The life and times of NgamilandA book which is bound to be a best seller in Maun and Ngamiland, let alone have pride of place in libraries and other seats of learning was launched in Maun this past Saturday.

Written by former Maun resident and Polish-born author Malgorzata Dziewiecka, the former Gosia Welfing, the “Life and Times of Ngamiland: The Story of Maun” is a story that has long been awaited.

She rightly says the “uniqueness of Maun lies in its remoteness from the modern world in it being situated in the heart of the wilderness.”

It took Gosia – who graduated with a PhD in geography – years of research to gather every possible anecdote about Maun, in particular. The value of the book is that it is full of interviews conducted with some of the area’s best known figures in tribal affairs, politics, the hunting and safari industries, and business.

Many of the interviews were conducted with a people who had never before put down their thoughts on paper and that is what makes this book so important and interesting.

Many give matter-of-fact information while others lace their input with stirring tales of the old “frontier town” of Maun and the trials and tribulations they went through to get here over what some described at the time as “the worst road in the world” – the old dirt track from Francistown to Maun.

 Fast facts about Maun:  
 Founded  1915
 District  North-West Botswana
 Population  Approx. 56 000
 Average yearly temperature  30.6 degree Celsius (high)
 Precipitation  466 mm

 

It is fascinating that many of these “characters” are still resident in the town; such is the immense sense of belonging to a multi-racial society that has had to provide for itself over the last 98 years. The book tells the story of a tribe that moved its capital several times before settling on the site of today’s Maun at the behest of the British Colonial Office which was ruling the then-Bechuanaland Protectorate (today, of course, Botswana).

More importantly, Gosia takes the reader back through the decades, carefully explaining the links between and within the tribes of this area and the “foreigners’ who began arriving here in the 1920s and 1930s. Hunters, shopkeepers, transport riders, cattle farmers from all over the world settled in Ngamiland – they were Afrikaners and English-speakers from South Africa, British, Australians, Greek Cypriots, Rhodesians (now Zimbabweans) and people from further north who made a ramshackle, out-of-the-way village their home.

This is a need-to-have book.

From: thelivingstoneweekly

Date: 2 June 2013