Bowl; Winnowing basket; Lesêlô



Bowl; Winnowing basket; Lesêlô




Physical Description: Winnowing bowl made from woven plant fibre and coated in a brown substance. Used as an agricultural tool and domestic use. [Royal Pavilion & Museums]
Contextual Description: 01:05:06 He knows…this basket, the winnowing basket and remembers clearly the material used to produce it. It’s a root of, what is that tree called? The common English name…knobthorn? He says you go for the younger ones and then you dig their roots, shape them into like flattish things and make it nice and smart and then you start weaving your winnowing basket. I think I remember showing you something like that yesterdayMen, when they were out at the cattle station, this would be their pass time activity. 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: SL 25:41
a winnowing basket... This is still used. Not a lot but you still find a few people who can...

JM 25:53
Someone was telling me that the one in the collection has got resin to protect it that they This one was covered in like a tree resin so that it didn't rot so quickly. I haven't seen the object...

SL 26:08
[it could] be treated with that some kind of resin or resin or you would smear...

WT 26:17
cow dung

WT 26:25

WT 26:38
... I found [some baskets like this] in the mall and we bought [them]for the collection. Yeah because these are new designs and new innovations...

SL 26:50
so its winnowing basket is called Leselo

GK 27:01
They are still being used. Though not much, but you still find

NS 27:06
people make them here?

WT 27:07
and then I have one in there[at home]...just by the table. Oh by the wall. I forgot...

NS 27:13
But you don't winnow with it.

WT 27:16
Sometimes I do though you know Scobie …I take the peanut and I use it

NS 27:22
okay you get rid of the chaff

WT 27:24 I just have it on the wall but the ones that you should have now is this beautiful one, for walls, decorating because we don't...

SL 27:38
...from far away, this is where our domestic utensils are going, decorating walls. None of them know how to use some of these things. Because to some of us they belong to the wall...

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: 80 mm x 440 mm
Plant fibre
Basket weaving




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


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Basket weaving