The population of this town is interesting in that it consists
mainly of Ovaherero who settled there in the 1920`s when they fled
from the Germans in Namibia.
There are also Bekhuruthshe who came from South Africa. The latter
tribe originally settled at Shoshong, which is 40km west of Mahalapye,
but later divided into two separate groups, one group forming Mahalapye
and the other settled along the Boteti river.
In Mahalapye you will also find the headquarters of the Botswana
During those days Ovaherero leadership implored their people to
follow the party of Seretse Khama and the rationale was that, had
it not been for the traditional leadership of Gammangwato, chances
were that they would not have settled in Botswana. When Botswana
gained autonomy from British rule in 1966, some of the Ovaherero
young scholars the likes of Kaitire Ruhapo and Ben Maekopo who had
taken advantage of Namibian liberation struggle education were later
taken into Government service.
Ovaherero in Botswana remained loyal to Botswana and have largely
conducted themselves as Batswana. But they believed in the return
to Namibia. After Namibia’s independence debates about repatriation
culminated into law, that sent a sigh of relief although not all
moved, wanted to move or were able to move. This ambivalence prevails
among large sectors of the community.
Mahalapye has remained the cradle for Ovaherero’s plight for
the motherland, sometimes close and sometimes distant...
Have you visited this area? If so please share your experience and photographs
with us, we would love to include them on this webpage to help future
visitors to this area.