The reasonable radical: celebrating Gobe Matenge

SHARE   |   Monday, 21 May 2018   |   By Ricardo Kanono
THE LATE: Gobe Matenge[L] with Dumelang Saleshando THE LATE: Gobe Matenge[L] with Dumelang Saleshando

The Botswana Society in partnership with the University of Botswana will on May 21, 2018, host an evening event to celebrate the life of the late Gobe Matenge, the Society’s chairman for many years and former member of the UB Foundation board. Matenge’s biographer, Professor Richard Werbner, will be the featured speaker at the University of Botswana Conference Centre, where he will share his moments with Botswana's legendary public servant. Matenge was born in Makaleng, and as a young man entered the Bechuanaland Protectorate civil service, serving in the Imperial Reserve, in Mahikeng. After independence, Matenge served in various ministries and positions including Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs. He retired in 1981. Matenge chaired the Bechuanaland Protectorate African Civil Service Association and then Botswana Civil Service Association (1966-1975). He was noted for his forthright views on behalf of the civil service. In 1976, he organised Botswana’s 10th Anniversary celebrations. Matenge went on to become a successful businessman, community and political activist, as a member of the opposition Botswana National Front and later as a founder member of the Botswana Congress Party. During the 1990s, he served as Chair of The Botswana Society, when it hosted international seminars to address issues ranging from economic and social development, to democracy and governance to culture and heritage preservation. Matenge spearheaded the formation of Transparency International Botswana and the Kalahari Management Services Trust. The guest speaker at the talk, Prof Richard Werbner, is Professor Emeritus in African Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester. Prof Werbner is an American anthropologist who specialies in the Kalanga-speaking areas of Zimbabwe and Botswana, including ritual, personal and historical narrative, politics, law, regional analysis. He has authored many books and numerous articles, and is the author of "Reasonable Radicals and Citizenship in Botswana", which highlights the life of Gobe Matenge. Since 1971 Werbner has been conducting research in Botswana and is widely known among some of Botswana's leading citizens.

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