Mmegi Blogs :: Thataganyane, Serowe
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Friday 15 December 2017, 17:56 pm.
Thataganyane, Serowe

Trespassers prohibited by law. Which law I wonder? A UCCSA law perhaps? And by which authority?
By Sandy Grant Wed 22 Nov 2017, 18:32 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Thataganyane, Serowe

This notice, which I photographed a couple of years ago but assume is still there, makes me profoundly uneasy. As indeed it should disturb you. But then I am referring only to those who treasure the country’s heritage. The notice is unequivocal, it is precise and gains added meaning by being attached to a new exclusion fence.

This, states the notice, is a UCCSA Serowe Heritage Site; not a national heritage site as gazetted, or one belonging to Serowe, it is exclusively a UCCSA Serowe site which presumably can be visited and enjoyed only by paid up UCCSA Serowe members.

How could this have been allowed to happen? The site is of dual importance, first archaeologically, long before the UCCSA was established; secondly, historically as the LMS mission’s base in Serowe when Khama re-occupied it in 1902. Its history as such has not, I believe, been recorded, but my impression is that having been latterly occupied by Revs Seager and Lock, it was, effectively abandoned, not perhaps as a result of conscious decision but more from convenience and in-built disinterest.

The result, inevitably, is that the now UCCSA allowed the buildings of its historic mission to rot, be looted and disintegrate. What it now claims as its own therefore is the archaeological site with which it has no possible connection, no interest and certainly no authorised responsibility. The problem however is not the UCCSA’s disinterest, it is our own.

More specifically I must refer firstly to the Serowe community and then to the National Museum which gazettes historic and archaeological sites but lacks capacity to oversee them. It is just about possible to understand that any


community might find it difficult to relate to a major archaeological site in its very midst.

It is however much more difficult to understand how Serowe’s varied authorities, its physical planners not least, could have failed, over a 40 or so year period, to eye this large unutilised site, bang in the centre of Serowe, with inevitably greedy eyes. Seemingly for everyone there, from top to bottom, the Thataganyane site was understood to be a no-go area. Why? Why has no one with any authority questioned the validity of that notice?

The National Museum spent P100,000 modernising Tebogo’s little home on the mistaken assumption that it was Seretse’s birth-place. So, it must have the cash on hand whenever Serowe has other needs. Which of course it does. But spin this issue around so that other interests are brought into play. The unoccupied site must be worth many millions which would undoubtedly attract the most avaricious.

Has it not occurred to the UCCSA to sell it?  Just think of all that lovely money. But to do so it would need to provide title of ownership which it is most unlikely to possess, Khama III not being in the habit of giving his land away. What now? The UCCSA must be asked to return the site for which it has no demonstrated use.

Bring in the routinely sidelined Khama Museum, together with the Land Board and tribal authority, to engage one consultant to carry out an assessment study and another to recommend appropriate uses for the site and to assess how the Arthington Hall, not least, might be saved. And then move on with considered care.


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