Hat; Hutse; Mokorotlo



Hat; Hutse; Mokorotlo




Physical Description: Conical woven grass sun hat, with a flat circular knob at the top. Is is made from grass and decorated with short strips of black hair (possibly elephant hair) woven in. [Royal Pavilion & Museums]
Contextual Description: labelled as womans hat, but would be worn by men or women, grass or reed, plaited and then wound. Animal hair decorations. Called a Futshe or hutshe depending on dialect, 'ya lethake' which means hat of reeds. [Notes from Tshepo Skwambane and Neil Parsons initial visit to view objects, 2017]
Contextual Description: Now taken as a Sotho style hat, called Mokorotlo in Sotho. [TS, 2020]
Contextual Description: 01:00:14 He says he remembers when they were young he’d seen people wearing this, and they’d say someone is wearing a hat that resembles a basket, or they have a basket for a head. [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: WT 23:46
Conical woven grass hat with four vertical bands of black. That's a basuto. our people knew about the Basuto

SL 24:00
I don't know

JM 24:07
maybe some refugees from their home maybe

SL 24:11

Because no matter what people don't make hats like this

SL 24:18
But we are talking about what we know from today I get

WT 24:26
Of course but then

SL 24:33
people were not then as mobile as they are today. I get it I'm gonna dispute to the fact that some might have gone to the mines and met basuto or [???] but

WT 24:44
migrated from

SL 24:46
our people could also come up with this.

GK 24:51
They could have maybe continued You know, this kind of hats

SL 24:57
how many of these have you seen that... We can say there was a continuation

GK 25:01
but at least the bows and arrows

SL 25:05
is well no that is why we That is why Winani is giving them to basarwa. a lot of us will say these are basarwa today because our people never continued with that. As soon as they tasted the white men's clothing, they dumped everything.

WT 25:20
Historians normally take a very comfortable position when there's something like this. That just indicates that its a hat and also that probably borrowed it so that they're not committing again.

SL 25:32
Yeah. students that have their reasons

just indicates to you that the basuto to have a similar hat

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: 180 mm x 350 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.
William Charles Willoughby
Botswana, Southern Africa, Africa


Botswana, Southern Africa, Africa
Cultural Group: Tswana; Basuto


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Basket weaving