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Moanaphuti Segolodi

Publishing Date : 12 February, 2019

JEFF RAMSAY
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA


Moanaphuti Rampodu Segolodi (1894-1949) was a pioneer nationalist agitator who lived troubled life as a royal outsider among the Bangwato and Batawana. He was born in Ngamiland as the son of Rampodu, himself an exiled Mongwato royal who became the first Batawana tribal secretary as well as serving as a tribal governor over the Hambukushu.



In 1914 Moanaphuti assumed his father’s positions making him for a period one of the most wealthy and powerful headmen in Gatawana. But by 1925 he had fallen into considerable debt.  In the same year he was accused of embezzling tribal funds resulting in his exile. After also being declared persona non grata in Kanye he found sanctuary among the Bangwato at Serowe where he was initially accepted by Kgosi Tshekedi Khama.


But, Moanaphuti fell out with Tshekedi after becoming associated with the Bangwato regent’s arch opponents the Ratshosa brothers. Along with a handful of others, notably including Leetile Raditladi and Kgalemang Motsete, Moanaphuti and the Ratshosas came together as the “Intellectuals”, also styling themselves as the “Progressive Party”, to advocate for the political empowerment of educated Batswana. In this context Monaphuti wrote:


“An insistent plea of freedom echoes from tribe to tribe with increasing intensity. We have entered an era forecast in prophecy... now radical change in conviction has been brought. The inhabitants of the Protectorate realise and believe there must be another was to induce and to oblige the tribe to settle their disputes without slashing one another’s throats. They believe in the unity of all peoples in the consciousness of their common interest in the maintenance of just peace.”


In 1929, after found guilty of killing royal cattle, Moanaphuti openly condemned Tshekedi as a tyrant, evaded regimental work, and led the Ballinger-Barnes Tour around the Protectorate. When Tshekedi had him hauled into the kgotla to hear complaints against him, Moanaphuti was pummelled by an angry mob before being summarily flogged.


Moanaphuti subsequently organised an anti-Tshekedi petition against flogging and regimental work that succeeded in getting the British to reduce the Kgosi's powers. After being expelled from Gammangwato, Moanaphuti returned to Ngamiland where he became a business partner and mentor to the future Cabinet Minister Tsheko Tsheko.

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