The plaque at the Gaborone City Council is, without question, one of the most important in the country. But it is also extraordinarily tantalising.
On a recent visit to those offices I was pleased to see that some inspired person – the City Clerk perhaps? - had lifted the plaque from the near ground level where it had been previously placed and re-situated it at eye level. Wonderful. But start off with the shield, presumably the Council’s rather simple coat of arms, perhaps a part replica of the National coat of arms with the shield which, recent correspondence has firmly established as being Zulu rather than Tswana. Then move on to Seretse who had become an Hon. by virtue of his membership of the new National Assembly.
Then consider the title ‘Dr’ which has long puzzled me. Is this correct or is it a mistake? Would a Seretse expert kindly provide the information that is needed – from where was this doctorate acquired? Then move to the O.B.E, a British honour which was presumably overtaken by the KBE – Knight Commander of the British Empire – which he was awarded a few weeks later. Could the necessary ceremony have been carried out either immediately before or immediately after 30 September? Would this award have been made by Princess Marina or was it performed by the new British High Commissioner? For any Motswana to accept a British Empire award may strike some people as incongruous but it does happen that events overtake deeply emplaced words and those who accept such honours know that the words belong to the past whilst the honour continues to relate to the present. But let’s pass on to the opening of the new Town Hall which Derek Jones told me was built by
The supposition now has to be that Mrs Fox got her name on the honours board because, post the election, she was made an appointed elected Councillor. But that too creates problems because as we all know the government, from day one, has invariably utilised its opportunity to appoint four such members, as it did with the first Mochudi Council. In this instance, it appeared to have appointed only one. This is another problem because we know that Mohammed Angamia was also, like Jill Fox, made a nominated Councillor – but where, therefore, are the missing two to be found? And why were their names omitted? It’s now long ago, of course, but I believe that the names of those who served the country in its early days should be made known, not hidden away. All of them, in difficult circumstances, made a significant contribution. So let us give them due honour.