I hope this short letter finds you well… as well as one could be in the company of criminals and convicts. You my lord are no convict. You are Bakgatla’s Kgosikgolo, remanded in prison by Chief Magistrate Barnabas Nyamadzabo. Although Nyamadzabo is referred to as “Chief Magistrate”, let me assure you, my lord, that he is no chief. He is a civil servant, while you, the big monkey are not… but rather the King of the Bakgatla, wherever they may be… oops… I don’t mean that you are a monkey my lord… I am just referring to the tribe’s totem which you embody completely… The Supreme Monkey. You were born to be Kgosikgolo. Your status as Kgosikgolo is not a consequence of your intellect or hard work, it is a position you have ascended to as a result of your birth. Like Kgosikgolo ya Bangwaketse, the late Seepapitso IV, used to say: O tsetswe ga o a tlhophiwa. But you see Kgosikgolo, I am confused. I don’t understand why you left the magistrate court after you were supposed to be remanded in custody. I have a suspicion that you were abducted. I don’t see why you had to run away. You are a responsible member of the community – a Kgosikgolo who rules in Botswana and South Africa (you see Kgosikgolo, as an aside; we must change the spelling of your headquarters. Makgoa messed it up. Once you leave your prison cell, please you should issue a decree that from this day henceforth Mochudi shall be spelt and pronounced Motshodi). But why did you leave the court? Had your mophato told you that Nyamadzabo was no chief after all? I was very unhappy that the Kgosikgolo should be hunted like a common criminal. I heard that police helicopters were hovering over your capital, Motshodi. Golo mo ke botlhodi monngame fa e bile o bona letsatsi le gaketse mo go kana. Some people say you left on the back of a truck. Mokgatla, now this is not good. A people’s leader should not be found on the back of a truck as if Bakgatla ba humanegile. Where were the Mercedes Benzes of the Bakgatla? I wish to suggest to you that the truck that rescued you from the magistrate court should be put on display at Phuthadikobo, so that forever it would tell the story of a chief’s great escape. Its owner must have a special place at the kgotla and be rewarded with 10 heads of cattle. He should also accompany you on your trips to Moruleng. This will teach morafe that Kgosikgolo must be protected at all cost. As for the Bakgatla who own Mercedes Benzes and BMWs who didn’t facilitate your get away, I recommend mabele a kgomo. But where were you hiding, my lord on that fateful day? I would be honoured to know of your secret bunkers and caves if you have any. You see on that day I was humming one of the Bakgatla classics from the Radio Botswana’s Dipina le maboko: “Kgosi e kgolo mpolelle; Mpolelle, ke a batla, ke batla kgosi e kgolo, mpolelle.” Regardless of how much I hummed this classic, Kgosi e kgolo was nowhere to be found.
But you see Morwa Lenchwe I am troubled that these random lashings are not worth it when you consider the bigger picture of revitalising Kgatleng. I am aware that you wish to restore dignity to Motshodi. I hear that Motshodi is now orderly. People have respect for each other. There is no more traditional beer sold from households. People dress properly at funerals. This is good stuff. I hear there are plans to build a stadium in Kgatleng and to build schools that are supported by the morafe. I have also heard about your newsletter “Bua Kgabo”. You have brought bogwera and bojale back to Mochudi. Buses have crossed the border into Motshodi carrying hundreds of initiates. This is great for the local economy and if well managed, Motshodi can develop into an amazing cultural and business hub for Bakgatla and other Tswana groups. It can become Bakgatla’s Moria. All this is great, but you see, the mephato need to be reined in for strategic reasons. This issue of flogging pastors must cease for the sake of tribal unity. You see, there are many Bakgatla who are Christians. Now if you start flogging Christian pastors, some of your Christian supporters will begin to desert you. Go ka nna le mhoholela mo morafeng. Some guys who claimed to be part of one of your mophato I hear gave a pregnant woman some serious beating together with her lover. I hear the woman is now suing, having had a miscarriage. Whether her miscarriage was a result of the beating may be difficult to prove. The mophato however can’t say “Well, how were we to know that she was pregnant?” The answer is simple, “If she was tried and then sentenced, you would have known.” These beatings without trial are distracting people’s attention from the good that you are doing. As a lawyer you know the importance of trying people first before sentencing them. Be careful that your bigger picture projects are not hijacked by some criminal elements.
While you are there, my lord I want you to check something for me. You see this ever smiling chap who heads BONELA, Uyapo Ndadi, he argues that prisoners should be given condoms. Having been in prison for a few days, yourself, do you think he has a point? Ke a mmelaeela mosimane yo gore o romilwe! I hear he was in America recently. O a selasela! I look forwarding to hearing from you. Kgosikgolo, your people have asked me to tell you not to be discouraged or humiliated by the prison cell. They want me to remind you that Mandela was in prison for many years – he was later to become the president of the Boers who imprisoned him. They want me to tell you that Nyamadzabo will one day come to Motshodi to ask for forgiveness for incarcerating you. A pula e ne, the Big Monkey!