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Lobatse has rich history

Lobatse mayor, Ms Caroline Lesang says the town’s history should be documented for coming generations. Speaking at the mayor’s ball, Ms Lesang encouraged stakeholders to take advantage of the town's heritage.

The town, situated 75 kilometres south of Gaborone, had a rich history that ranged from hosting African political refugees to Botswana’s firsts. 

She said Lobatse was the country’s principal town and retained many of the old style colonial buildings nestling in a range of hills with tree-lined avenues and a slightly wetter, cooler climate. “There are several interesting archaeological remains to be seen around Lobatse such as the stone walling from Ngwaketse village”, she said.

Ms Lesang said there was an earlier stone wall settlement by the Bakgwatlheng, a Kgalagadi grouping which lived in the area before the Bangwaketse. She revealed that in the early sixties, Lobatse was a meeting ground for a variety of African people, with one of it wards Peleng, named after the town’s dam. The area composed of a mixed population, the majority of them being Bahurutshi from the Marico district in the Western Transvaal who fled into the area after revolting against the South African government.

Ms Lesang said among the first major industrial projects in Lobatse was the creation of an abattoir, meat canning factory and leather tannery. “It was chosen as the home for the country’s major abattoir probably because it had a reasonably secure source of water but it also hosted the country’s only mental hospital”, she said. She said construction of several government offices, schools, High Court, Radio Botswana and a public library attracted a large number of labourers to the town.

Ms Lesang said Lobatse had the first tarmac road in Botswana: A tree lined road which was constructed for the 1947 visit of King George and Queen Elizabeth. She said the imprint of Europe was still visible in the green spacious area stretching more or less from the plantation to the railway station, while Indian Lobatse made  itself evident, as one entersedfrom the south with its mosque and school. Ms Lesang said Lobatse was a town of oddities and contrasts: At one end it had the abandoned offices of the old Commonwealth Development Corporation and at the other, a virtually abandoned luxury golf club.

She said due to the rich heritage, Lobatse needed a museum; reiterating the Minister of Local Government  and Rural Development, Mr Peter Siele’s call on the town’s traditional leadership that such rich history should be documented for the benefit of future generations. She encouraged staff members, business community, ward development committee members and the community to work as a team.   Ends

 

Source : BOPA

Author : Portia Rapitsenyane

Location : Lobatse

Event : Mayor's ball

Date : Dec 24 Mon,2012

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