Then We Were Bechuana



Then We Were Bechuana


A pictorial exhibition of ethnographic material collected by Rev. Willoughby in the 1890’s from Batswana of BaGMmangwato.
The collection includes clothing and ornaments, food quest that is cultivation and hunting objects. Most if not all of the artefacts were created from material that was readily available to the maker. While a small portion was acquired through trade, most was provided by nature.

Although most of the exhibited/picturesd items are outdate and have been long forgotten, a few might still be found and preserved as family treasures. A tiny fraction may still be found in circulation.

This time period is important since it marks a time of rigorous transformation: not much was kept from this time period in terms of material culture. The exhibition gives present day Batswana a chance to acknowledge and appreciate what their ancestors used to get by on a daily basis.

At present the pictured artefacts are stored at the Brighton Museum in the United Kingdom. This exhibition showcases a pictorial representation of the artefacts alongside the pieces their orgins beyond any doubt/suspicions. (SL)
A pictorial exhibition of ethnographic material collected by reverend Willoughby in the 1890’s from Batswana Bamangwato. This exhibition came this year because the originally planned exhibition was disturbed by COVID-19 and we had to adapt to the changes. The opening was on the 20th of February 2021 coupled with the Black History Month commemorations. Kgosi Gomolemo Ophile was the guest of honor representing the Bamangwato Tribal Authority and Mr. Seretse Khama from the board. A majority of the guests were from the Botswana Rastafarian community who are aware of Black history month and commemorate it annually. However, it has become somewhat a tradition that focus of the Black History Month has been mostly outside. This exhibition created an opportunity for self-discovery this time around. The story was made complete through a display of the pictures collected by Rev. Willoughby and highlighting some of the events which took place at Old Palapye. The attendees showed so much interest and expressed how they eagerly wait to see an exhibition with the original artefacts on display. Some were surprised that Batswana produced a large percentage of what they used at home. We had to limit numbers of attendees according to the COVID-19 protocol therefore we had about 25 people but anyhow the exhibition got coverage on Botswana Television and radio giving a wider audience reach. (SL 17/03/21)


February - April 2021