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Rename Botswana

by Staff reporter
22 Aug 2021 at 20:10hrs | Views
Not all citizens of the country are Batswana. The name of the country celebrates tribalism before independence. Bakalanga were not called Batswana. I am not a Motswana - Dr Habaudi Hubona The name is tribalistic as it excludes every other tribe


The name Botswana celebrates tribalism and is the core of the malice, which urgently needs to be changed, contends Specialist Surgeon and former Member of Parliament for Francistown West, Dr Habaudi Hubona.

Dr Hubona insisted in an interview with The Midweek Sun That the name of her country must change because not all citizens of this country are Batswana.

"Before independence Bakalanga were not called Batswana but Bakalanga. After independence, we were named citizens of Botswana before we were called Batswana.

"I found it more tolerable being called a citizen of Botswana than a Motswana. I am not a Motswana", said Dr Hubona.

When she applied for her second 0 Mang card a few years back, she was offended by the fact that the application form sought her to say she is a Motswana.

"I wrote a protest letter to government and the reply I got was that I am a citizen of Botswana", she reminisced adding that the name Botswana is intended to "Tswanalise" all the tribes in this country which are not of Tswana stock.

During her student days at St Joseph's College in Kgale, the fresh-faced Dr Hubona joined the Bakalanga Student Union and became part of a group of learners who opposed the naming of this country as Botswana at independence in 1966.

"We felt the name was tribalistic as it excluded every other tribe that was not of Tswana stock. My position is that, even if the current government were to introduce the teaching of Kalanga and the other so-called minority tribes that will not be enough as long as the country continues to be called Botswana", she argues.

Nor does she think President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi's government will introduce the teaching of the other languages as promised in his election pledges.

"Where is the infrastructure in the form of books? Where are the teachers", wondered Dr Hubona who is also worried that there has been no consultation with stakeholders.

Dr Hubona has got no kind words for Kalanga political leaders particularly in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for failing to defend their people's identity.

"They defended the status quo. Instead of serving the interests of the people, they stood on the side of the government.

"It is not clear what guided them but clearly, what was at play in my view is either, greed, gullibility, lack of principle, opportunism or any number of these weaknesses".

What she finds puzzling is that after retirement, some of them change tune and start advocating for the teaching of Kalanga. Dr Hubona cannot understand why, although Bakalanga had so much influence in the formulation of government policies, they failed to defend the rights of their people.


On the other hand, Dr Hubona has got a lot of praise for Dr Kenneth Koma and Philip Matante of the Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples' Party (BPP) who, despite being Bangwato, preached tribal equality.

Dr Hubona's political consciousness can be traced to the rather bloody confrontation between her grandfather Hubona Mpalake Nshakazhogwe and the Bangwato royalty over the land which would later become the Hubona village.

According to Dr Hubona, her grandfather, and his family, settled in the area in 1912.

"The Bangwato, protested the arrival of my grandfather claiming the land belonged to them. In 1913, they sent a regiment to attack my grandfather whose family property was burnt to ashes.

"Although my grandfather sustained life-threatening injuries from the beatings, he refused to leave. His own and his followers' cattle, goats and other livestock were burnt to death when their kraals were torched with animals inside.

"Nor were the crop granaries spared the scorched earth policy activity", revealed the 74 year old Dr Hubona, who heard the captivating albeit emotional tales mainly from her older relatives especially her aunt, Tumelo Hubona. The injured old man would be taken to Jubilee hospital on horseback by his cousins. Unimpressed, the British government ensured that Khama III was brought to court where he was found guilty as charged.

Meanwhile, the complainant was compensated for the lost property and severe injuries. So proud of the victory against Bangwato was Hubona that when his son (Dr Hubona's father) was born, he celebrated by naming him Seitshwenyeng (which translates to "do not waste your time") to communicate to the Bangwato that he is not going anywhere.

"The story of my grandfather taught me to stand my ground and fight back against any injustice. It politicised me", said the surgeon who revealed that, following the incident, some of her grandfather's followers felt insecure and proceeded to Tonota where they settled forever.

Dr Hubona would enroll at the Francistown African School in 1955 for Sub A and Sub B. She spent four years at the school before moving with her father to Sebina where he worked for Haskins and Sons while she continued with her education at Sebina.

Dr Hubona's father had worked for Haskins and Sons in Francistown for years as a clerk. Khama III and Hubona would later reconcile to the point where Khama III or his people would lodge at Seitshwenyeng's place each time they were in the Tutume area from Serowe.

Interestingly, after their reconciliation, Seitshwenyeng would provide reconnaissance services to the Ngwato royal on his way to Tutume and surrounding areas.


Source - The Sun