The paramount Chief of the Bangwato, who is also the former president, Ian Khama has finally disclosed his preferred heir to the throne of the Bangwato.
According to Kgosi Khama IV (his royal name) currently the next in line in the Bangwato royal hierarchy is his younger brother Tshekedi Khama, who is the Minister of Environment, Wildlife, Tourism, Conservation and Natural Resources.
“The next in line for now is Tshekedi, my brother. Until I get married and have my own children, he is the next in line,” Khama said in an exclusive interview with Mmegi.
Tshekedi and his twin brother, Anthony Khama are the third and last-born children of Seretse and Ruth Khama, and it was never clear who Kgosi Khama IV preferred as heir.
Khama IV, who was installed and draped with a lion’s skin by his father Seretse Khama, does not have his own children and the question of the heir to the Bangwato chief has been subject to speculation for years since his younger brothers were also twins. Khama IV, the first-born son of Seretse Khama, took over from his father who did not want to be both chief and president.
“Tradition allows for the consideration of next in line, which will then be endorsed by the tribe in a democratic manner,” explained Khama IV.
Tshekedi Khama is named after Seretse Khama’s uncle
Today Ian Khama wears Sekgoma II’s ring. This is the ring that has been fuelling rumours that Khama might have married in secret.
Khama has finally explained that the ring is an heirloom that belonged to his grandfather (Sekgoma Khama). He said the ring was engraved with initials ‘SK’ and passed to Seretse Khama and therefore down to him. He (Khama IV) will pass it on to the next in line.
Tshekedi Khama (senior), who was Khama III’s favourite son - according to many historians - was appointed regent until his banishment from GaMmangwato after Seretse Khama’s marriage debacle that divided the tribe.
So when Ian Khama’s decades long jokes about marriage could amount to nothing, he will have to pass the ring on to his brother named after one of the Bangwato strongmen.
If Bogosi passes to Tshekedi, it would mean that his first-born son, Kaedi Sekgoma Khama would be the new heir apparent. Kaedi is, according to Khama IV’s hierarchy explanation, the third in line.