Author: Jonathan Laverick
Year of Publication: 2015
Published by: The History Press
Review by ONTAMETSE SUGAR
Kalahari Killings is a 227 page book that is packed with history, fact ad mystery that happened in Botswana during the Wartime double Murder of 1943. The author of the book Jonathan Laverick, who has been living in Botswana for 16 years, says the book is based on a true story. He researched and sourced the whole truth from the families of the deceased parties and those who are still alive. The story is centred on two trainee Rhodesian Air Forces (RAF) pilots Walter Adamson and Gordon Edwards who on the 4th of October 1943 took off from Kumalo in Zimbabwe. Sometime later they were forced to land in Botswana where they climbed out unscathed, left a note and disappeared. What then happens next in the book is an ethno archaeological investigation and a sensational murder trial with worldwide media coverage and an astonishing outcome that led to a proud change in the lives of Tyua Bush people. The story explores the murders of the two men who are alleged to have been murdered by bullet and axe, in which the question ‘why’ remains the centre of attraction. Twai Twai Molele is the leader of a group of eight killers charged. Molele was known to be a witchdoctor and a bottle allegedly containing human fat was found in his possession. The intriguing investigation following the trial shows that Tyuans guns were confiscated and their ageless nomadic hunting lifestyle began to die out. The murders offered an excuse for British protected cattle farmers to remove them from their lands. In his book, Laverick reviews the evidence to uncover the true story in his writing. Laverick, who is a teacher at Maruapula School, says he first came across the story when he was researching about a tiger moth owned by one of the parents of a student here in Botswana. He then visited the National Archives in Botswana where one file that caught his attention was that of Rex. V. Twai Twai Molele, which led to more research that led to the publication of this book. He also touches on how Bechuanaland had always been something of an outlier in the British Empire and visitors often left its barren land with the feeling that it had remained a separate country largely because nobody wanted it. He also talks about how Khama took his followers from Shoshong and relocated with them to Serowe after Shoshong became less fertile and suffered from unreliable water supplies. It talks of how the enlightened Khama introduced new western technologies such as wagons, ox drawn ploughs and how he also stuck with Christian faith, cracking down on initial services and traditional beliefs as well as prohibiting alcohol from his territories. It explores the way Basarwa have been treated in the past which also led to them being pushed away to the far ends of the country as there is where in the book Tshilwane, one of Bangwato headmen said he thought Basarwa were difficult to control and that animals were easier because animals go in herds while Basarwa live in small groups and that they never live in a community together. This was all explained during the Twai Twai trial where Tshekedi also spoke about the stubbornness of rebellious acts of Twai Twai. The book is sold at Exclusive Books in Riverwalk for P250.