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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Web Page  No 2334
7th January 2017
Top Picture: Seretse Khama

 Second Picture: Seretse and Ruth Khama

Third Picture: Sir Seretse Khama Airport

Sir Seretse Khama

Here is a name from the past     but what do you remember of him?
Sir Seretse Goitsebeng Maphiri KhamaKBE was born on 1st July 1921 and died aged 59 on 13th July 1980,and became the first president of Botswana. He was born into one of the more powerful of the royal families of what was then the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland, and educated abroad in South Africa and in the UK. When he left England he returned home—with a popular but controversial bride—to lead his country's independence movement. He founded the Botswana Democratic Party in 1962 and became Prime Minister in 1965. In 1966, Botswana gained independence and he became its first president and during his presidency, the country underwent rapid economic and social progress.

Seretse Khama was born in Serowe, the son of Sekgoma Khama II and Queen Tebogo, the paramount chief of the Bamangwato people, and the grandson of Khama III, their king. The name "Seretse" means “the clay that binds" and was given to him to celebrate the recent reconciliation of his father and grandfather; this reconciliation assured Seretse’s own ascension to the throne with his aged father’s death in 1925. At the age of four, Seretse became kgosi (king), with his uncle Tshekedi Khama as his regent and guardian.

After spending most of his youth in Tiger Kloof Educational Institution in South Africa, he attended graduating with a B.A. in 1944. He then travelled to the United Kingdom and spent a year at Balliol CollegeOxford, before joining the Inner Temple in London in 1946, to study to become a barrister.

It was about this time that he came to the notice of the general public in the UK as in June 1947, he met Ruth Williams, an English clerk at Lloyd's of London, and after a year of courtship, married her. The marriage sparked trouble among both the apartheid government of South Africa and the tribal elders of the Bamangwato. On being informed of the marriage, Khama's uncle Tshekedi Khama demanded his return to Bechuanaland and the annulment of the marriage. Khama did return but after a series of public meetings was re-affirmed by the elders in his role as king in 1949. Ruth Williams Khama, travelling with her new husband, proved similarly popular. Admitting defeat, Tshekedi Khama left Bechuanaland, while Khama returned to London to complete his studies.

But the international ramifications of his marriage would not be so easily resolved. Having banned interracial marriage under apartheid South Africa could not afford to have an interracial couple ruling just across their northern border. Bechuanaland was a British Protectorate, (not a colony), South Africaimmediately exerted pressure to have Khama removed from his chieftainship. Britain’s Labour government, then heavily in debt from World War II, could not afford to lose cheap South African gold and uranium supplies. There was also a fear that South Africa might take more direct action against Bechuanaland, through economic sanctions or military action. The UK government launched a parliamentary  enquiry into Khama’s fitness for the chieftainship. Though the investigation reported that he was in fact eminently fit to rule Bechuanaland, "but for his unfortunate marriage", the government ordered that the report be suppressed (it would remain so for 30 years) and exiled Khama and his wife from Bechuanaland in 1951.

Various groups protested against the decision, declaring it as British racism and there was wide anger and calls for the resignation of Lord Salisbury, the minister responsible. A deputation of six Bamangwato travelled to London to see the exiled Khama and Lord Salisbury However, when ordered by the British High Commission to replace Khama, the people refused to comply. In 1956, Seretse and Ruth Khama were allowed to return to Bechuanaland as private citizens, after he had renounced the tribal throne. Khama began an unsuccessful stint as a cattle rancher and became involved in local politics, being elected to the tribal council in 1957.

In 1961 he returned to politics by founding the nationalist Bechuanaland Democratic Party. His exile gave him an increased credibility with an independence-minded electorate, and the BDP dominated the 1965 elections. Now Prime Minister of Bechuanaland, he continued to push for Botswana's independence. On 30th September 1966, Botswana gained its independence, with Khama acting as its first President. In 1966 the Queen appointed him  Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KCB).
Between 1966 and 1980 Botswana had the fastest growing economy in the world. This growth was primarily driven by mining, and the customs union between Botswana and South Africa was renegotiated in 1969, with the government of Botswana securing for itself a greater share of the mining revenue. The government used these revenues to heavily invest in the expansion of infrastructurehealth care, and the education system, resulting in further economic development.

Due to Khama's dedication to development, very little was spent on defense, and a small military police force was initially formed in place of an army. However, following repeated incursions by South African and Rhodesian forces, the Botswana Defence Force was formed in 1977 as a small professional military.

Shortly before his death, he would play major roles in negotiating the end of the Rhodesian civil war and the creation and independence of Zimbabwe.

For a number of years leading up to his death, his health deteriorated. He suffered from heart and kidney ailments. In 1960 he had been diagnosed with diabetes. In 1976, he underwent a heart operation to install a pacemaker in Johannesburg, and from then on, frequently flew to London for medical treatment. In June 1980, he flew to London, where doctors diagnosed him with terminal pancreatic cancer, and he was flown home after it was determined that no cure was possible. On 13 July 1980, Khama died of pancreatic cancer at age 59.

Following his death, he was succeeded by Vice President Quett Masire. Forty thousand people paid their respects while his body lay in state in the capital Gaborone. He was buried in the Royal Cemetery on a hill in SeroweCentral District.

Twenty-eight years after Khama's death, his son Ian became the fourth President of Botswana; in the 2009 general election he won a landslide victory in which a younger son, Tshekedi Khama II, was elected as a parliamentarian from Serowe North West.

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On this Day 7th  January 1960-1965
On 07/01/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific.The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was North by Northwest. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Aswan Dam foundation stone laid.

On 07/01/1962 the number one single was Moon River - Danny Williams and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Avalanche buries 16 villages in Peru.

On 07/01/1963 the number one single was The Next Time/Bachelor Boy - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Black & White Minstrel Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Sylvia Plath publishes her only novel The Bell Jar.

On 07/01/1964 the number one single was I Want to Hold Your hand - The Beatles and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Steptoe & Son (BBC) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Anti-US demonstrations over Panama Canal.

On 07/01/1965 the number one single was I Feel Fine - The Beatles and the number one album was Beatles For Sale - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

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