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The Orphans And Ants Part 22: Battledress

Our last episode concluded with Kgosi Sebego welcoming the traders Bain and Biddulph, who he saw as potentially useful to his planned attack on the Makololo at Dithubaruba. Bain�s initial description of Sebego, as recorded in his diary:

“His appearance is very prepossessing, rather above common size, with a remarkable easy carriage, and his tout ensemble majestic... Round his head - as an antidote against the headache, with which he was troubled - he wore a large snake’s skin, the bright colours of which formed a pleasing contrast to that of his face. kaçak iddaa

He was dressed in a jackal’s Kabo & in his hand carried a handsome battle axe. On his legs, ankles & wrists he wore a great number of copper rings & bracelets of beautiful workmanship, and on kaçak bahis his legs, just below his knees, similar rings, some of which he told us he made himself. Round his ankles were four rows of beads of virgin gold, which he said he had taken from a Mantatee chief he had killed in battle.”

Over dinner Sebego wasted no time in informing his guests that their arrival had come at a fortuitous time as he insisted that they join him on his expedition to liberate the country of the Makololo: “You have accepted of and given presents to us & we look upon you as our friends. If you are then what you pretend to be you will bahis siteleri join us against the common enemy of mankind”.

This was followed over the course of the evening and next day by a further lobbying on the Kgosi’s part, in which he combined pleasantries with firmness: “You are now in my dominions and illegal bahis consequently under my orders. Every online bahis respect shall be shown you and you shall be treated as great Captains, as you certainly are, but it is my pleasure that you join us to eradicate from the face of the earth the plunderers of this and all other kingdoms güvenilir bahis siteleri before you can again return to your own country.”

There were additional inducements: “Sibigho now presented us with an elephant’s tooth of at least 90 lbs. weight & in return we gave him some of our best beads & trinkets. We could scarcely think that all this kindness was from disinterested motives, as we soon found it was but a preamble to the Mantatee attack.”

Sebego’s army, initially consisting of some 3,000 men, who included Bakgatla bagaMmanaana as well as Bangwaketse, finally set off from Selokolela on the 25th of August, 1826. Bain observed: “We could not help canlı bahis siteleri admiring the good order and discipline which prevailed among the people

& the alacrity with which the Chief’s orders were executed.”

He went on to further describe the Bangwaketse warriors in some detail:

“Their dress consisted of a panther’s [leopard/nkwe] hide thrown carelessly over their shoulders; a lynx’s [thwane] skin suspended round their neck and cut in oval form, covered the lower part of the body. A white tuft of goat’s hair made in the shape of the sun and a plume of ostrich feathers crowned their head which, from the way they were covered with sebilo and fat, a good deal resembled a steel helmet when exposed to the rays of the sun.

“Each had a shield of white ox-hide, generally with a black or brown spot in the middle, to which were fastened three to six assegais. It is canlı bahis suspended from the Chacka or Battleaxe which they carry on their left shoulders and dangles at their backs, the shafts of the assegais being upwards and the blades fixed in the pocket of the bottom of the shield.”
Bain’s description of the battle dress and armaments of Sebego’s troops is consistent with other early 19th century accounts and illustrations of local Batswana. Contrary to Bantu Education mythology, short stabbing spears (diputlela/segai), as well as long throwing spears (marumo), were used by Batswana long before their association with Shaka Zulu.

Setswana throwing spears were iddaa siteleri generally 1.8 metres long but quite light, with observers reporting that skilful warriors were able to hit targets at 60 metres or more. The battle axe or tshaka, knobkerrie, and long knife generally completed one’s armament.

Local shields of the era were generally of oval shape. In contrast to the mostly white ox hide shields of the Bangwaketse, Bakwena at the time preferred grey buffalo (nare) skin, Batawana shields were of often of black and white ox hide, while Bangwato mephato preferred the hides of giraffe as well as buffalo.

Notwithstanding its current reserved status as a manifestation of royalty, in the past leopard skin cloaks could be worn by bahis senior men as well as the Kgosi, often with long aprons, covering the chest and loins (in addition to a leather (lebante) made from karosses of other spotted animals. Legs could be adorned with copper wire bangles and beads, while their feet were protected by sandals.

Distinctive headdress, often incorporating ostrich feathers were used to distinguish both between different ranks and merafe, with white feathers often reserved for those of higher rank. Around their necks the men invariably suspended their charms (dipheko) and medicines (ditlhare).

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