A 50 year snap shot � maobo and masaka

Heritage - the new leobo in Kanye
Heritage - the new leobo in Kanye

The design of kgotla maobo is not, it seems, something that has attracted particular attention. We lack any kind of record about them from the past and even as they were at the time of Independence.

We have no idea therefore about the variation of design and choice of materials that may then have used. Curiously perhaps, we appear to be not much better off today. A Schapera photo does help us to know that the all wood leobo in Mochudi remained unchanged from at least the mid-1930s until the mid-1970s when it was realised, quite by chance, that the wood had rotted and was now unsafe.  It was pulled down and a replacement quickly put in its place.  

It was my impression then that it was this change which helped to trigger similar changes in all the major traditional settlements although the new found availability of ready cash must have been an even more important factor. Noone, however, likes to be left behind and within a short time, Mochudi’s modest new leobo was left far behind as new, larger, more costly, more prestigious maobo came into being in, not least, Molepolole, Serowe, Tlokweng. Ramotswa, Moshupa, and Kanye even, most wonderfully, in Old Naledi. It seems to have been generally agreed at each place that a treated thatch roof with timber supports represents the most suitable model. Sadly, however, there have been problems.

Editor's Comment
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