oa Alternation - A critical discourse analysis of forms of address in letters between Batswana Chiefs and British Administrators

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



In the late 1800s Bechuanaland, now Botswana, and other neighbouring countries were in danger of being annexed into South Africa by the powerful Boers. Bechuanaland asked for protection from the British government and in 1885 it was declared a British protectorate (Campbell 1979). Before British rule the country was ruled by chiefs who had a lot of power over the people and the land. The chiefs were responsible for land allocation and the issuing of mine prospecting permits. The advent of the British in 1885 called for the redefinition and regulation of the powers of the chiefs, a step that naturally bred misunderstanding and strains in the relationship between the local chiefs and British administrators. Brown and Gilman (1960:255) point out that power is a relationship between at least two persons, and that it is non-reciprocal in the sense that both cannot have power in the same area of behavior (in Mesthrie et al 2000).

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