Modern Shoshong   

Customary Court

The Bakaa kgotla in 2014 with inset Lebelwane Mosinyi, and scenes during the enthronement of Kgosi Mosinyi of the Bakaa in 2012 (© Amelia Plant).

Shoshong is made up of Bakaa (30 wards), Baphaleng (32 wards) and Kgamane (7 housesteads). [1] The Bakaa and Baphaleng both have their own kgosi and kgotla in addition to the village level customary court. In the 1970’s, not long after Independence, a system was agreed whereby the Mophaleng/ Mokaa chiefs alternated at the customary court, each serving an agreed term.

Following Kgosi Tshwene’s son, Mosinyi Tshwene Mosinyi, Lebelwane Mosinyi became kgosi of the Bakaa in 1957 until his death in 2005. In 2012 his son Mosinyi was inaugurated as the current kgosi.

However, in 2012, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, the son of Setohile who was Governor of Shoshong until 1970, announced that the he was returning the overall chieftainship to the Kgamane family and installed Felix Kgamane as regent for his son Setohile. [2] This has caused much controversy in the village, and has led to appeals to the current President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama (the great-grandson of Khama III) to intervene.


Independence day celebrations at the main kgotla (2013) and MP’s Duke Lefhoko and Philip Makgalemele.

Ever since Independence, the MP for Shoshong has been a member of the ruling party, the BDP. Following the original MP Goareng Mosinyi (MP from 1965 until 1989), Esther Mosinyi took over until 1994. Modibedi Robi was MP for a number of years, followed by Duke Lefhoko who became assistant minister of Trade & Industry, but narrowly lost the BDP candidate elections in 2008 to Phillip Makgalemele, who was duly elected MP at the elections in 2009. In 2010 Makgalemele briefly joined a breakaway party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy, following its formation, but shortly after returned to the BDP.


Bokaa ward graveyard (2013) and inset the Shoshong health clinic.

The Shoshong Clinic opened in the 1960’s and moved to its current location in 1979. Throughout Botswana, the 1990’s saw the start of the devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic. Anti-retrovirals (ARVs) were made available in Mahalapye in 2003 and then in Shoshong from 2008 and have helped stabilise the situation, but a walk in the Shoshong graveyard is all that is needed to see the terrible impact of the disease.


Early morning funeral procession of cars accompany the coffin to the burial site (& copy Amelia Plant) and prayers taking place at the house.

Funerals and weddings (see next page) are important occasions when the whole community gathers together.

Wedding celebrations in Shoshong - Old Shoshong is always a popular spot for wedding photos (© Jacob Knight)


B&W photo of a typical tapstand (not Shoshong) Michael Kahn c1980. Shoshong vacuum sewer during installation (Roediger Vacuum GmbH). Disused tapstand behind Mokaaesi plot, Bokaa ward (2013).

In the 1970’s, Shoshong was served with potable water from a small number of standpipes, and large queues would often form of people waiting for water. Gradually these were replaced with metered water connections to each plot.

The road from Mahalapye to Shoshong was tarred in 1993.

Mains electricity reached Shoshong around 2000, but as of 2014 a large number of houses are still not connected.

An innovative vacuum sewerage system was installed around 2003, where sewage is pulled by vacuum to the ponds and treatment works to the east of the village. This is one of the first examples of a village level vacuum system anywhere in the world.

Shoshong Supermarket in 2014 (exterior and inside). Former “Bokaa Small Trading” store, and exterior and interior of the Shoshong Library (opened in 2001).

Many shops have come and gone - the Supermarket on the main road near the petrol station held a near monopoly for a long time until 2013 when a branch of national chain “Choppies” was opened.

The Future

Entering Shoshong on the Mahalapye road (2013)

It is difficult to predict what the future holds for Shoshong. Surveys in 2010 discovered significant Uranium deposits in the area, which may lead to changes in the sleepy village at some point.

However, let us hope that Shoshong’s long and colourful history is not forgotten.


[1] email from Susan Keitumetse.
[2] Seretse Gasebalwe (2013) “Kgamane clears mist on Shoshong chieftaincy.” Mmegi Aug 9 2013

Next chapter - Acknowledgements

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