Letter to Seretse

Mahetsakgang regiment at Serowe Kgotla during the Khama farewell PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Mahetsakgang regiment at Serowe Kgotla during the Khama farewell PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

Dumela Phuti. I am writing this from Serowe where morafe has just welcomed back your son and their Kgosikgolo back at the Kgotla where he was draped with the lion's skin.

Ian is stepping down as President of Botswana in a few days and he was in Serowe to bid Bangwato farewell as state president. He returns to the Kgotla with many titles. This is how he is addressed “His Excellency the president Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama” (he loves all those titles but he has since accepted that his name is confusing and does not mind ‘Iyene’ as many address him).

It was Ian’s last Kgotla meeting in the marathon farewell meetings that he began in Moshupa on December 14, 2018. Bangwato had come in many numbers although your uncle’s last born, Kgosi Sekgoma Khama said they were not as many as the day Ian was coronated.

Morafe was looking as pompous as ever, wa ba itse Bangwato. Dikgosana of various wards in the village were grand seating on traditional seats, donning their signature regalia, mostly khakhis and the old Victorian helmet hats. Some claimed the hats are their heirlooms that their parents were wearing during the negotiations of your marriage to Ruth back in the days – your morafe has never ceased to always throw in your name into conversations.

Mahetsakgang (Naledi’s girls) were seated in the front row, in their usual bright pink shawls and Tebogo Khama headgear. The ‘girls’ have really grown up now and some can barely stand due to old age but they still got that Sengwato swagger. They brought their unique music instruments, the cattle rip bones that they played for your son.

It was a beautiful event. A typical Ngwato grandiose came all out as Bangwato felt they are finally welcoming back their Kgosi ever since you took him to Gaborone after his coronation. They dubbed the event, “Farewell President of Botswana Goroga Ka Pula Kgosi Ya Rona”.

After Ian was spoilt with lots of farewell gifts around Botswana during the farewell tour, Bangwato were expected to beat everyone and top it all with presents befitting their Kgosi. But last week Gantsi farmers challenged them by gifting Ian 140 cattle and Bangwato suddenly had some gift mobilisation challenge – to beat 140 cattle. They love him so much that they did not want anyone to spoil him better than them so by the morning of farewell kgotla meeting, they had already contributed 143 cattle and the count was still on.

However, I think Bangwato are in for some absent Kgosi again. Although Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane has tirelessly through ailments held fort for Ian, your son is still not remaining in his kgotla. He has talked about coming to assist Kgosi Kgamane but not really taking full kgosi roles. I do not think he would or could.

I watched your son throughout the event and most intensely during the praise poems. He does not seem to understand the deep meanings of those praise poems because even after so many years he cannot master his father’s language. And a Kgosi who does not understand praise singers cannot lead morafe. This is because there is history in those poems, cultural education, morafe gossip, subliminal alarm calls for threats and advices. I hope Ian would soon sit with his uncles and decide on bogosi ja ga Mmangwato.

Looking at the love that Batswana gave your boy, I think it is safe to say that he served them well. Analysts and statesmen would explain it better but luckily he did not get Africa’s Third Term bug as he did not change the Constitution in order  to cling to the seat. For that you should be proud of your son.

Ian has not expressly declared out his retirement plans, but lately he has been talking a lot about going back to the army. Although we have been taking this as one of his jokes, we cannot be sure because of your son’s undying love for the military. The other day he was almost begging Festus (his predecessor from Botalote) to ask his successor to return him to the army. You might remember that Ian was brought to fix the Domkrag when Koma was about to take over.

TK is still in Parliament and I think he is hopeful that he could one day go back to State House.

Ian is passing the baton to Edson Masisi’s son called Mokgweetsi from Moshupa. He is tipped as Domkrag’s blue-eyed boy and your son has assured us that Mokgweetsi is the perfect man for the job. The whole nation is hopeful.


Ian has a young beautiful friend who he usually seen out with. She is tall and slender (just his type) and was even in a family Christmas group picture. Morafe is pregnant with expectation that their Kgosi might soon tell his uncles something with regarding this beautiful friend. I will keep you posted.

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