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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Words of Batswana: letters to the editor of 'Mahoko a Becwana', 1883-1896
Author:Volz, StephenISNI
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic terms:Botswana
South Africa
social change
Abstract:In order to contribute to the store of African 19th-century writings available for research, the Van Riebeeck Society of Cape Town in 2006 published an assortment of letters by Batswana (Tswana people) that appeared in the Setswana newspaper 'Mahoko a Becwana'. The title for the book and the present article, which is a modified version of the editorial introduction to the book, is taken from the title of the newspaper, which can be translated as 'words' or 'news' of the Batswana. The newspaper was edited by missionaries of the London Missionary Society (LMS) and printed monthly between 1883 and 1896. Much of the newspaper is devoted to missionary articles and news stories whose viewpoints and information can be found elsewhere, but the letters and articles by Batswana offer a rare glimpse of conversations that took place among literate Africans during a crucial period in the formation of modern South Africa and Botswana. The writings reveal an accelerated development not just of African-European rivalry but also of new identities such as 'Tswana', 'Christian', and 'South African' amid older communities and affiliations that did not correspond with such categories. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]