Cloak; Cape; Mothikga; Apron; Back Skirt; Kaross



Cloak; Cape; Mothikga; Apron; Back Skirt; Kaross




Physical Description: Square sheep skin apron with rounded corners. There is a square of tan coloured animal skin in the centre, with a border of lighter coloured skin with patches of dark hair on it. It has two skin strings at the top. [Royal Pavilion & Museums]
Contextual Description: This is a cloak but also could be used as a papoose (Pepa is the Tswana word for papoose). Mothikga is the name for a garment that can be worn wrapped in different ways on the body. Mothikga is also the name for a woven cloak. TS comments
Contextual Description: Kaross worn around the shoulders and back like a cape, now called a blankets, like Basoto and Xhosa 'blankets'. See Aranda new purchases for FA. Notes from Tshepo Skwambane and Neil Parsons initial visit to view objects, 2017
Contextual Description: SL: I was saying the missing [area] of the hairs here indicates that before the skirt was collected was in some use, regular usage...around the side. And these are from... the wooden pegs when you when you dry the skin [it ] is still raw before any processing. And interestingly, there...they've left them and they look like some form of decoration. WT: It's a skirt. But we'll call it apron because there's not a full skirt kind of this is just a part for the back. And there's a part for the front...I think the problem is explaining how it is used. It says it's a back skirt maybe and a front skirt because it's worn in two pieces. Okay, this one just covers up to here. Yeah, the other one will be smaller like roundish in front so maybe you could just say skirt instead of apron but back skirt and front skirt.

The above notes are from a transcription by Kathleen Lawther of a discussion between Gase Kediseng, JoAnn McGregor, Nicola Stylianou, Scobie Lekhuthile and Winani Thebele which took place at the Khama III Memorial Museum on the 5th of August 2019. To listen to the full recording please follow the link below.


Making African Connections


Pre 1899




Whole: 810 mm x 1100 mm
animal skin sheep; animal hair




Collected by Reverend William Charles Willoughby, a Christian missionary, in what was then the Bechuanaland Protectorate (1885-1966). It is now the Republic of Botswana, having gained independence from Britain in 1966.
From 1889-92 Willoughby was pastor at Union Street Church, Brighton (now The Font pub). From 1893 to 1898 he worked for the London Missionary Society in Bechuanaland. He assembled this collection of objects during this period. This was a period of social and technological changes and these objects represent traditional lifestyles and skills, rather than the contemporary lives of the people Willoughby met.

Willoughby's collection was loaned to Brighton Museum in 1899 when he returned to the UK. The loan was converted into a donation in 1936, and accessioned as acquisition R4007.

Some objects were re-numbered with the WA (World Art) numbering system in the 2000s. These numbers have been reverted to the original R4007/... numbers where possible for consistency in 2019.

This object was on display in the exhibition 'Missionary Collectors' in the James Green Gallery of World Art, from July 2004 to January 2005.
William Charles Willoughby
Botswana, Southern Africa, Africa


Botswana, Southern Africa, Africa
Cultural Group: Tswana


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