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Peter Sebina (1894-1962)



Publishing Date : 10 April, 2018

JEFF RAMSAY
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA



“That today, in this modern world with its concepts of democratic Government, good may come out of evolution, if such evolution is carried out on sane principles. It is, therefore, very important that cautious steps be taken when changes are made in the present system of tribal government. Poor, spasmodic revolutions would only lead to chaos.



It is therefore essential that the ‘new order’ should be built upon the solid foundation of the ‘old order’ for the established order tends, from its inevitable rigidity due to long experience and not to antiquity, to become hardened against the intrusion of novelty. But when a stage is reached when an appreciable number of enlightened people who can grasp the principle of politics and socio-economic development come to the fore, the demand for change will be gradual and will automatically come from the tribes themselves without opposition from any element.”


The above passage is from a 17 April 1961 essay written by Peter Mazebe Sebina. Who was this remarkable man? For over a quarter century Peter Sebina served as the 'Bamangwato Tribal Secretary' as well as personal secretary to Kgosi Tshekedi Khama. In this capacity he also played a significant role in supporting the establishment of Moeng College and also sat for some years on the African Advisory Council. 




Having studied at Adam’s and Lovedale Colleges before going on for tertiary education and employment at Fort Hare College, Sebina was well acquainted with other leading southern African intelligentsia of his generation notably including Professor Z.K. Matthews, Mr. B. C. Thema and Dr. S. M. Molema.

As one of the most educated men in the Protectorate in his later years he served as an academic mentor and sometime facilitator of bursaries for many others.


Former President Festus Mogae is among those who cite him as an inspiration. Others known to have benefited from his guidance included: Gaositwe Chiepe, Dr. Kenneth Koma and Moleleki Mokama among many others. 

Peter Sebina has also left a legacy of additional writings, his earliest known publication being “Ka ga Makalaka” an essay that won him a first prize in the Setswana Literary Competition in February 1931. Throughout his life he often contributed to cross border publications including “Naledi Ya Batswana,” and “Sunday Times” newspapers.

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