Hat; Thoro; Thoro ya lelodi La moretwa le bojang; Hutse



Hat; Thoro; Thoro ya lelodi La moretwa le bojang; Hutse




Physical Description: Mans woven grass hat. Made from a golden yellow grass bound with a broader, dark grass, creating thin diagonal stripes. It has a flat top with narrow, straight brim. The design is an imitation of a European hat design. The hat appears small for a man but would be worn perched at the top of the head, slanted backwards.
Contextual Description: hutse hat, dark fibre could be Moretlwa; Grewia flava DC. A shrub which branches are used to make baskets in Botswana. The fruit can be eaten and we used to make khadi 'African brandy' out of it. TS comments
Contextual Description: 02:09:21 He mentioned the weave here looks like one of a grain basket 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 45:24
Now you might find that our people have [hats] that look like basuto hat because it resembles our rooftops and stuff like that. And then this is, this is something new, ...to look like wilderbeest.

WT 46:07
Ke gore nna ke feeler gore...during the colonial period this was copied from bo-Willem Coetzee [meaning a typical Afrikaner - similar to saying John Smith in English -TS note]. Because even in the mining period, the miners used to love these hats but di na le di fofanyane [they had feathers - TS translation note]. So it was mostly men, working on the [mines].

SL 49:26
like the reason why I vote for for the hat is because of the materials used with like you were saying. This is the... same material that we find in our general people's baskets or basketry. Moretlwa bark and grass and looking at the material you can't say the item is lost, it clearly comes from this region because people are still weaving with it, with those materials.

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: 110 mm x 280 mm
Plant fibre




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