The guns of Dimawe

The Battle of Dimawe, which was fought 169 years ago today (30/8/1852), stands out as one of the earliest instances in which a Boer Commando fought an opposing indigenous force that was also substantially provided with firearms.

The weapons in both camps were mostly the private property of those who carried them resulting in a good deal of qualitative variation in the munitions deployed by each side.

The Boers enjoyed a quantitative advantage in terms of artillery, notwithstanding the fact that Sechele's single 6-Pounder was the largest canon in the field. In terms of other guns, the hunting rifles and muskets used by many of the Boers of the era were renowned for their superior range of 100 to 200 yards as well as general accuracy. In previous encounters they had outclassed the British Army’s Brown Bess musket, which had a maximum range of about 100 yards with limited accuracy beyond 60 yards. The quality of the trade muskets in the hands of the Batswana would have varied greatly, though by the late 1840s most local Dikgosi were adept at rejecting those that tested below standard. Manufacturers in Liege Belgium were the biggest source of guns in the region, surviving examples of which have proved accurate from 40 to 100 yards. But, Sechele also had a collection of custom-built state of the art rifles. Designed for bagging big game by well to do hunters the best of these guns had a range of up to 1,000 yards, firing armour as well as elephant piercing conical shot of 12-8 bore.

Editor's Comment
Routine child vaccination imperative

The recent Vaccination Day in Motokwe, orchestrated through collaborative efforts between UNICEF, USAID, BRCS, and the Ministry of Health, underscores a commendable stride towards fortifying child health services.The painful reality as reflected by the Ministry of Health's data regarding the decline in routine immunisation coverage since the onset of the pandemic, is a cause for concern.It underscores the urgent need to address the...

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