Let me take this opportunity to applaud the community of Pilikwe, Serowe, and Tshekedi Khama's family for this initiative. Often we depend on entities such as the Botswana Society, Museums etc., to assist us with the preservation of our past. We must recognise that it is everybody's preserve to advance our history.
Some of us here, had the opportunity to have lived during the time of Tshekedi Khama, therefore able to give a first-hand account of some of the events that unfolded during the time. I however was very young and only knew him during the last years of his life.
According to history you will find many stories about him, many of them fascinating. I do not intend to go into this history as I am aware that there are historians who are to speak to give an account of that period. However, I think it would be right and justified to put aside the lingering perceptions that there was a permanent and long lasting fallout linked to his exile from Serowe and underscore that Tshekedi Khama from my recollection had reconciled his differences with my father and other members of the royal household in Serowe.
He and some of his followers continued to work with my father through the years.
He also worked well with other Dikgosi in making sure that Botswana did not become a part of the Union of South Africa and at the same time also supported the liberation of other countries in Southern Africa.
Tshekedi Khama, was the last born son of Kgosikgolo Khama III and Semane MmaKgosi. He was born on 17th September 1905 in Serowe. He went to school at the Serowe Public School from 1912 to 1916, thereafter he attended Lovedale from 1917 to 1921, and at the South African Native College at Fort Hare from 1923 to 1925.
He was Regent of the BamaNgwato from 1926 to 1946, assuming power on behalf on his young nephew, Seretse Khama, my father. He married, firstly in Serowe in February 1936 to Bagakgametse Moloi. He married his second wife, Ella Moshoela in May 1938 in Mafikeng. Kgosi Tshekedi Khama was blessed with 5 children; namely, Leapetswe Khama, Sekgoma Khama, Semane Khama, Modiri Khama and Mphoeng Khama.
Tshekedi Khama passed on in June 1959 and was buried in Serowe. Unfortunately some of his children also left us, the only surviving 2 are Sekgoma Khama and Semane.
My Great Uncle has been described as a strong willed, and spirited disciplinarian, with a strong attachment to tradition. His stories are countless, in particular his skirmishes with the colonial government and Resident Commissioners then, emanating mostly for his role in calling for the formation of a Legislative Council. A well known event was of course his decision to sentence a young white man, Mr. Mackintosh to corporal punishment, whom he had flogged at his kgotla.
It is, therefore, particularly encouraging for me to note that the later generation, perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, have over the years played a key role in increasing linkages between relatives in Serowe and Pilikwe. I can only underscore the importance of such relations that would help dispel the misperceptions about our heritage or legacy. It is for future generations, with our encouragement to continue on this path.
Statement by President Ian Khama, at the launch of The Tshekedi Khama legacy Foundation on 12th September 2015, Pilikwe