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Moitsheki and Son

Publishing Date : 28 January, 2019

JEFF RAMSAY
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA

 
Lekalake aMoitsheki (d. 1893) and his father Moitsheki aMotsemme aBarwa aMayadibodu aTshimole (d. 1886) were prominent members of a lineage of traditional doctors, dingaka, who were regionally renowned for their role as royal mentors.


While the Tshimole clan were of Babididi origin, Moitsheki began his training and subsequent practice among the Batlhaping, before finding fame as an instructor of princes. In addition to the normal training for manhood that they received through initiation and family guidance, Moitsheki was responsible for training many royal heirs for bogosi through his instruction in philosophy, medicine, magic and rainmaking.


In this respect his long list of royal pupils notably included the founder of modern Lesotho, Morena Moshoeshoe, and Dikgosi Mothibi, Luka, Janki, Gasebone of the Batlhaping, Sechele I and his brother Kgosidintsi of Bakwena and Sekgoma I of Bangwato. Upon graduation, each of Moitsheki's students was given a special charm to help assure their future success. By the late 1840s Moitsheki along with his son Lekalake had set up operations in the Kweneng, living in their own village at Sehereleleng, separate from the main Bakwena settlement, before Sechele forced them to take up residence at Dithubaruba.


Between 1847 and 1852 the missionary Dr. David Livingstone had struggled to interest Lekalake in Christianity and taught him basic literacy. At one point Lekalake even worked for the missionary’s to earn the cash to buy books. He nevertheless followed in his father’s footsteps by achieving prominence in his own right as a Ngaka.


For a number of years Lekalake served as a senior Ngaka under Sechele and Kgosidintsi, before having a falling out with the former. He then moved to the Bangwato court at Shoshong, were he and his brother Sekgwe were involved in the power struggle between the traditionalists championed by Kgosi Sekgoma I and the emerging Christian faction led by his heir, Kgosi Khama III.  He is also known to have practiced among Montshiwa’s Barolong, Bangwaketse, Batlhaping and Bakgatla bagaKgafela.


Lekalake’s own children became Christian converts, with his son Maphakela Lekalake eventually becoming an ordained minister of the London Missionary Society.

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