Physical Description: A wooden porridge bowl carved from light-coloured wood. Below the outer rim a line of triangles has been burnt as decoration. The handle has also been coloured by burning. The bowl has a rounded bottom.
Contextual Description: 02:31:47 This is what we used to feed from…He remembers the bowl of course everyone would, this is where you get your food. Never forget where you feed from. Then he was like also explaining how it was cleaned. He says somewhere there next to the spring there is a spot where people would dig for this white soil (I’d tried to find out if it is some kind of lime he says yeah you might say that, but its not) we call [???] on this side…
So the women would go and dig that and make little cakes, and let them dry and this is what they would bring home. Each time when they had to like clean the wooden bowls you would break a few lumps and put it inside and scrub…
RHH: Does it have an abrasive quality?
SL: Yeah. And you end up with something as white as that [points to something off camera]
On the outer side they don’t rub, they just apply this. You don’t scrub or rub on the outer side, and he says the same …white soil that’s what they would also get when they’re decorating their homesteads. He said back in the days around Christmas time, all the compounds would be having red and white you know courtyards and [rondavel?]
RHH: So you would use the ochre and then the white soil?
SL: He says they have this red soil which they have around here, and they also have blackish soil, and this white one… Transcription by KL of MAC_BB_20190817_RPM3 SL Interview with Tshupo Ntono, Village Elder, Language: Setswana with English translations by SL, 2019
Contextual Description: "…the [wood] used for making this bowl is morula…and that’s the original material for making wooden bowls." Transcription by KL of MAC_BB_20190821_RPM8 SL Interview with Otwaetse Tona, carver. Language: Setswana with English translations by SL, 2019
Contextual Description: WT 1:31:38
but now this is the familiar one, the more setswana that we know [compared to R4007/69].

SL 1:31:43
So wooden bowl, mogopo again

SL 1:31:52
...I'm just saying this one looks more more like a Botswana one because it even has a handle and ...

WT 1:32:02
What I mean really, maybe it's familiar to us. And like we've seen some stuff that came before...

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: 95.25 x 250.825 mm




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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