oa Botswana Notes & Records - "It's mine!" "No, it's mine!" Early company squabbles over the borders of the Tati Concession

Volume 33 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0525-5090



In the late nineteenth century the north east district of Botswana was not part of the British controlled Protectorate of Bechuanaland. It was the preserve of a private landed company, the Tati Concession Mining & Exploration Company (TCM&EC) which came into conflict with the larger and infinitely more powerful British South Africa Company (BSAC). The latter had been granted a Royal Charter to occupy and develop British Central Africa, what is today Zimbabwe. Both of these commercial parties based their claims on the resources of their respective areas on concessions signed by Lobengula, the last substantive Matabele king. Their disagreements resulted from different interpretations as to indigenous land rights and the powers vested in them by the concessions granted by Lobengula. What came to a head was not mining properties, their principal right. Instead their conflicts revolved around cattle, trade, labour, hut tax and land, all of which were not actually ceded to them by the Matabele monarch in the first instance.

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