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Title: A history of the Molemas, African notables in South Africa, 1880s to 1920s
Author: Moguerane, Khumisho Ditebogo
ISNI:       0000 0000 5560 1226
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is a family history of Silas Molema and his three children from the late 1880s to the late 1920s. The Molemas were a family of devout Methodists and educated chiefs in Mafikeng north of British Bechuanaland (part of the Cape colony in 1895) but they held extensive landholdings across the border in the Bechuanaland Protectorate. The thesis explores education, landholding and political office as strategies through which the Molemas attempted to maintain their position of class, status and power. Chiefs perceived formal annexation by Britain in 1885 also as opportunity to pursue greater self-determination, preserve the institutions of chiefly rule, and sustain respectable livelihoods. These aspirations had come to be experienced and understood as sechuana, which was a fluid reconstruction of tradition that helped Molemas and other Bechuana notables straddle incongruous cultural spheres along a racially and ethnically diverse colonial frontier. The thesis argues that nationhood was a key identification through which Molemas and other educated Bechuana saw themselves, and considers why they imagined their nation within the British Empire. The thesis also points to the various historical transformations and private entanglements that enmeshed various conceptions of nationhood into the everyday experience of the family as an emotive and socialising institution. These sentiments of nationhood profoundly shaped this family’s self-understanding, and mediated the choices children made about work, marriage and other significant relationships. The challenge to transfer inherited privilege across generations shaped identities, intersected with the reconfiguration of the local political economy, and impinged upon structural transformations in southern Africa.
Supervisor: Beinart, William Sponsor: Orisha
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of Africa ; History of the British Empire in Bechuanaland ; Family History ; Indirect Rule ; Silas Molema