Our Heritage.

Staff Writer
Rev Derek Jones - Mayor of Gaborone, in 1966 or 1967

With an Oxford University degree under his belt, and two years in the RAF in Egypt, and having been recently ordained, Derek Jones arrived in this country in 1954 by way of the mail boat to Cape Town, train to Francistown and then truck from there to Maun where he was to be the LMS' District Superintendent. 

Derek spent six years there before transferring to Kanye and Lobatse and beginning his long standing involvement with the Bechuanaland Book Centre, as it was then styled, with literature, writing and publishing.

In 1965 he was moved to the new Trinity Church in Gaborone where he served until 1972.

With the Anglican, Father Alan Butler he formed a rare partnership. Both were fully aware of the challenges and the opportunities of serving in the new capital.

They quickly realised that a principal need of the new community was for information and their response was to produce a cyclostyled weekly, Trinity Broadsheet. 

Apart from their normal church duties, both served the community in a variety of ways.

Fr Butler became chairman of the new Consumer Cooperative Society whose super market in the Mall was the first of its kind in the country whilst Derek stood in the remarkable local government elections of 1965 as an independent candidate for the South Ring constituency.

Of the eight new councillors, no less than six were

unopposed, one of them being Jones.

The other independent candidate (yes, there were two!) was Jill Fox, who was defeated by 50 votes to 46 by the BDP's Bolly Rex Hirschfeldt but is recorded as a member of the first Town Council which must mean that she was later made a nominated member.  The fact that no one chose to stand against Jones suggests that his candidature was widely welcomed and it therefore seems unsurprising that he should have been elected the new Town's First Mayor, an office which he held for the first two crucially important years.

Although he handed over the chain of office to Grace Dambe in 1968 he served out his full time as a Councillor but chose not to participate in the 1969 elections.

When people have attempted to explain why this country has been, for its first 40 years, such an anomaly in Africa, the heritage deriving from Livingstone and Moffat has been invariably overlooked. 

But come 1966 and those wonderful new challenges and who was on the spot in Gaborone to do what they could to help but Messrs Jones and Butler; and in different places and areas of public need,  Alfred Merriweather,  Albert Lock, Brian Bailey,  John Rutherford (of the Serowe TTC) and for the last thirty plus years, Howard Moffat.

It is a most remarkable record of dedication and service.




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