“Give us your trousers!”: the role of women in the Serowe Kgotla riot in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, June 1952

by Neil Parsons

 Sunday June 1st, 1952, was the day that people at Serowe lost their cool. Mass demonstrations in the Kgotla (central forum) of the Bangwato turned into a riot, and three policemen were killed. Women took a leading part, and the riot was almost immediately blamed in good measure on female hysteria by the British authorities. This article argues that women gave voice specifically to protest against the duplicity of British governments in deposing and exiling the young Chief Seretse Khama because of his marriage to the woman he loved, and more generally to a broad range of discontent against the local patriarchy represented by former Regent Tshekedi Khama. 


If it also means that the wishes of the Bamangwato, clearly expressed as they have been, are to be disregarded, who, in any case, are the Bamangwato to have wishes? Let them know their place (Johannesburg Rand Daily Mail editorial, 8 December 1951)

 The Serowe Kgotla riot of June 1952 has since been almost forgotten in Botswana’s history, and has been left largely unexplained because it does seem to fit into any larger pattern of violence. Since the 1880's the primary agents of violence in Botswana have been external, with military incursions across the borders emanating from South Africa and Southern Rhodesia in 1900, 1976-79, and 1985-88. Internal unrest has been limited to outbursts that have soon dissipated themselves. Such deaths as did occur were the indirect consequences of unrest, notably trauma-induced miscarriages and fatalities among detainees held in ‘tribal’ regimental and police or army custody.[i]

The only really violent riot in Botswana’s modern history, resulting in death among the forces of law and order, was the Serowe Kgotla riot of Sunday June 1st, 1952. The riot in the Kgotla, the public forum in the centre of Serowe, was the climax of ten days of unrest. The riot resulted in the deaths of three African policemen, two of them brought in for riot duty from the sister British protectorate of Basutoland. No rioters were killed. After breaking into murderous fury, people seem to have been bewildered and silenced by the realization of their own excess. As the JohannesburgStar correspondent remarked four days after the riot: ‘the fight now seems to have been knocked out of the Bamangwato’.[ii]

 Official explanations of the riot began almost immediately. British cabinet ministers were briefed by W.A.W. Clark of the Commonwealth Relations Office in London:

The viciousness of the attack can be ascribed to drink and the part played by women. (W.A.W. Clark, draft minute to British cabinet, 7 June 1952) 

Clark's opinion was ill-considered and insufficient but it cannot be entirely dismissed, because it does acknowledge that the riot, was the latest link in a chain of events that dates back to an event in London almost four years earlier.[iii]The patience of the crowd in Serowe had been stretched over years of discontent with the actions and inactions of successive Labour and Conservative governments in Britain, until that frustration had boiled into fury.

Bangwato crisis following Seretse Khama's marriage

The tale has often been told of the romance and political intrigue that followed the marriage of Seretse Khama, heir to the Bangwato (Bamangwato) chieftainship, to an English woman in London in September 1948. Seretse was flown back home to explain himself in the Serowe Kgotla before his uncles, led by the Regent Tshekedi Khama. Altogether a remarkable man, Tshekedi Khama was known internationally as an intelligent African leader with progressive ideas of social development, who had begun in conflict with the British colonial authorities but had been won round into enthusiastic collaboration during the Second World War.[iv] 

Seretse Khama was duly admonished by the uncles for his supposed breach of traditional law, and was required to return some months later to face a full Kgotla assembly of his people that would discuss his succession to the chieftainship (bogosi) of the Bangwato people. Already at this point, in November 1948, by stressing that all the male elders at Serowe agreed with him, Tshekedi appears to have realized that Seretse was picking up sympathy from other people. This was confirmed in June 1949 when Seretse returned to face four thousand men drawn from every quarter of the very large Bangwato reserve. Tshekedi was supported by the forty most powerful elders among the Bangwato—older royal 'uncles' and sub-chiefs and headmen. But Seretse was supported by younger men and by men from the 'allied clans' or subordinate ethnicities of the reserve, who triumphantly proclaimed him as their rightful Kgosi (chief).

Tshekedi resigned from the regency in disgust at such 'mob rule', and was believed to be waiting for the colonial authorities to impose him as full chief in place of Seretse. While Seretse was the legal Kgosiin his people's eyes, the British authorities made every excuse not to recognize him as such. (A black chief with a white wife was seen as a fundamental threat to exclusive white settler rule in neighbouring South Africa and Rhodesia.)[v]

In July 1949, Ruth Khama arrived in Serowe from England to join her husband. She was greeted in the Serowe Kgotla by the women and children as well as the men of the Bangwato. Led by Relathanye M. Ikitseng, the wife of the local regional sub-chief Manyaphiri at Mahalapye, fifty-eight women then petitioned the Bechuanaland Protectorate government deploring the known hostility of South Africa and Rhodesia and adding, after admitting ‘slight fear of correct approach’ towards Seretse's European wife:  

we have accepted Mrs Seretse as our Chieftainess, and this we showed when we gathered in the Chief's Kgotla with our school children. May we request that Mrs Seretse be handed over to us: we will teach her…we are women, and we also put forward our request as such because a Chief is for us all and not for men only who speak in Kgotla; Seretse Khama is our only Chief.[vi]

Some women were now taking an active role in the Serowe Kgotla at the heart of Bangwato politics. Tshekedi saw women as the focus of resistance to his return to power, and furthermore concluded—not without reason—that Ruth was his main enemy. Tshekedi's bitterness, and the habit of his supporters of ostentatiously driving around in blood-red (kgapamadi) trucks, bristling with rifles, led to popular fears of brigandage and moral panic in 1949. In the words of a Serowe police report in August 1949:

It would appear that quite a number of people are allowing their imaginations to run riot, and are firmly convinced that when out walking in the village at night that others are following with the intention of committing murder, and that the people who are following them must be the supporters of Tshekedi.[vii]

During October 1950 there was a three-day 'war' between women at Mahalapye. Relathanye M. Ikitseng led a group of pro-Seretse women in an attack on the women of Tshekedi’s ba-kgapamadicamped at Mahalapye. This was ostensibly to prevent them from brewing and drinking sorghum-beer—which implies that they were also out of the control of Tshekedi, a campaigning teetolaler.[viii]

The Labour government's response

In November-December 1949 the Labour Party government in Britain tried and failed to depose Seretse Khama from bogosiby a judicial enquiry, the report of which was suppressed for fifty years. The enquiry had concluded with the unacceptable truth that the only reason to depose Seretse was the objections of white settler governments elsewhere. The British government eventually resorted to a trick: inviting Seretse to London for talks in February 1950, and then deposing him. He was only allowed back home in March-August to collect his wife and baby (born in May) and settle his affairs, before beginning exile overseas. Meanwhile, Tshekedi and his followers began to move out of Serowe, via the railway township of Mahalapye, and eventually relocated themselves a few kilometres outside the Bamangwato reserve.

Between March and September 1950 there was a general Bangwato boycott of all tribal administration—including collection of taxes and administration of justice. Then, on 16 December 1950, ex-Company Sergeant-Major Keaboka Kgamane, one of Seretse's younger uncles, was elected president of the Bangwato tribal council. Keaboka's 'new model' tribal administration was expanded to include leaders of ‘allied clans’ such as Bakalanga who regarded themselves as having been maltreated under Tshekedi. Keaboka saw himself as leading a provisional government awaiting the colonial recognition of Seretse as chief. Others saw him and his notables as ‘frustrated feudalists’ making use of new opportunities to enrich themselves.[ix]

 Women began to attend Kgotla meetings more or less regularly during the presidency of Keaboka, taking their places on one side, as in church. The Serowe assembly that greeted Britain's Commonwealth Relations minister, Patrick Gordon-Walker, in February 1951, was said to be 'the first gathering at the Kgotla ground where women attended in strength and gave the moduduetsa, the trilling fire-bell greeting—Little children sat at their mothers’ feet and fiddled with toys made from cigarette-tin lids and packing-case wire’. 

The ‘great fear’ of brigandage by Tshekedi’sba-kgapamadimay help to explain the outburst of violent popular protest, in July 1951, against small numbers of Tshekedi’s supporters who came to collect their personal possessions at Serowe and Mahalapye. The British responded by arresting the youthful leaders of Seretse’s Malekantwa age-regiment as the ‘agitators’, notably Seretse’s cousin and greatest friend Lenyeletse—rather than tackling the ‘Keaboka crowd’ in Serowe, or the women who had led the demonstrations in Mahalapye.[x]

 During the July 1951 disturbances, ‘the women took over the running from the men’. In the words of a London Daily Expressjournalist: ‘Their screaming, wide-eyed participation in the disorders was the index of the tribe's desperate misery over the exile of Seretse’. The women of Mahalapye, led by Relathanye M. Ikitseng, forced Tshekedi's local supporters to shelter in the police camp. Relathanye's husband Manyaphiri the Mahalapye regional sub-chief, held a meeting with men in the local kgotla, which decided to let Tshekedi’s people return to their homes, but they were overruled by the women—who first used the taunt against their pusillanimous menfolk (if not against patriarchy as a whole) that was to be heard again in the June 1952 Serowe Kgotla riot, "Give us your trousers!" 

Tshekedi complained to the Labour government in London that 'mob rule' was prevailing. In response, three ‘observers’—a liberal professor, a trade unionist, and a conservative M.P.—were sent out from Britain to assess Bangwato public opinion in 1951. They arrived in August 1951 and found that not only was the leadership at Serowe, led by Keaboka, undoubtedly pro-Seretse—but also that the majority of people and ‘allied clans’ in outlying areas were even more so, because they were so implacably anti-Tshekedi. An assembly of 1,200 to 1,500 women was held in the Serowe Kgotla, at the women's own request, to present their views. The observers were taken aback by the strength of the women's support for Seretse and vituperation against Tshekedi—though the historian among them, Prof. W.M. Macmillan, was not surprised by their articulateness. Bechuanaland was a ‘renowned’ exception in Africa in having always educated more girls than boys.[xi]

 Mahalapye continued to be effectively ruled by women during the Keaboka presidency. The colonial authorities were appalled when 'women, at the head of whom was the wife of Manyaphiri…sentenced a woman to receive corporal punishment in public and administered that punishment.' While some women resorted to the traditional ‘feminine’ tactics of wailing and ‘rending their garments’ to show their grief during political demonstrations, others were quite prepared to resort to the ‘masculine’ tactics of physical violence to show their disapproval.[xii]

The Conservative government's initiative

The Labour government was replaced by a Conservative one in Britain in October 1951. The Conservatives accepted the argument of the Commonwealth Relations Office for decisive action to settle Bangwato affairs once and for all, by exiling Seretse Khama overseas permanently. Following from the premise that Seretse's return home would ‘enflame...white South African opinion’, followed by ‘overt and completely crippling sanctions’ by South Africa on the British protectorates of Basutoland and Swaziland as well as on Bechuanaland, the responsible minister, Lord Ismay, was much taken with the necessity for sacrificing one good man—namely Seretse Khama—for ‘the future happiness and well-being of 1,000,000 Africans’. Ismay rode roughshod over the advice of Britain's high commissioner in Pretoria, who warned of ‘serious disorder’ in Bechuanaland, by agreeing to allow Tshekedi's return home from internal exile.[xiii] 

Rumour of these impending changes inevitably leaked out. A deceptively simple counter-scheme was hatched with paramount chief Sobhuza II of Swaziland by Keaboka, Manyaphiri, and Walter Pela of the Witwatersrand Bamangwato Association. First, persuade Seretse to divorce his white wife, thus overcoming the objection of the South African government to him. Second, the British government would restore the wifeless Seretse to Bangwato chieftainship. Keaboka and others prepared to fly off to London on this hare-brained quest.  

The Conservative government had already decided that the only way to properly appease White South Africa was to exile Seretse for life. It preempted the arrival of the ‘Keaboka crowd’—in order to grasp the initiative from the Bangwato ‘before they have time to recover’. On 18th March 18th, 1952, Lord Salisbury, Ismay's successor, wrote to prime minister Churchill: ‘I am in favour of grasping the nettle now.’[xiv]Two weeks before the Keaboka delegation was due to fly from Johannesburg to London, Seretse Khama's permanent banishment was promulgated by an Order-in-Council of 23 March 1952, and was explained in the British parliament on March 27th.[xv]

The Bangwato delegation arrived at London's Heathrow airport on April 7th, 1952. Keaboka Kgamane and Peto Sekgoma, as royal uncles, led five representatives of 'allied clans' (Kobe Baitswe of Batswapong, Mtutlwatsi Mpotokwane of Bakhurutshe, Mongwaketse Mathangwane of Bakalanga, and Gaothobogwe Leposo from Mmadinare). Walter Pela arrived later. The Commonwealth Relations Office was unfriendly and spared little time for them. Seretse Khama himself, living in exile south of London, was alienated by their insensitivity in trying to make him cast off the great love of his life. After attending a number of public meetings organized by the Seretse Khama Campaign Committee, nominally the supporters of Seretse but acting independently from him, Keaboka’s delegation returned home empty-handed to Serowe in May 1952.

The Conservative cabinet had decided to go all out to manipulate the accession of Tshekedi’s nominee, Rasebolai Kgamane, first as Native Authority and then as full chief if he was acclaimed by the majority of an assembly in the central Kgotla. The ‘Keaboka crowd’ had to be squashed once and for all.[xvi]When the returning delegates tried to report back to the Serowe Kgotla, on their abortive mission to London, they were refused permission by the new district commissioner at Serowe, a ‘harsh, impetuous man’ who ironically bore the Cornish surname of Batho—spelt the same as the word for 'people' in Setswana, closely related to Bothothe Setswana equivalent of Ubuntu meaning 'humanity'.

 The events of Thursday May 21st to Sunday June 1st, 1952[xvii]

On Thursday 21st May, district commissioner Gordon Batho announced to the Serowe Kgotla the resignation of Keaboka Kgamane as ‘president’ of the Bangwato. The next morning, the B.B.C. overseas service carried news of a British order-in-council on the ‘Bamangwato Succession’, which would impose Rasebolai Kgamane as Native Authority’. The radio announcement was followed by protest meetings in the ward kgotlas of the town, where people voiced their fears that the government was trying to re-impose, through Rasebolai, the rule of the much feared Tshekedi. 

On Sunday 24th May, 1952, there was disorder in the national church building at Serowe, when the mainly female congregation expelled a leading supporter of Tshekedi from the service. On the Monday, in his capacity as Acting Native Authority, Gordon Batho addressed a large Kgotla assembly. The result was a shambles. Nearly the whole assembly rose and turned their backs on the speaker's rostrum. When opening prayers were called, two opposing preachers stood back to back—one facing the assembly and the other the district commissioner, chanting contrary prayers. Batho tried to address the Kgotla amidst the uproar: his interpreter eventually throwing down the loud-hailer in disgust. At this point a large group of women marched into the Kgotla, throwing taunts and insults at their white chief standing helplessly on the platform.

A further Kgotla meeting, on the Tuesday morning, expressed bitter disappointment at the failure of the delegation to London. Now that their ‘president’ and provisional council had been deposed, the assembly resolved to revert to their March-September 1950 boycott of all tribal administration so long as it remained under direct colonial control. These resolutions were incorporated in a memorandum delivered that afternoon to the colonial district administration and signed ‘Your obedient servants’ by 68 leading Bangwato. 

The gauntlet had been thrown down, and the response came swiftly. On Saturday 31st May, D.C. Batho travelled round the town in a loud-speaker van, announcing a ban on all meetings in kgotlas, a ban on ammunition permits for hunting, and—most immediate of all—a ban on all drinking of beer. Police then marched into the Serowe Kgotla and arrested Keaboka’s deputy Peto Sekgoma and other community leaders, who were however released the next morning. 

Police reinforcements were brought by train across South Africa from the British protectorates of Basutoland and Swaziland. The Basuto Mounted Police (B.M.P.) detachment arrived in Serowe at 4:00 a.m. on the morning of Sunday 1st June, 1952. While a small number of Bangwato walked to communion service at the national church on the other side of town, a great crowd assembled in the Kgotla for hymns and prayers of their own. 

There were two confrontations between the police and the crowd in the Serowe Kgotla on that Sunday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. First, there was a minor clash with demonstrators who refused to clear the Kgotla after the morning service. A woman leader was beaten while assaulting a white policeman from Swaziland, and a man was permanently blinded by smoke from a tear-gas canister. There were many veterans at Serowe of the British Army’s African Pioneer Corps, whose smoke-making had been invaluable in protecting shipping from German air-raids in North Africa in 1942-43.[xviii]Veterans taught other demonstrators to run away from the wind with water-soaked handkerchiefs pressed to their faces.) 

There was the major confrontation when the demonstrators returned after lunch. Lines of police stood in the Kgotla in full riot gear, next to their trucks. The crowd surged forward, with shouting women at the front, throwing sticks and stones at the assistant district officers trying address them with a loud-speaker attached to a vehicle battery. The women were led by a woman 'general' whose name is undisclosed but who was celebrated in later oral tradition urging men onwards with the well-known taunt of “Give us your trousers!”[xix]

Tear-gas was fired into the crowd. Batho was standing down-wind and suffered badly from the tear smoke and drove off in his BPX 66 truck under a hail of sticks and stones. District officer Bruce Rutherford leaped into a police truck to follow BPX 66, causing pandemonium as it was driven straight into the crowd. One Basuto policeman (Corporal Koroto) was killed as he fell or was dragged off the back of BPX 66. He is said to have been crushed under the wheels of the truck following behind. Two other policemen were chased from the melée and were clubbed or stoned to death: Trooper Mutlanyane of the Bechuanaland Protectorate Police in nearby housing, and Sergeant Moeketsi of the Basuto Mounted Police after a chase for maybe a mile through the meandering dirt-tracks of the town. 

Having regained the symbolic centre of the Bangwato state, the riotous assembly soon afterwards dismissed itself. Though a spate of arrests—for incitement to violence, riot, and murder—followed that week, no Bangwato took to the use of any of the numerous firearms available in Serowe. Oral tradition tells of an ancient veteran from the previous century restrained from grabbing his gun.[xx

Meanwhile, the British colonial authorities sensibly decided that no live ammunition would be issued to the riot police at Serowe, who were being strengthened by reinforcements flown in from Southern Rhodesia, Basutoland, and Swaziland. Commentators were soon remarking on the ‘good sense’ onbothsides that had restrained the riot from leading to further civil strife. 

Subsequently 167 people, including forty women, were arrested; and ninety were tried after preliminary hearings. Twelve men, including ‘one apparently blind’, were tried for murder. No one was convicted on that charge. Seven were sentenced to seven years for assault with intent to do gross bodily harm, and five were discharged or acquitted. In September 1952, thirty-three men were acquitted on a charge of public violence and thirty-one men, including Keaboka Kgamane and Peto Sekgoma, were sentenced to three years hard labour. A further eleven men were sentenced to two years. Six women were sentenced to one year in prison.[xxi]

Inflamed by alcohol, and inspired by Liberal principles?

At the end of the cabinet meeting in London on Tuesday 10 June 1952, the Conservative prime minister, Winston Churchill, summed up. He told his colleagues in cabinet: "Indeed a terrible position. An angry mob, armed with staves and stones, inflamed by alcohol, and inspired by Liberal principles!"[xxii].

Statements on the Serowe Kgotla riot were made in the House of Lords and in the House of Commons on 10th June 1952. The riot had all been the work of a minority of agitators—Keaboka, Peto, and others who had just returned from London—playing on widespread drunkenness and the hysteria of women among the mob. Drink and women, retorted the Labour woman M.P. Jennie Lee—were the women drunk? She found the government's explanation of the disorder incredible: 

Many of us were impressed by the members of the delegation to this country. They seemed responsible and, in fact, distinguished men, and therefore it is very hard for us to accept the impression given in the statement that this was just an unrepresentative rabble and that the women taking part were drunk.

Two days later, the Commonwealth Relations Office in London received cabled intelligence from Pretoria: ‘Women were in state of extreme excitement but there is no evidence that this was due to drink.’ No correction was ever made to Parliament. The men who ruled Britain, like the men who ruled Bechuanaland, seemed to find ‘mob rule’ and minority agitation, aggravated by drink and women, to be an adequate explanation for an otherwise inexplicable breakdown of moral fibre in Bangwato society.[xxiii]

A ban on alcohol could have motivated some demonstrators in the Kgotla on Sunday June 1st, 1952. The riot followed within twenty-four hours of the district commissioner's renewed ban on sorghum beer (bojalwa) brewing and drinking. (Hard liquor was always illegal.) That a few men and possibly women were still groggy, or even drunk, would hardly have been surprising if there had been a heavy Saturday night's imbibing—as much the depletion of stocks before police destroyed them, as any snub to colonial authority. But beer-drinking was just as abhorrent to Bangwato leaders Keaboka and Peto as it was to Tshekedi. Temperance had been the touchstone of loyalty to the Bangwato state ever since Khama III's complete ban on the (male) consumption and (female) production of bojalwain 1872-73 (renewed in 1880-95, and again in 1911-23). Tshekedi had sent out sent age-regiments to smash all the clay beer-pots in 1937.[xxiv]But bojalwacame out of the closet with Tshekedi's resignation from the regency in 1949-50.

 Churchill’s suggestion that the Serowe Kgotla rioters were ‘inspired by Liberal principles’ may have been a witty quip against the Liberal Party, which was the most consistent supporter of Seretse Khama in the British parliament. But he was also expressing the findings of his intelligence services about ‘liberal’ forces undermining colonial rule in Bechuanaland: colonial district administrators considered to have 'gone native' in support of the Bangwato, and a ‘third party’ of young African nationalists among the Bangwato speaking up for Seretse's cause.

On January 10th, 1952, all three assistant district officers at Serowe—James Allison, Peter Cardross Grant, and Dennis Atkins—had protested that the policy of His Majesty’s Government towards the Bangwato was unjust and dishonourable, disregarding the rights of 100,000 people in order to favour one man, Tshekedi.[xxv]Ismay and Churchill blamed this impertinence on the liberalism of current district commissioner at Serowe, R.A.R. Bent, and most of all that of his predecessor ‘Gerry’ Germond. The latter had been identified by Churchill as a maverick in the late 1940s, after previous service in the Pacific (Solomon Islands).32 The official response to this 'revolt of the district officers' was to remove two of the three from Serowe—and to install a tough new disciplinary régime of administrators under Betham Beetham as resident commissioner at Mafeking headquarters and Gordon Batho as district commissioner at Serowe. 

On January 29th, 1952, five young, well-educated Bangwato, led by Seretse Khama's cousin Lenyeletse Seretse, had approached R.A.R. Bent, still temporarily Serowe district commissioner. They had strongly dissociated themselves from the Keaboka régime, which they characterized as corrupt, and had called for a democratic form of local government by popular election. W.A.W. Clark at the Commonwealth Relations Office in London now crowed: ‘at last the emergence of third party’—and suggested that it might be rallied into a ‘new deal’ tribal administration under Tshekedi’s nominee Rasebolai Kgamane as chief.[xxvi]Clark could not have been more wrong, at least in the short run. Soon after the Serowe Kgotla riot—in which they played no part—these friends or supporters of Seretse Khama (including Mout Nwako and Kenneth Koma) constituted themselves as Bechuanaland Protectorate’s first political party—the Bamangwato National Congress, also joined by K.T. Motsete from the Keaboka camp. (Rasebolai Kgamane was not universally accepted as Tribal Authority until after Seretse Khama's 1956 return home.)[xxvii] 

The part played by women

It is difficult to argue that there was a specific feminine agenda in the new female assertiveness during the unfolding events between 1948 and 1952. The contestations within Bangwato society were more about age cohorts (the age-regiments led by senior royals) and ethnicity (the so-called ‘allied clans’) than about gender. Also, all of these categories were crosscut by socio-economic class, based on traditional and changing ownership of, and access to, property and labour. But women were important parts of all these contestations, both as agents and recipients.  

The first half of the twentieth century had seen accelerating and profound social change pressed forward by capitalism and colonialism in the Bangwato reserve (Gamangwato), the Bechuanaland Protectorate, and Southern Africa as a whole. But relatively few people would have seen current events in such abstract general terms. Instead. it was the 'progressive' traditional chiefs who successfully adapted to the new order, notably Tshekedi Khama, who bore the brunt of popular disquiet and discontent. Our analysis should therefore focus on women's objections to Tshekedi's rule, and Tshekedi's objections to the assertiveness of women. 

In January 1952, W.A.W. Clark of the Commonwealth Relations Office, a friend and admirer of Tshekedi’s, claimed: ‘The Mahalapye women dislike Tshekedi because of his periodic campaigns to clean up the morals of the railway townships.’[xxviii]This was certainly a libel on Relathanye wife of Manyaphiri, vigorous temperance campaigner and churchwoman at Mahalapye, who proved so indignant when presented with Clark’s view in 1984 that she expelled a student interviewer from her house.[xxix]It was Tshekedi's personal opinion, and was coloured by his conception of the moral order into which should women fit.

The legal reforms known as Khama's Law (Melao yaga Khama, instituted by Khama III who ruled 1872-73 & 1875-1923) had given royal women the right to inherit property, to be present in Kgotla court cases that directly concerned them, and to be given personal cattle on marriage.[xxx]The precedent of Khama's Law spread to other chiefdoms in Botswana, and was progressively extended to aristocratic and lower women. The historian Barry Morton argues, however, that Tshekedi and other chiefs put a stop to, and indeed reversed, such women's liberation during the formulation of 'indirect rule' of the 1920s-30s: first in law cases contesting the rights of Tshekedi's aunt and half-sister to inherit the bulk of Khama's wealth, and then by convincing the Bechuanaland Protectorate administration and its official Handbook of Tswana Law and Custom(1938) that such rights were contrary to traditional law and custom.[xxxi] 

The major political space that continued to be dominated by women, as an extension of church activities, was the indigenous temperance movement among the Bangwato that has been described as a ‘women’s élite ideology’.After the death of Khama III, his widow Semane headed up the local branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), followed after her death by white trader's wife Minnie Shaw at Palapye, both fully backed by Semane's son—Tshekedi Khama. Here it should be pointed out that Keaboka and Peto and other Bangwato leaders were also themselves eager temperance supporters. As the historian Paul Landau has argued, the alliance of royalty, clergy and women challenged the previous ‘beery fellowship’ of ‘ethnic and gerontocratic hierarchies'.[xxxii]

 Up to and including the Second World War, young females benefited disproportionately from Western-type schooling, Instead of being schooled, young males were employed as herders in far-flung cattle-posts—followed by migrant labour in the South African mines.[xxxiii]The exceptions came from families rich enough to employ servants to look after their cattle. Western education, provided by the Bangwato state through the aegis of the London Missionary Society, benefited royals and aristocrats but also provided the channel for the rise of a small educated middle class of teachers and clerks and skilled workers. This can be seen from the 1890s in the rise of women as schoolteachers and in their role in the national church, with the L.M.S. providing role models by importing European women teacher-missionaries and nurses. Though, as Isaac Schapera remarked in 1940, there was as yet 'no place in the legal system, or in the political life of the community' for the unmarried childless 'professional' woman.[xxxiv]

In a society that underwent progressive impoverishment in the colonial period after 1900, the reforms of Khama's Law percolated very slowly down to the majority of women who constituted the peasant component of what the political economist Jack Parson calls the ‘peasantariat’ in Botswana—the combined peasantry and proletariat of worker-peasants that kept the regional mining economy going. Poor rural households (the predominantly female peasantry) carried the costs of social reproduction and thus subsidized the wage-labour of the young male migrants (the predominantly male proletariat) who went to South African mines, farms, and towns. (Female out-migration, suspected by chiefs and suggested by the anomalous enumeration of fewer females in ratio to more males in censuses from 1904 to 1956, suggests female peasant resistance by escape to join the proletariat abroad.)[xxxv] 

So-called 'female-headed households'[xxxvi]multiplied, as the age of marriage (by payment of bride-wealth in cattle: bogadi equivalent to ‘lobola’) was raised till men had earned sufficient money from wage-labour to purchase livestock This increased the rate of unmarried sexual partnerships (bonyatsi) and of unmarried motherhood, and also increased the incidence of widowhood as the age-gap grew and older husbands died long before their wives.[xxxvii]Such trends were evident in the Bakgatla reserve of south-eastern Bechuanaland by 1929-34, after there had been heavy outflow of migrant labour for a generation, and were recorded by the anthropologist Isaac Schapera in his classic work Married Life in an African Tribe(1940). But really extensive labour recruitment in the Bangwato reserve did not take off until 1934, when the boom in South African gold production led to intensive labour recruitment by the Native Recruiting Corporation at Palapye and Mahalapye, and the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association at Francistown. 

 The Second World War, to which by repute Bechuanaland and the Bangwato in particular sent more troops per head than any other British colony, helped to triple the rate of male absence. By 1942-43 about 60 per cent of tax-payers (i.e. adult males) were residing outside Bechuanaland.[xxxviii]During the Second World War, Tshekedi enforced the communal cultivation of ‘war lands’, impressing the compulsory labour of women left on the lands by their menfolk during the war..This gave an extra ‘peasant’ grievance against Tshekedi[xxxix]

 The ‘immorality’ which Tshekedi and W.A.W. Clark saw, but imperfectly understood, was that of marriage giving way to widespread bonyatsior unmarried love. Marriage was so delayed that some women never married at all, while sexual activity and fertility continued unabated and even increased. The railway townships of Mahalapye, Palapye, and Francistown could be seen as particular hotbeds of immorality. They were reservoirs of infection for the epidemic of venereal disease that rose with the tide of labour migration. Single women, and married women in the absence of their husbands, not only resorted to lovers but tried to make a living from food preparation, beer-brewing, prostitution and other services to the Central African labour migrants who passed through on the railway.[xl]

 The women's post-war revolt against Tshekedi can be seen as intersecting with this complex of social change. As has been noted elsewhere, outbursts of feminine assertion tend to happen at times of familial stress, when the effects of an economic revolution have percolated throughout society as a whole.[xli] 

The ‘Seretse marriage crisis’ caught the tide of this rising female consciousness. Tshekedi might be hated for his previous restrictions on the economic self-sufficiency of the growing numbers of independent and semi-independent women. But he by no means held a monopoly on upholding the moral order against the new immorality. Tshekedi’s main male followers became popularly characterized as ‘men who are known by the Bamangwato as deserters of their wives’.[xlii] But a note of caution should be introduced about regarding Tshekedi's supporters as anti-female and Seretse supporters as pro-female. Diana Wylie quotes Seretse Khama soon after his return in 1956 as saying that women had become politically too powerful. Whether this was a reflection of his reconciliation with Tshekedi, or whether it is another case of misinterpretation of his notoriously ironic sense of humour, is open to question.[xliii]


The pioneer physician and experienced politician Dr. S.M. Molema gave the most clear-headed explanation of the whole 'Seretse marriage crisis' period in his evidence to the enquiries of the three British ‘observers’ on August 17th, 1951. According to verbatim notes taken at the time, he said:

Greatest effect of Bamangwato troubles on the Bechuanaland Protectorate was ‘moral’. Mishandling of the case imported suspicions of influence of Union [of South Africa] and Rhodesia and people had lost faith in the Government. Liberty of the subject had been taken away—there was no respect for human rights.—Whole matter a question of honesty and Government protecting themselves by piling up more dishonesty.[xliv]

Even W.A.W. Clark, the arch plotter in the Commonwealth Relations Office, in private actually agreed. The root of the whole problem lay in the British government's public denial of the 'real reasons' for Seretse's banishment—namely not to offend white public opinion in South Africa and inflame the republicanism that would break up the British Commonwealth.[xlv]Successive British governments were obliged to produce a string of alternative ‘internal’ explanations for the continuing Bangwato political crisis between 1948 and 1956, to divert attention away from the ultimate cause of the whole ‘Seretse marriage crisis’—the extraneous pressures of white régimes elsewhere in Southern Africa.  

Whatever the underlying strains in Bangwato society revealed by the Serowe Kgotla riot in June 1952, its most important cause was surely the decision of the British authorities to suddenly get tough with the Bangwato—to ‘grasp the nettle’ after three years of ill-considered actions and much inaction. Ironically, such dithering had undermined the popular legitimacy of ‘good government’ and the very credibility of colonial domination itself. The ‘Keaboka crowd’ blew its chances on its London trip, and no doubt were desperate men on their return home empty-handed. But the Serowe crowd needed little bullying by ‘agitators’, given the outrageous baiting by the colonial régime. The crowd’s self-discipline broke under such pressure, in a catharsis of violence. 

As the outburst abated so soon, in conventional nationalist historiography the Serowe Kgotla riot is seen as an aberrant event in the continuum of political development in Botswana.[xlvi]Its historical significance is deeper, as a benchmark indicating profound change and transformation in society. Aside from considerations of gender and national or racial (anti-colonial) consciousness, the riot can be seen in ‘class’ terms as the climax of competition for rights and property between Tshekedi's followers and the 'frustrated feudalists' of Keaboka—with a new ‘third party’ of well-educated youth standing by to pick up the pieces for a movement towards national independence. 

Notes & References

This paper is dedicated to the glorious memory of Prof. Thomas Tlou. It was elaborated out of research conducted for the biography Seretse Khama 1921-1980 (Gaborone: Botswana Society & Marshalltown, Johannesburg: Macmillan Boleswa, 1995—the Botswana Society edition still being in print), co-authored by Thomas Tlou, Neil Parsons, & Willie Henderson. The abbreviated coverage of the 'Seretse marriage crisis' in the book was drafted by Neil Parsons with input from Tom Tlou. 

Biographical works in chronological order:

1950: Julian Mockford, Seretse Khama and the Bamangwato(London: Stales) 

1955: John Redfern, Ruth and Seretse 'A Very Disreputable Transaction' (London: Victor Gollancz)

1960: Mary Benson, Tshekedi Khama(London: Faber) 

1965: Jack Halpern, 'A very disreputable transaction' in Jack Halpern, South Africa's Hostages: Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland(London: Penguin), pp.261-332

1966: S.M. Gabatshwane, Seretse Khama (Kanye: The Author) 

1967: Eric Robins, White Queen in Africa: The Story of Ruth and Seretse Khama(London: Robert Hale)

1980: Gwendolyn M. Carter & E. Philip Morgan, eds. From the Frontline: Speeches of Sir Seretse Khama(London: Rex Collings)

1986: Ronald Hyam, 'The political consequences of Seretse Khama: Britain, the Mangwato and South Africa, 1948-1952', The Historical Journal(Cambridge UK), vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 921-947 

1988: Michael Crowder, 'The Black Prince: A Biography of Tshekedi Khama' [unpublished manuscript of unfinished chapters left at author's death] available on-line at <www.thuto.org/schapera/etext/classic/bltr.htm>

1989: Michael Crowder, 'Professor Macmillan goes on safari: the British government observer team and the crisis over the Seretse Khama marriage' in Hugh Macmillan & Shula Marks, eds, Africa and Empire: W.M. Macmillan, Historian and Social CriticLondon: Temple Smith for Institute of Commonwealth Studies), pp.254-78 & 322-28

1990: Neil Parsons, 'Seretse Khama and the Bangwato succession crisis, 1948-1953', in Jack Parson (ed.), Succession to High Office in Botswana: Three Case StudiesAthens, Ohio: Ohio University Press (Center for International Studies, Africa Series No.54), pp.59-77

1990: Michael Dutfield, A Marriage of Inconvenience: The Persecution of Ruth and Seretse Khama(London: Unwin Hyman)

1990: Diana Wylie, "The decline of the Ngwato chieftainship, 1948-1956' in Diana Wylie, A Little God: The Twilight of Patriarchy in a Southern African ChiefdomHanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press), pp.175-209

1991: Neil Parsons, 'The Serowe Kgotla riot of 1952: popular opposition to Tshekedi Khama and colonial rule in Botswana', Societies of Southern Africa in the 19th and 20th Centuries(London: Institute of Commonwealth Studies), vol.16, pp.24-36

1992: Gys Dubbeld, Seretse Khama (Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman) 

1995: Thomas Tlou, Neil Parsons & Willie Henderson, Seretse Khama, 1921-1980(Gaborone: Botswana Society & Braamfontein: Macmillan South Africa)

2004: Gasebalwe Seretse, Tshekedi Khama: The Master Whose Dogs Barked(Gaborone: The Author)

2004: Neil Parsons, ‘Seretse Khama', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, vol.31, pp.506-507 

2005: Wilf Mbanga & Trish Mbanga, Seretse and Ruth(Cape Town: Tafelberg Publishers)

2006: Susan Williams, Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama and his Nation (London: Allen Lane)

2008: John Makgala 'Seretse Khama, 1921-1980', New Encyclopaedia of Africa. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons Reference Books, 3, pp.110-111

2011: John Stuart, 'Tshekedi Khama, Seretse Khama and the South African factor in missionary affairs, 1948-53' in John Stuart, British Missionaries and the End of Empire: East, Central, and Southern Africa, 1939-64(Grand Rapids, Michigan & Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing), pp.49-72

[i]   Notable outbursts of internal unrest include: anti-Christian riots at Kanye in 1889; popular resistance to removals from the northern Tuli Bock (1920-21), from Old Molepolole (1937) and from Nswazwi’s village (1947); the Gobuamang ‘revolt’ at Moshupa in 1932-33; anti-colonial disturbances at Francistown in 1963; and mass protests over real or supposed injustices at Bontleng in 1987, Mochudi and Gaborone in 1995, and Mmankgodi in 1997. See Jan-Bart Gewald, 'El Negro, el Niño, witchcraft and the absence of rain' Pula, Botswana Notes and Records, vol.16, no.1, 2002, pp.37-51

[ii]  The Star(Johannesburg), 6 June 1952.

[iii]Draft note for Cabinet by W.A.W. Clark, 7 June 1952 (NAUK/PRO:—Public Record Office/National Archives of United Kingdom, London:—DO 35/4149).

[iv]Benson, Tshekedi Khama; Crowder 'The Black Prince'; Michael Crowder, The Flogging of Phinehas McIntosh: a Tale of Colonial Folly and Injustice, Bechuanaland 1933 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988).

[v]  For the fuller story of events, see above: 'Biographical works in chronological order'.

[vi]Nettelton to Priestman, 1 Nov. 1948 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4113); District Commissioner [DC] Serowe to Resident Commissioner [RC] Mafeking, 1 June 1949 (BNA—S 169/15/4); Petition of 58 Undersigned Women of Mahalapye, Relathanye M. Ikitseng, etc., to RC, 9 Aug.1949 (BNA—S. 529/1/1).

[vii]Report by Assistant-Superintendent of Police, Serowe, 27 Aug. 1949 (BNA—S 170/1/1).

[viii]Landau, The Realm of the Word, p.105 quoting TKP 52.

[ix]The ideologue on the edge of the 'Keaboka crowd' was K.T. Motsete (1899-1975), M.A., B.D. (London), L.C.P., educational pioneer and pioneer nationalist in Malawi as well as Botswana. He returned from years abroad to be spokesman of the Bangwato before the three British 'observers' in July-August 1951. See K.T. Motsete to Fabian Colonial Bureau, 18 June 1951, in RHL [Rhodes House Library, Oxford]—Mss Brit. Emp. s.365/91/4); Neil Parsons ‘The idea of democracy and the emergence of an educated élite in Botswana 1931-1960', pp.175-198 in University of Edinburgh, Centre of African Studies Botswana—Education, Culture and PoliticsEdinburgh: Centre of African Studies (Seminar Proceedings No.29), 1990.

[x]  Judgment Rex v. Lenyeletse Seretse and others’, Serowe 13 Aug.1951, encl. in High Commissioner’s Office [HCO] to CRO, 28 Aug. 1951 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4135) 

[xi]Tlou, Parsons & Henderson, Seretse Khama, pp.113-16; House of Commons Hansard, 26 June 1951, cols.1198-1326; Michael Crowder, ‘Professor Macmillan goes on safari: the British government observer team and the crisis over the Seretse Khama marriage, 1951', pp.254-78 & 322-28 in Hugh Macmillan & Shula Marks (eds.), Africa and Empire: W.M. Macmillan, Historian and Social CriticLondon: Temple Smith for University of London Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 1989.

[xii]Redfern, Ruth and Seretse, pp.139, 145 & 167. See also HCO to CRO, 19 January 1952 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4137); Women's Kgotla at Serowe, 16 Aug. 1951 (NAUK/PRO--DO 35/4142); HC to CRO, 2 Oct. 1952 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4136); 'General Matters of Law and Custom' by Tshekedi Khama, n.d. (BNA—S. 529/1/4; NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4310 passim).

[xiii]CRO briefing paper for new Commonwealth Secretary, 29 Oct. 1951 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4136); Draft Cabinet Paper, c.21-22 Dec. 1951 (NAUK/PRO-DO 35/4137).

[xiv]HCO to CRO, 23 Nov. 1951 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4137); CRO memoranda by W.A.W. Clark, 2 & 18 Jan.1952 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4137); CRO to HC, 18 February 1952; Minute by W.A.W. Clark, 18 Feb. 1952 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4138).; Lord Salisbury to Prime Minister, 18 March 1953 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4138).

[xv]House of Commons Hansard, 27 March 1952 (vol.498, no.64), cols.836-844; House of Lords Hansard, 31 March 1952 (vol.175, no.43), cols.1099-1166. Representations from public (3 boxes): NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4145 (I), 4146 (II), & 4147 (III); Oliver Messel to Anthony Eden, 2 April 1952 (NAUK/PRO—FO 371/96649).

[xvi]Minutes by W.A.W. Clark, 6 & 13 Feb. 1952 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4138).

[xvii]  Sources for the following account are: Peter M. Sebina, 'From my note book' (Serowe, 6 June 1952—manuscript in Tshekedi Khama Papers, Khama Memorial Museum, Serowe, Box 58 [hereafter TKP 58, etc.];  'Summary of Events in the Bamangwato Reserve from the Middle of May to 7th of June 1952' (Resident Commissioner's Office, Mafeking—copy in TKP 58); ‘Preliminary examination Regina v. Keaboka Kgamane et.al, sedition/public violence’, 17 June 1952 (Botswana National Archives: BNA—DCS 34/4); notes of interviews by Thomas Tlou, Serowe Jan.-Sept.1984, as listed in Tlou, Parsons & Henderson, Seretse Khama, pp.440-41 

[xviii]R.A.R. Bent, Ten Thousand Men of Africa: the Story of the Bechuanaland Pioneers and Gunners 1941-1946London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office for Bechuanaland Government, 1952, pp.36-46.

[xix]Interview of Thomas Tlou with Mothusi Serogola, Serowe, 28 Jan. 1984.

[xx]Interview of Thomas Tlou with Mothusi Serogola, Serowe, 28 Jan. 1984.

[xxi]Commonwealth Relations Office [CRO] to National Council for Civil Liberties, 2 Sept. 1952; Daily Worker, 19 Aug. 1952; High Commissioner [HC] to CRO, 9 & 24 Sept. 1952 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4310); ‘Preparatory examination’ (BNA—DCS 34/4)

[xxii]Harold Macmillan, Tides of Fortune 1945-1955(London: Macmillan, 1969), p. 391

[xxiii]House of Commons Hansard (vol.502, no.2), 10 June 1952, col. 46; 'Bamangwato affairs draft note for Cabinet' by W.A.W. Clark, 7 June 1952, & HC Pretoria to CRO, 12 June 1952 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4149: ‘Official statements relating to the Serowe disturbances’, June 1952.)

[xxiv] Isaac Schapera, Tribal Innovators: Tswana Chiefs and Social Change 1795-1940London: University of London Athlone Press (London School of Economics Monographs on Social Anthropology No.43), 1970, pp.146-49; Paul Stuart Landau, The Realm of the Word: Language, Gender and Christianity in a Southern African Kingdom (Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann, London: James Currey, & Cape Town: David Philip, 1995), pp.104-06.

[xxv]P. Cardross Grant, James A. Allison, & Dennis Atkins (Serowe) to Secretary of State, 10 Jan. 1952; CRO to HC, 15 Feb. 1952 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4138).

[xxvi]M.P.K. Nwako, L.M. Seretse, D.B. Gareitsanye, K.R. Mathware & G.K.S. Koma to District Commissioner Serowe (R.A.R. Bent), 29 Jan. 1952—copies to CRO, Tom Driberg MP, Tshekedi Khama, etc.; HCO to CRO, 21 Feb. 1952; Minute by W.A.W. Clark, 13 Feb. 1952 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4138); Parsons 'The idea of democracy'.

[xxvii]Parsons, 'The idea of democracy'; Parsons, 'Seretse Khama and the Bangwato succession crisis', p. 76; Tlou, Parsons & Henderson, Seretse Khama,p.130.

[xxviii]CRO minute by W.A.W. Clark, 18 Jan 1952 NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4137.

[xxix]Anonymous University of Botswana student interview with Mrs Relathanye M. Ikitseng, Mahalapye, 11 Dec. 1984.

[xxx]Schapera, Tribal Innovators, pp.144-46; Thomas Tlou, 'Khama III—great reformer and innovator' Botswana Notes and Records, vol.2, 1970, pp.98-105; Theophilus K. Mooko, 'The role of royal women in Bangwato politics under the regency of Seretse Khama, 1926-1949'Pula, Botswana Journal of African Studies, vol.13, nos.1-2, 1999, pp.46-60; Q.N. Parsons, 'Education and development in pre-colonial and colonial Botswana to 1965', pp.21-45 in Michael Crowder (ed.),Education for Development in BotswanaGaborone: Macmillan Botswana for Botswana Society, 1984.

[xxxi]Barry Morton, 'The evolution of women's property rights in colonial Botswana, 1890-1996' Pula, Botswana Journal of African Studies, vol.21, nos.102, 1998, pp.5-21.

[xxxii]Landau, The Realm of the Word, pp. xxvii-xxviii, 82, & 104-06.

[xxxiii]Isaac Schapera, Married Life in an African Tribe[Bakgatla] (London; Faber & Faber, 1940 & Harmondsworth, Mddx: Penguin Books, 1971); Gaele Sobott, 'Experiences of women during the Second World War' Pula, Botswana Journal of African Studies, vol.13, nos.1-2, 1999, pp.93-107) More boys were educated after the war, as returning soldiers had learned that education would give their sons future career advantage

[xxxiv]Schapera, Married Life in an African Tribe, p.320. See inter alia, Serara Seleleo-Kupe, An Uneasy Walk to Quality: A History of the Evolution of Black Nursing Education in the Republic of Botswana, 1922-1980(Battle Creek, Michigan: W.W. Kellog Foundation, 1993).

[xxxv]Jack Parson, 'Cattle, class and the state in rural Botswana' Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 7, no. 2 (April 1981), pp. 236-255; Jack Parson, Botswana: Liberal Democracy and the Labor Reserve in Southern Africa(Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press & London: Gower, 1984); Isaac Schapera, Migrant Labour and Tribal Life: a Study of Conditions in the Bechuanaland Protectorate London: Oxford University Press, 1947, pp.64-70; Census reports of 1921, 1936 & 1946: (BNA—S. 17/7; S. 86/23/2,; & BNA—BNB 486). 

[xxxvi]For a challenge to this concept, see Godisang Mookodi, 'The complexities of female-headed households in Botswana' Pula, Botswana Journal of African Studies, vol.14, no.2, 2000, pp.148-64. See also Cathy Bond, Women's Involvement in Agriculture in Botswana(Gaborone: Ministry of Agriculture, 1974); Pauline Peters, 'Gender, developmental cycles and historical process: a critique of recent research on women in Botswana', Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 10, no. 1 (Oct. 1983) pp. 100-22; Carol Kerven, 'Academics, practitioners and all kinds of women in development: a reply to Peters', Journal of Southern African Studies,vol. 10, no. 2 (April 1984), pp. 258-62.

[xxxvii]In a dry pastoral land without much cultivation of cash crops, there was not the same incentive to timeously acquire women's agricultural labour through marriage-with-cattle as there was in Lesotho. See Jeff Guy, 'Gender oppression in southern Africa's precapitalist societies, in Cheryl Walker (ed.), Women and Gender in Southern Africa to 1945(Cape Town: David Philip & London: James Currey, 1990),p.40. In Lesotho, marriage-ages fell because of labour migration: Colin Murray, Families Divided: the Impact of Migrant Labour in Lesotho(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Adam Kuper, South Africa and the Anthropologist(London: Routledge, 1987), pp.247-54; Marc Epprecht, ‘Women’s conservatism and the politics of gender in late colonial Lesotho’, Journal of African History, vol.36, no.1 (1995), pp.29-56.

[xxxviii]Isaac Schapera, Married Life in an African Tribe Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971 (London: Faber, 1940) pp.181-88; Schapera, Migrant Labour, pp.177-78 & 183-89; Ørnulf Gulbrandsen, Poverty in the Midst of Plenty: Socio-Economic Marginalization, Ecological Deterioration, Ecological Deterioration and Political Stability in a Tswana Society (Bergen: Norse Publications, Bergen Studies in Social Anthropology No. 45, 1994); Ørnulf Gulbrandsen, ‘To marry—or not to marry: marital strategies and sexual relations in a Tswana society’, Ethnos, vol. 51, no.1 (1986), pp.7-28; Francien Th. M. van Driel, Poor and Powerful: Female-Headed Households and Unmarried Motherhood in Botswana (Saarbrücken: Verlag für Entwicklungspolitik Breitenbach, Nijmegen Studies in Development and Cultural Change, 1994). 

[xxxix]Hoyini K.K. Bhila, ‘The impact of the Second World War on the development of peasant agriculture in Botswana, 1939-1956', Botswana Notes and Records, vol.16 (1984), pp.63-71.

[xl]Schapera, Married Life, p.320; Schapera, Migrant Labour, pp.174-77; Donald Curtis, ‘Cash brewing in a rural economy’, Botswana Notes and Records, vol.5 (1973), pp.17-25; David Cooper,Rural-Urban Migration and Female-Headed Households in Botswana Towns(Gaborone: Central Statistics Office, National Migration Study, Working Papers No.1, 1979); Stephen Haggblade, ‘The shebeen queen and the evolution of Botswana’s sorghum beer industry’, pp.395-412 in Crush & Ambler,  Liquor and Labor. Compare with Phil Bonner, ‘Desirable or undesirable Basotho women?: liquor, prostitution and the migration of Basotho women to the Rand, 1920-1945', pp.221-50 in Walker Women and Gender; Belinda Bozzoli & Mmantho Nkotsoe, Women of Phokeng: Consciousness, Strategy and Migrancy in South Africa (Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann, & London: James Currey, 1991); Tshidiso Moloka, ‘Khomo lia oela: canteens, brothels, and labour migrancy in colonial Lesotho, 1900-40', Journal of African History, vol. 38, no.1 (1997), pp.101-22. For studies of women's beer protests see: Helen Bradford,‘We women will show them: beer protests in the Natal countryside’, pp.208-34 in Crush & Ambler,Liquor and Labor in Southern Africa—earlier version published as 'We are now the men' in Belinda Bozzoli, ed. Class Community and Conflict (Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1987); Emmanuel Akyempong, ‘What’s in a drink? Class struggles, popular culture and the politics of akpetshiein Ghana, 1930-67', Journal of African History, vol.37, no.2 (1996), pp.215-36.

[xli]Sally Alexander, ‘Women, class and sexual differences in the 1830s and 1840s’, History Workshop Journal, no. 17 (1984), pp. 125-149; Belinda Bozzoli, ‘Marxism, feminism and South African studies’,Journal of Southern African Studies, vol.9, no.2 (April 1983), pp.139-71.

[xlii]   See Rev. K. Raditladi to Harragin commission, 4 Nov. 1949 (BNA—S.599/2). 

[xliii]Diana Wylie, A Little God: The Twilight of Patriarchy in a Southern African ChiefdomHanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1990), p.209

[xliv]Report on meeting of Observers with African Advisory Council, Gaberones, 17 Aug.1951 (NAUK/PRO—DO 35/4142).

[xlv]C.R.O. minute by W.A.W. Clark, 6 Feb 1952 NAUK/PRO—CO35/4138

[xlvi]Thomas Tlou & Alec Campbell, History of Botswana(Gaborone: Macmillan Botswana, 1964), p.216, and the more self-consciously nationalistic Fred Morton & Jeff Ramsay (eds.), The Birth of Botswana: a History of the Bechuanaland Protectorate from 1910 to 1966 (Gaborone: Longman Botswana, 1987), p.130; Fred Morton, Andrew Murray & Jeff Ramsay, Historical Dictionary of Botswana(Metuchen NJ: Scarecrow Press, 2nd edn.1989), p.116; Thomas Tlou & Alec Campbell, revised by Jeff Ramsay, History of Botswana(Gaborone: Macmillan Botswana, 2nd edn. 1997), p.308; & Jeff Ramsay, Barry Morton & Fred Morton, Historical Dictionary of Botswana(Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 3rd edn. 1996), p.217.