oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Sekgoma Letsholathebe's detention and the betrayal of a protectorate

Volume 23, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The year 1910 was a traumatic year for the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now the Republic of Botswana). On 25 April. the Court of Appeal in the King's Bench Division delivered judgment in the case of The King v The Earl of Crewe: Ex parte Sekgome to the effect that His Majesty had unfettered jurisdiction in respect of the protectorate and could expect obedience to a practically unlimited extent. A week later, on 31 May, the Union of South Africa Act of 1909 which envisaged possible future transfer of the British Protectorates in Southern Africa - Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland - to the Union of South Africa. entered into force. This was certainly not the kind of protection the indigenous chiefs had expected to receive from the British. The article relates Chief Sekgoma's fate and his exposure of the British policy in respect of the protectorates.

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