Accepted Paper:

has pdf download The Tati Training Institute and self-determination in the BuKalanga borderlands (1932-1941)  


Ross Melczer (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Paper Short Abstract:

The clandestine subtext embedded the writings of Botswanan educator and nationalist K.T. Motsete shows that he advocated for imperial rule in the 1930s as a strategy to deflect colonial depredations and encourage African self-determination.

Paper long abstract:

In partnership with Kalanga communities in what is today Botswana and Zimbabwe, intellectual, educator, and nationalist K.T. Motsete founded the Tati Training Institute, the first secondary school in Botswana in 1932. Based on a prudent reading of the archive pertaining to Motsete and analysis of the clandestine subtext embedded in his writings, this paper argues that despite redeploying liberal terminology and demanding multi-racial partnership in the 1920s and 1930s, Motsete and his Southern African intellectual colleagues accommodated British imperialism as a strategy to deflect colonial depredations and encourage African self-determination. Motsete's school was the actualization of a profound political and socio-economic strategy to advance African communities. It emerged out of a complex mixture of Africans' pursuit of education, resistance to colonialism, ethnic struggles, and the uncertain promises of development on the margins of the British Empire. The BaKalanga were engaged in a resistance movement led by she (chief) John Madawo Nswazwi (1875-1960) against the bolstering of the colonial border that violently split their community between Southern Rhodesia and the Bechuanaland Protectorate. They were colonial outliers who embraced Motsete and European-style education as a means to manage their socio-economic position and retain cultural continuity in the face of emerging challenges presented by colonialism and the politically dominant Africans and Europeans in the region. Thus, TjiKalanga speaking communities embraced European-style education as a means to unmake their political isolation and socio-economic marginality. Yet, Motsete faced the ever-present challenge to promote the school in a manner where it would generate favor in the minds of the British government and the school's European benefactors. Despite his immense education and tactful political and educational strategy, he was ultimately frustrated by the inherent inadequacies of African liberalism and unable resolve the dilemma of promoting European-style education within the context of British imperial rule.

Panel A02
History of education in Africa [initiated by URMIS - Nice]