The Jazz King (11): Sebele's "White Slaves"

“In the meantime the Boers had become the serfs of the kraal, the hewers of wood and drawers of water. They are still there, performing menial tasks for the natives.

You may enter Sebele’s kraal and discover a grand piano which he bought in Cape Town and has had transported, by some miraculous means, into this desert home. As a host Sebele is charming. He will play last year’s jazz melodies on a piano to amuse you, and, if it is a special occasion, his chief wife will wear an evening frock which was also bought in Cape Town some years ago and the white serfs of Molepolole will serve you with the kaffir beer that is brewed for such distinguished visitors.”- W.J. Makin Across the Kalahari Desert (London, 1929).

We left off with Kgosi Sebele II having imposed price controls on the predominantly white Afrikaner (Boer/Maburu) and mixed race blacksmiths in Molepolole. In addition, he further required them to buy wood for their furnaces from Bakwena. As a conservation measure he also banned Kweneng residents of all races from commercially cutting green wood, while raising the fees for the commercial gathering of deadwood.

Editor's Comment
Bravo police for prompt action

It is also hurting that whilst we all know that the Botswana Police Service (BPS) is charged functionally with the duties to investigate all forms of crime, some locals have resorted to taking the law into their own hands. It is very wrong to do that. There is also a possibility that one may wrongfully take the life of a person in the process, unless it is a justifiable case of self-defence. Recently, in the city of Francistown, some locals found...

Have a Story? Send Us a tip
arrow up