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The 'first' people of Dithejwane to share their history

Dithubaruba Symposium, a build-up event towards Dithubaruba Cultural festival will be held for the third year in a row at University Of Botswana on August 23 under the theme ‘sago la moeng’.

Event organiser, Petleke Tlamelo Letlole told Arts & Culture that the event will start at 2pm because they want to target historians, academics and the other tribes at large.

He said the theme ‘sago la moeng’ means what a person finds in a new place. “We are trying to reflect the understanding of people who were found at Dithejwane when Kgosi Sechele and his people retreated after the battle of Dimawe in August 30, 1852,” he said.

He said at the time, people displaced each other hence the recognition that Bakwena found other tribes already living at Dithejwane (Dithubaruba). He said Baphaleng, Bakgwapheng and other Bakgalagadi tribes were already there.  Letlole said at the symposium they would give the tribes who were found there an opportunity to share their experience and oral history passed down from generation to generation.

“They will reflect on how they migrated from Dithejwane to the places they are currently settled at,” he explained.  Letlole added that in 2016 they talked about how Kgosi Sechele used the Dithubaruba as a nation-building model. “Last year, we were focused on the buffer zones that were created by Kgosi Sechele after defeating the Boers,” he said. He said they even had reps from the tribes that were used as buffer zones.

“This time we want to appreciate the tribes who paved way for Bakwena,” he said.  Boometswe Mokgothu will represent Babolongwe, Abel Mabuse for Bakalanga and Dr Michael

Sento will be there for Bakwapheng. Letlole said they have already engaged the national museum to reveal more about the archaeological objects found at Ntsweng.  Letlole said all those issues about who found who would be discussed at the symposium.  “We want people to know about their interactions and how others ended up leaving.

Dithejwane was a place hit with waterborne diseases which affected people and livestock, some relocated to the present day Letlhakeng,” he revealed. He said Bakwena would explain this further with corroboration from other tribes. Letlole said history does not recognise Kgosi Sechele’s contribution to the development of modern day Botswana.

He said therefore they want to uncover this silent history and show how tribes relate. “This symposium will explain our social cohesion as Setswana tribes in an inclusive session. Going forward, we want to continue and target schools children, historians and others scholars and influence publication of books,” he highlighted.

He said they want the content discussed at the symposium to reach the masses in the nation. Letlole was also quick to emphasise that the symposium is not all about Bakwena because it was at Dithejwane where Sechele grouped Batswana tribes and defeated the Boer army. 

“Dithubaruba was also the central trade of Botswana and it therefore played part in the development of the country.”

Letlole concluded that they are trying to appreciate part of history and therefore the symposium will explain everything.




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