Forgotten Hero - Joseph Ludorf

The Rev. Dr. Joseph D.M. Ludorf (died1872) was a medical missionary and printer, who became an early and outspoken advocate of Batswana political unity.

As a pioneer translator and publisher of both Sesotho and Setswana, he was also the editor of the first Setswana newspaper, “Molekoli ua Bechwana” (Batswana Visitor), and the drafter of the first constitution for what would have been a united Batswana nation.

Born in Germany, Ludorf became a printer by profession before joining the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society (PEMS), which sent him to South Africa in 1842. He was posted at Beersheba, where he was responsible for the PEMS printing press. A gifted linguist he was soon able to translate material from French, English, Dutch, and German into Sesotho and Setswana (Serolong dialect). This combination of talent and determination resulted in several early publications for use by the church. A record of a PEMS public meeting, held in Cape Town on 4 October 1848, thus noted:

Editor's Comment
Gov’t, Balete should bury the hatchet

The acrimony that seemingly characterised the relationship between the Malete Land Board on behalf of the Botswana government and Kgosi Mosadi Seboko and the tribe, should now be water under the bridge as the tribe has finally gotten what it has been fighting for - the land.Kgosi Mosadi has articulated an instance upon which she was allegedly summoned to the State House by the Head of State, Mokgweetsi Masisi where the former claimed she was...

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