claimed. I have also demonstrated that dikgosi have for a long time been part of government, salaried somewhat as they are today, but never at the top of the governing system. The erosion of dikgosi powers is not a new phenomenon that came post-independence. The dikgosi have been weak for a long time. Although the dikgosi of old had power over land, the modern dikgosi lack such powers, and for good reason.


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