It is 1925 and Kgosi Sekgoma formally welcomes the Prince of Wales to Serowe

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For such a meeting, the British would have long worked out a set formula with every small detail described, the distance between the Prince and Sekgoma, the former slightly higher than the latter and sitting a pace in front of the members of his entourage.

The speeches would have followed a routine, a loyal address by Sekgoma and a gracious response from the Prince with translation being provided by the resident missionary, in this case I presume, the Rev. Jennings.  Sekgoma’s retinue appears to be surprisingly small certainly in comparison with that of the Prince but appearances here may be deceptive if, as appears to be the case, the white residents of Serowe had crowded in around the Prince and his officials. 

Everyone would, of course, have been impeccably dressed, the British, formally, in their standard colonial attire, and Sekgoma resplendent in what must have been the uniform of one or other of the Guards regiments.  Bare headed, as he was at the unveiling of the Khama III grave monument (see Mmegi 1st April), he appears in both photos as a distinctly commanding figure.  Formality would have been, of course, the very essence of this occasion but a careful study of the photo provides some surprises. Sekgoma’s family, as I presume them to be, are not sitting in a regulation straight line as they would be today.  Security, unlike today, appears to be a zero concern. 

Beyond Sekgoma can be seen a well-hatted gentleman sitting on the ground, a reporter perhaps for whom no provision had been made.And all around can be seen people, presumably European residents of the area, finding the best position from which to enjoy the occasion.

For both the key actors, power and position proved to be short lived. Sekgoma was to die later in the same year having been Kgosi for only two years whilst the Prince of Wales contrived to be King, as Edward VIII, for only eleven months of 1936 before he abdicated.  With their demise, a new modern chapter was opened in Serowe with Tshekedi acting as Regent for the young Seretse and in the U.K. with George VI succeeding Edward as King.

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