Sechele I

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The odd thing about it is that there has never been any lack of information about Sechele – starting with Sillery’s 1954 biography - or indeed about his historical primacy.

And then after Sillery came the modern researchers, not least Ramsay who, over the years, has not only done his best to inform us about this very remarkable man but was responsible for putting a stop to the government’s move to mine the Dimawe battle site with the minister concerned happy to accept a granite tabletop as a gift from the company involved. To an extent, this embarrassing occurrence accurately reflected the general apathy about the country’s history which has been such a strange feature of the last 50 years. The elevation of the three Dikgosi in Gaborone’s CBD was very much a money-no-object exception to this norm. If Sechele today is to achieve a similar breakthrough the key factors that did the trick then must once again be brought into play. But what were they and why was the government then able to find the huge chunk of cash that it couldn’t provide either earlier or later?  It couldn’t have been pressure from any of the districts. Nor could it have been pressure from the National Museum.   I honour Alec Campbell for so much, not least for establishing the National Museum. In retrospect, however, it can only seem extraordinary, even bizarre that he, with Kgosi Bathoen, should have decided that the country’s environment rather than its history should be its priority theme. As a result, the path to independence was pushed to one side, as were the country’s key historical figures, so that even now, there are superb dioramas of wildlife but zero information about any of the great historical figures. For the last nearly 50 years the National Museum has not only moved up a side turning but has been unable or unwilling to drag itself back into the historical main stream. Its involvement with the Okavango World Heritage application was therefore more logical than the role it was given in pulling off the Dikgosi project.

It is too easy to put all the blame on the museum because the ultimate responsibility has to rest with the succession of ministers since Boipuso none of whom found had the interest or commitment to insist that the museum reverse its priorities and focus on the nation instead of the environment. Seemingly too, none of those ministers ever came under pressure from other ministers, or from other priority interests and concerns – such as tourism.

Editor's Comment
A woman’s right to choose: Or is it?

Here in Botswana, we have many single-parent households, mostly female-led, so what does that suggest? That some fathers choose to ditch the responsibility of caring for their children and leave them to the ones who carry them during pregnancy to do the heavy lifting.Of course, in other dynamics, there are instances where the father wants to keep the baby and the would-be mother does not want to, hence the saying ‘whose body is it anyway’.In...

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