Mmegi Blogs :: Has it ever been the aggressor?
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Monday 24 September 2018, 15:01 pm.
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Has it ever been the aggressor?

It was bound to happen. Provide dodgy information and sooner or later someone is bound to repeat it and then fairly quickly it becomes an unchallengeable fact. Much like that deeply entrenched ‘fact’ that in 1895 the three Dikgosi went to the UK to ask for Queen Vic’s protection.
By Sandy Grant Wed 29 Jun 2016, 14:17 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Has it ever been the aggressor?








As far as I know, hard information about  ‘the old hotel’ in the Gaborone Village or about Mr C.J. Rhodes connection with Gaborone is yet to emerge. An attempt to fill the gap the National Museum, however, has done a bit of inventing.

It states that the small ‘hotel’ in the Gaborone Village, which it also describes as a small rest camp, was built in the late 1880s in Batlokwa territory ‘under the auspices of the British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes’. It had space for storage only for ‘ the local pioneer army’. To get quite so much wrong in a couple of sentences is a truly remarkable achievement. The settlement at the Village was established by the British Protectorate Administration on land sequestered probably from the Kwena and not from the Tlokwa.  It had nothing to do with Mr Rhodes although it might just be possible that he had a minor commercial interest in the place – but we do not know. What we do know, however, is that there was no such thing as far as the hotel’ is concerned, as ‘the local pioneer army’.   What the National Museum was presumably intending to state, as it has done at the Fort, is that this was a base for Rhodes’ Pioneer Column of 1890 which invaded Mashonaland and established Salisbury, now Harare.

The nearest this Column came to Gaborone, however, was a few hundred kilometres away

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when it assembled at Macloutsie! I have previously described the Museum’s blunders in this column but return to the topic having stumbled on Bashi Letsididi’s article about the ‘hotel’ in the Patriot. Intrigued by the claim (unsubstantiated) that plans for the Jameson Raid were hatched in the hotel, he queried whether there have been other occasions when the country has itself been the aggressor rather than innocent victim of  aggression?  In contrast to its wishful attempts to relate Rhodes to Gaborone, the disastrous raid had everything to do with Mr Rhodes. 

But at this point, and when confronted by an undoubted historical fact, the National Museum loses all interest in the said, Mr Rhodes. As far as I know, there are still no markers of any kind at Pitsane to inform the general public that it was there that Jameson’s force assembled.  Okay, this was an entirely foreign aggression and therefore to be discounted. But what about Khama’s role in invading the then Matabeleland to knock out Lobengula in 1893? Would it be reasonably accurate if the National Museum described his as a ‘local pioneer army’? If so, where are the sign boards which record the places where this force was encamped and where it linked up with the white imperialists? Letsididi may have been misled by the National  Museum about ‘the hotel’ but his line of enquiry is far from being irrelevant.

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