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Mohumagadi Ntebogang (1882-1979)

Publishing Date : 12 June, 2018

JEFF RAMSAY
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA



Ntebogang Ratshosa served as the regent of the Bangwaketse during the minority of her nephew Kgosi Bathoen II. The child of Kgosi Bathoen I and related through her mother, Gagoangwe, to Bakwena royalty; like other members of her household she received a formal education and was raised in a strict Christian manner.


She married the Bangwato noble Ratshosa Motswetla, by whom she bore three children, but returned to Kanye after being widowed in 1917. In 1923 she left the LMS (UCCSA) church to become a lifelong Seventh Day Adventist (SDA – “Sabata”). In 1924 Ntebogang assumed the regency from her dying mother. To bolster her position she appointed six men to serve as an advisory council. Though all of the councillors served her loyally, she came to rely on one in particular, Kgampu Kamodi.


Ntebogang used her SDA connections to establish the first medical care centres throughout Gangwaketse. Her regency is also remembered for enforcing public codes of conduct that had lapsed since the death of her brother, such as reviving the ban on the sale of khadi. Ntebogang also made her presence felt outside Gangwaketse. She was first woman to sit in the “Native Advisory Council” and became one of its most outspoken members, often speaking against the threat of the Bechuanaland being incorporated into the Union of South Africa.


When Protectorate Government sought South African assistance for the anti-locust campaign, Ntebogang objected. She feared that if such men dug wells or discovered minerals in the process, they might try to claim the land as their own. She got her way, and the work was done by Bangwaketse and local Protectorate employees. Through the NAC, Ntebogang also obtained money to greatly expand the piped-water scheme in Kanye and set up bull camps, projects which her nephew subsequently continued and expanded.


In 1927 Ntebogang joined Dikgosi Tshekedi Khama and Sebele II in resisting British efforts to curtail the authority of bogosi, believing there could be a South African hand behind the developments. Concerned about Ntebogang’s growing territorial influence, the colonial authorities was happy to see her handover to Bathoen II in 1928.

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