Basubiya and Batawana in Chobe fight over Land

A conflict between Batawana residing at Kachikau in the Chobe and Basubiya of Kavimba has erupted over the access to the Kavimba Historical sites.

The crux of the issue is over acess to Batawana Royal Cemetery which houses the burial site of Kgosi Sekgoma Letsholathebe I and his son David.

Sekgoma Letsholathebe and his followers settled in Kachikau following a conflict in the Batawana tribe. The conflict over who was to become the leader resulted in the formation of a group called Ba Sekgoma who followed Sekgoma Letsholathebe to Chobe while the other group remained in Ngamiland under Tawana Mathiba. He was buried in Kavimba while his son David who was killed by a lion was later buried next to his father’s grave.

Recently the Basubiya through their Kgosi Moffat Maiba Sinvula managed to preside over the district commissioner and chobe tribal authorities to block Kachikau Batawana from accessing  Sekgoma Letsholathebe I and his son’s graves complaining that the Batawana Kgosi at Kachikau, Mmualefhe Mmualefhe had disrespected them. In a telephone interview  Kgosi Sinvula confirmed the issue saying his people complained to the authorities as Batawana Kgosi, Mmualefhe had disrespected him and his people.


He said Mmualefhe had a tendency of not consulting him whenever he visited the historical site. Sinvula said when he approached Mmualefhe he  told him off. Sinvula said Mmualefhe bragged that Kavimba village sits on his forefathers  land and therefore he does not have to seek authority to visit the village, let alone the burial site of his ancestors. Sinvula  added that what Mmualefhe did was disrespectful to him saying even the past Batawana chiefs had always consulted him when they visited the burial site. ‘My subjects were very concerned especially his claims that we are on his father’s land they therefore resolved that he must be called to account for those statements. He said the District commissioner headed their plea.

Meanwhile a letter signed by Chobe District Commissioner Dr Temba Mmusi instructs the Batawana Kgosi Mmualefhe Mmualefhe and his people to indefinitely stop any tour of the historical sites due to a complaint raised by the Basubiya.’  Please be advised to stop tour of Kavimba historical sites due to a complaint raised by Veekuhane people (Basubiya)’ read part of the letter.

The suspension of the visits according to the letter is to make time for a hearing to be conducted. The meeting was supposed to be held on April 7 but Mmualefhe refused to attend saying he had been given short notice and still had to consult with other Batawana tribesmen in Maun.

Efforts to contact Mmualefhe for a comment were futile at the time of going to press. However in a letter to  the district commissioner the Batawana complains that stopping him and his subjects from visiting the Batawana Royal cemetery will be violating their human rights.

In the letter Mmualefhe wrote that the visiting of the cemetery by the Batawana has been done by the previous generations without any hindrance and cannot be stopped now.’ I Kgosi Mmualefhe I am mandated to promote and exercise the culture of my community as per the National Policy on culture’

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