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Africans fought for land ownership in the boer war

Messenger Land expropriation, a hot topic in South Africa, has taken a new twist. Until now, the Natives Land Act of 1913 was considered the cutoff point.

I regret to say that my fellow historians and I are unlikely to provide much clarity when policymakers must come up with reliable formulas regarding land claims. The pressure is on to redress injustices of the past, rightly so.

The public discussion gaining in volume, however, has tended to oversimplify the question of who is entitled to claim. And that may create legal problems in future.

  1. And that may create legal problems in future. The public discussion gaining in volume, however, has tended to oversimplify the question of who is entitled to claim.
  2. Each contained an assortment of old timers, newcomers and groups of various ethnic identities or totems. Unfortunately, it is likely to be one of the few exceptions.
  3. What the Tswana at that time remembered about their ancestors should perhaps be kept in mind when considering their past use of land.

In practice, expropriation will not be a matter of deciding which land was seized in the past, but one of deciding which descendants of the dispossessed are entitled to it. The example of Tswana communities of South Africa prior to 1800 presents some of the difficult questions that could arise when trying to right old wrongs.

Over the past 35 years I have studied the history of the Setswana-speaking people before and after white Dutch and English speaking people dispossessed them of land in the area roughly equivalent to the present Limpopo and North West provinces.

  1. Among them was Kgosi Kgamanyane Pilane of the Kgatla Kgafela, whose own leboko boasts of his assistance to and duplicity while under the maburu Boers , whom, incidentally, he despised.
  2. When weighing the available evidence about the pre-colonial Tswana, the major question is.
  3. My research has taken me into early records found in government and missionary archives in Gaborone, Mochudi, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Harare and London. Certain areas especially those with reliable water like Lindleyspoort were occupied by different merafe followers of a kgosi king over the space of a century or so.
  4. Each contained an assortment of old timers, newcomers and groups of various ethnic identities or totems.
  5. Grazing and soils had played out, or water sources had dwindled, perhaps towns had turned foul no drop toilets in those days. The example of Tswana communities of South Africa prior to 1800 presents some of the difficult questions that could arise when trying to right old wrongs.

My research has taken me into early records found in government and missionary archives in Gaborone, Mochudi, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Harare and London.

Mobility and social fluidity I have come to regard the richest sources of early Tswana history to be found in oral histories and maboko self-praises. In particular they were recited by Tswana historians and written down between 1925 and 1968, both in South Africa and in Botswana then the Bechuanaland Protectorate The bulk of these were recorded and translated by anthropologist Isaac Schaperaethnographer Paul-Lenert Breutz and Vivien Ellenbergera Bechuanaland administrator with an interest in Lete and Tlokwa history.

What the Tswana at that time remembered about their ancestors should perhaps be kept in mind when considering their past use of land. Most Tswana communities were mobile. With the exception of the Fokeng and the Mmatau Kwena, blessed with rich soils and abundant water, they shifted their capitals fairly regularly after a decade or so.

Grazing and soils had played out, or water sources had dwindled, perhaps towns had turned foul no drop toilets in those days. Movement from place to place varied from short to longer distances. Certain areas especially those with reliable water like Lindleyspoort were occupied by different merafe followers of a kgosi king over the space of a century or so. Historians and archaeologists have linked some of their stonewall settlements to given groups. Yet, though the landscape occupied by early Batswana is strewn with stonewalling, connecting each of them firmly to historical merafe will be difficult.

We should also keep in mind that the make-up of Tswana communities changed over time.

  • That means that no particular family or group today can be linked exclusively to a particular piece of land;
  • These private farms became known as the Saulspoort Location.

No Tswana morafe singular of merafe was homogeneous at any point. Each contained an assortment of old timers, newcomers and groups of various ethnic identities or totems.

Some established new wards in a settlement dikgoro, dikgotlaothers abandoned them. Merafe that were independent at one point could at another become the subjects of an unrelated kgosi. A morafe might shed members who relocated to adopted new homes.

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In sum, Tswana communities changed their composition over time and shifted their locations, making it difficult if not impossible today to link a community or its constituent families to a particular piece of land. That means that no particular family or group today can be linked exclusively to a particular piece of land.

Colonial intruders and dispossession Even before disruptive intruders appeared, Tswana merafe were unsettled and jostling for relative power, for reasons not fully understood. Regional powers such as the Hurutshe were losing their grip and breaking up.

Others such as the upstart Ngwaketse were expanding, absorbing others, borrowing cattle on the long term with no interest payable, and creating havoc.

  • Movement from place to place varied from short to longer distances;
  • The pressure is on to redress injustices of the past, rightly so;
  • It well may be that archaeologists can assist some present descendants to identify their original, precolonial territories;
  • Until now, the Natives Land Act of 1913 was considered the cutoff point;
  • And that may create legal problems in future;
  • Whether this rocky hilltop site, if restored, can be rendered productive other than as a tourist destination is open to question.

Though some Tswana collaborated with these Transvaal Boers as a way of accumulating wealth, they quickly learned that it meant accepting terms dictated by the Boer authorities. National Heritage Monument, Pretoria Some Tswana followed their leaders to resettle elsewhere Bechuanaland, just across the Transvaal border, was a popular destination. Among them was Kgosi Kgamanyane Pilane of the Kgatla Kgafela, whose own leboko boasts of his assistance to and duplicity while under the maburu Boerswhom, incidentally, he despised.

Before he too left with most of his followers for Bechuanaland, his people were crowded inside the boundaries of the farm Saulspoort also known as Moruleng.

These private farms became known as the Saulspoort Location. It well may be that archaeologists can assist some present descendants to identify their original, precolonial territories.

One is the old Hurutshe town of Kaditshwene in Enselberg, established by ancestors of the residents in the nearby villages of Mokola and Lekubu Braklaagte. Whether this rocky hilltop site, if restored, can be rendered productive other than as a tourist destination is open to question. Unfortunately, it is likely to be one of the few exceptions.

  • When weighing the available evidence about the pre-colonial Tswana, the major question is;
  • Whether this rocky hilltop site, if restored, can be rendered productive other than as a tourist destination is open to question.

When weighing the available evidence about the pre-colonial Tswana, the major question is: