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Seretse and Tshekedi khama 1936

Publishing Date : 04 July, 2018

JEFF RAMSAY
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA



This coming Monday’s holiday will honour the 97th anniversary of the birth of our Republic’s first president, Sir Seretse Khama. To mark the occasion this week’s photo features a then fifteen year old Seretse with his uncle, who also served as his guardian and regent, Tshekedi Khama. The photo was taken was taken at during Tshekedi's February 3, 1936 wedding to Bagakgametse Sefhakwane Moloi, during which young Seretse served as "best man". Unfortunately the marriage did not last, ending in a divorce just a year later.


Seretse was only four years old when his father Kgosi Sekgoma II died in 1925. He was orphaned just five years later with the death of his mother Queen Tebogo (nee Kebailele). It thus fell to Tshekedi to raise Seretse as well as hold the throne on his behalf. By all accounts, including their surviving private correspondence, Tshekedi was a stern but protective and supportive guardian to the Seretse. In his early years Seretse was often in poor health, but became athletic as he got older.


Tshekedi was particularly concerned that Seretse receive the best education available, enrolling him at Tiger Kloof, Lovedale and Adams College for his secondary studies and Fort Hare University for his undergraduate degree. Thereafter Tshekedi encouraged Seretse to study law, initially at University of Witwatersrand and subsequently at Balloil College, Oxford, before taking up further Barrister Studies at Inner Temple in London.


In charting his nephew’s education Tshekedi was advised by his friend and political associate Professor Z.K. Matthews, whose South African home often hosted Seretse. Notwithstanding the infamous estrangement that emerged between Tshekedi and Seretse over the latter’s marriage to Ruth (nee Williams) the strong bond between them was never fully broken. In the years immediately prior to Tshekedi’s 1959 death the two once more worked together to promote developments in the Central District. 

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