Sir Seretse Khama’s vision of the development of Botswana: 'A people without a past is a people without a soul' PT2

Critical thinking: Magang
Critical thinking: Magang

Popular history must be righted Returning to classical history, is whatever is taught in the halls of academia forcefully punctuated or underlined? To what extent are efforts made to see to it that certain misconceptions or seeming ambiguities do not hold or are clarified? For example, why do most Batswana continue to cling to the erroneous position that The Three Dikgosi went to Britain to ask for British protection when the fact of the matter was that the protectorate – or a profaketorate as I call it – had been imposed on us, suddenly and unheralded, by the British government a decade earlier in 1885 and that the object of The Three Dikgosi’s mission was to register their revulsion at the planned handover of our country to Cecil John Rhodes? Why does the name Khama III straightaway ring a bell to practically every Motswana when that of Sechele, the earliest and most impactful defender of Tswana sovereignty at a time when both the Boers and Anglo-Saxons were intent at strong-arming us into their sphere of influence, rarely strikes a chord? Why does almost every youngster who has done history keep asserting that Khama III was instrumental in ‘protecting us from the Boers’ when it was Sechele who did that at a time when Khama III was a mere teenager?

Popular history must be righted

Returning to classical history, is whatever is taught in the halls of academia forcefully punctuated or underlined? To what extent are efforts made to see to it that certain misconceptions or seeming ambiguities do not hold or are clarified? For example, why do most Batswana continue to cling to the erroneous position that The Three Dikgosi went to Britain to ask for British protection when the fact of the matter was that the protectorate – or a profaketorate as I call it – had been imposed on us, suddenly and unheralded, by the British government a decade earlier in 1885 and that the object of The Three Dikgosi’s mission was to register their revulsion at the planned handover of our country to Cecil John Rhodes? Why does the name Khama III straightaway ring a bell to practically every Motswana when that of Sechele, the earliest and most impactful defender of Tswana sovereignty at a time when both the Boers and Anglo-Saxons were intent at strong-arming us into their sphere of influence, rarely strikes a chord? Why does almost every youngster who has done history keep asserting that Khama III was instrumental in ‘protecting us from the Boers’ when it was Sechele who did that at a time when Khama III was a mere teenager?

It would also be remiss of me not to underscore the fact that the foundations of Botswana were laid not only by indigenous Batswana but also by people of a paler hue. This they did either directly or indirectly, morally or institutionally.


Dr David Livingstone, for instance, helped Sechele secure arms which in no small measure assisted in his routing of the Boers. When The Three DiKgosi went to Britain to take a strong line with Westminster, they were escorted by the missionary Charles Willoughby, who was many things to them – mentor, interpreter, and advisor.

The administrator-cum-historian of colonial times, Anthony Sillery, and who ipso facto had substantial political sway wholeheartedly supported the independence of Botswana when he was a citizen of the Crown. Peter Fawcus, another level-headed colonial officer who was entirely without bigotry, was a champion of our nationhood, a rallying point in the Legislative Council, which paved the way to independence, and a maestro participant in the formulation of the Botswana Constitution.

He jealously guarded Seretse’s confidence in him that Botswana had stumbled upon an Aladdin’s cave of gem-quality diamonds. If Fawcus had betrayed this trust and whispered it to Alec Douglas-Home at No. 10 Downing Street, believe you me Botswana would in all probability still be Bechuanaland today!

In the final of his two-part series, DAVID MAGANG* urges the correction of popular but incorrect historical narratives, more investigation into the origins of Batswana and greater support to the development of a body of knowledge about their society. He counts the cost of the Western perversion of local culture and issues a plea for all hands on deck in the pursuit of making Botswana a “truly united and proud nation”.

Editor's Comment
Seamless Business Environment Needed Post-COVID

The country was also classified as the least corrupt in the world with strong anti-graft checks and balances. With these assurances, investors were guaranteed safety on their investments and returns. That is no longer the case. Several countries like Namibia, South Africa and Mauritius have done well over the years and overtaken Botswana as attractive places to do business.Therefore, when countries that Botswana is competing with for a piece of...

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