Scobie Lekhuthile



Scobie Lekhuthile


Q:Can you start with a bit about yourself?
A: I am from this village – I did primary and secondary. After going half way, JZC, I dropped out….
I found a way of continuing to learn outside school, informally and then the blessing was that I made friends with a lot of friends who came to our village, Serowe, through Peace Corps, Holland, Cuso and many others. England had many too – I think one didn’t pay a lot of money as the guys had a limited budget, IVS, that was back in the days!
My ineraction with those visitors or developers or helpers helped me to continue learning outside school. Also the kind of things they wanted to know about our culture, village and area as a whole. Sometimes people would ask and I’d have no answer, so this got me to learn more about us. Even now, there’s no school, you can’t learn that subject at school, fully, fully…. I used to talk to elderly people, check with elderly people and what was available and what was written. Slowly the interest of learning about my culture grew. And then many, many years later, when the museum started, I was interested in like finding how I can be of help. I remember passing by and talking to the founding curator from Denmark, Maria Rita what is happening here, what can help. I was told they’d be putting up the first exhibition, a collection of Botswana baskets from Okavango, I think they covered all the walls in this room… I joined them putting up the exhibition. Next thing, it was going to be open to the public. They didn’t have enough people to look after the exhibition during the opening hours. So automatically there was a vacancy for me, a job offer, and I joined the Museum and starting as a odd job man, doing everything that needed to be done. Then I assisted a German scholar studying Basarwa…San – I don’t know which is the correct term. This German professor was collecting data for comparative studies of different Sarwa/San dialects and I went out with him. We did a large part of Botswana, from here to Maun, to the Kalagadi and some parts of the Okavango too and ya, collected. WE had our list, what do you call this in your language and he’d write in signs and so on. Again, whether I liked it or not, I got informed about the Sarwa language and became able to compare it with SeTswana, or English. Which one is closer to San, SeSarwa. And of course the language also included a bit of culture, as some cultural practices were unique to these groups. So my San vocabulary increased, and it also helped. When I started working at the Museum here with such background, I knew how to ask questions without being too leading, I knew how to do that. Thorugh this exercise of working with the German scholar.
How did you come to be working with him?
A: somebody knew I was loitering -one afternoon I was at home at these guys approached me. The German scholar knew Ruth Folkham who was teaching some ladies typing. He told Ruth he was having problem with the guy who was the current field assistant. So Mr Brown from SErowe was assisting another scholar and the German scholar Reinar.. came to my room, and asked me to assist the German… he also offered to pay! Information and money! So I started. After working with him for a week or so, he liked working with me, so he wanted me to continue beyond only the SErowe work which was the original agreement. So now it was me and the German guy, going to this guys home and we brought the sad news to the other assistant he no longer had the job! I ended up being the lucky one and we did extensive travel in Botswana to all areas where thre are Basarwa. So I got to learn which groups are related, and those that are really far apart – it all became clear to me doing the fieldwork. So, coming to the Museum it was Gods plan to prepare me for the job. This German guy was a linguist and had been to different parts of AFrca. He knew how to go about getting information in line with human sciences for want of a better word. So that made it easier for me. The curator could see I knew a bit, could phrase questions, accessioning items and so on, so she was impressed.'
Taken from an interview with Scobie.

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Bullet Pouch; Belt; Lebantê Physical Object
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Interview with Scobie Lekhuthile Event
Khama III Memorial Museum