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The Raditladi Secession (Part 3)

Publishing Date : 11 February, 2020


We previously left off in September-November 1895, when the three-cornered negotiations were underway in London between the Her Majesty’s Colonial Office, Rhodes’ British South Africa Company (BSACO) and Dikgosi Bathoen I, Khama III and Sebele I over the future administration of the Bechuanaland Protectorate. As the talks stalled, BSACO representative saw the fate of the Bo-Raditladi as a potential bargaining chip. They continued to express willingness to accommodate the followers of Raditladi and his brother Mphoeng in their company’s territory in exchange for concessions by Khama.

After the Dikgosi returned from Britain in December 1895, however, the British High Commissioner, Sir Hercules Robinson, informed Khama that he would have to either have to take the Bo-Raditladi back or surrender his claims to Bukalanga to Rhodes.  Khama initially opted for the former though he was unable to exercise effective jurisdiction over the rebel faction.

The situation took another twist in early 1896 when, in the aftermath of the failed Jameson Raid, the Amandebele along with many Vashona took up arms against Rhodes’ white settlers in a conflict that came to be known as the 1st Chimurenga (1896-97). In the face of stout indigenous resistance, the BSACO recruited Raditladi among others to help them reimpose their rule. During the conflict the rebel Mongwato’s horsemen proved especially effective against their traditional Amandebele adversaries.

In 1898 Raditladi, along with Mphoeng, was thus granted BSACO seized land inside Southern Rhodesia, in the Mangwe region where Mphoeng’s village survives to this day.  This development was part of a wider effort by Rhodes’ company to resettle loyal blacks from South Africa and Bechuanaland into Southern Rhodesia to assist in the territory’s colonial pacification. In the end Raditladi grew uncomfortable serving under the Rhodesians. In 1913 he reconciled with Khama, allowing him along with most of his followers to return to Gammangwato. Others remained behind in Rhodesia under Mphoeng.



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