Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Move underway to declare several sites as monuments

The Botswana National Museum is expected to list a number of sites as National Monuments around the country.

Among the sites that are to be listed as National Monuments are the three chiefs’ statue at the Central Business District, Bonnington Farm, Fish Keitseng House in Lobatse, Bessie Head house in Serowe and Kgaboesele House in Lobatse.

Currently, the sites and structures are not recognized as national monuments because they were not listed in government gazette as monuments.

National Museum Chief Curator, Philip Segadika, indicated that currently the sites and structures were not legally protected as monuments under the national monuments and relics act.

According to Segadika, the national museum saw the need to list the sites as national monuments as it is evident that this will enhance the protection of the sites legally.

“Currently, we are at an advance stage where we are expecting the minister to list the sites in the government gazette. After that, the sites will then become monuments. The three chiefs’ statue in the CBD is not covered by the Monuments and Relics Act.┬á They are government property and, once they are listed, they will be protected legally and anyone who damages the sites will be prosecuted using the Monuments and Relics act,” said Segadika.

He is optimistic that, soon, the sites will be listed as monuments in the government gazette.

 He said that the listing of the sites as monuments is important because they are an integral part of Botswana history.

The chief curator stated that some of the sites, such as Fish Keitseng’ House, have to be given the status of monument, considering┬átheir role in the liberation struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

Keitseng, who was a human rights activist at that time, used his house in Peleng to hide the freedom fighters who went for Umkhonto we  Sizwe military  training in Zambia. 

“We have to appreciate Batswana’s┬árole in liberating South Africa,” he added.

One of the houses belonging to Kgaboesele’s family in Lobatse will be among sites to be listed in the gazette.┬á

Kgaboesele family used to host Samora Machel during war of independence against Portugal. Lobatse is known for its hospitality in hosting political leaders in exile. Apart from Samora Machel, Nelson Mandela and other ANC heavyweights stayed in Lobatse.

Segadika also noted that Bessie Head’s home in Serowe will also be part of the sites that will be declared monuments soon after they are gazetted.

He said that the national museum is recognizing her for her immense contribution in the literary work around the world. She has published a number of books that were read around the world.
The sites are expected to be listed anytime after the minister publishes them in Government Gazette.

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