The colourful history of the
"Place of Reeds"
It is a town world-renowned for many things – from big game
hunting, wildlife, bush and desert safaris, heavy drinking,
bachelors, and parties, to being the gateway to the magnificent
The beginnings of Maun started with dissent among the tribal
elders of the Batawana people.
Maun was not always the capital of Ngamiland. Before 1915, the
capital gravitated between Tsau, Nokaneng and Toteng, depending
where the water was more plentiful, but eventually it was
necessary to put down roots, and after long debate, the present
Maun was chosen as the ideal place.
In the end, it took British officials running the affairs of the
then-Bechuanaland Protectorate to convince the chief of the need
to stay in Maun, even though the tribe once packed up and left
for the Boro River, where they established a temporary
This magnet for rural people eager to find work has been
described in many different ways, from being “a place too far
from civilisation,” tsetse fly infested (in its early days but
now eradicated), rumbustious, the last frontier, and “a dreadful
hole”, to the far more delightful and appropriate, the 'Place of
This is our Maun.
Ninety years as the capital of the Ngamiland region, Maun has
developed from a very small village into the bustling place it
is today. It is still regarded as an urban village, but now the
North West District Council (NWDC) that administers this vast
region has agreed Maun needs town status.
It is argued that Maun has a growing population (at last count
94,698) and is the shopping Mecca for the whole of Ngamiland and
the northern part of Central District. Some tribal elders and
early settlers bemoan the passing of village life into town
life but accept the inevitable in a changing world.
There are also numerous small to medium-sized industries that
have sprung up over the past few years, many in the last two to
three years, providing much-needed employment to an impoverished
region where village life dominates in the bush and on the
wetlands of the delta as it has for centuries past.
Not a successful capital at
The Historical Dictionary of Botswana describes Maun in its
early years as not being a very successful capital centre due to
tsetse fly that was “keeping people away.” The tsetse was
eventually eradicated in the 1930s and 1940s and, after that,
began to thrive and develop to what it is today.
Records show that in 1936 there were just 600 people living
here, and this figure reached 4,359 by 1964. There were fewer
people in Maun proper than in Shakawe at the same period.
Population growth has been a feature of the area’s development.
In 1971, Maun had a population of 9,614 that grew to 13,925 in
1981, an annual growth rate at the time of 4.5%. By 1991, it was
26,769 and today Maun and surrounding villages are home
to 94,698 (2001 census). Maun is the largest settlement in the
Ngamiland district and is classified as a primary centre in
terms of the National Settlement Policy.
Maun was declared a planning area with effect from April 18,
1995, when it became mandatory that a statutory development plan
had to be prepared within two years.
‘Resemblance to a normal human
community was fleeting’
The legendary Harry Riley at the wheel of his open tourer in
Maun. The rest of the party are unidentified. Note the fashions
of the day!
(Photo: Doug Wright)
A Bechuanaland Protectorate Police patrol in the bush of
Ngamiland (circa 1930s)
(Photo: Doug Wright)
The history of Maun reads like a novel – how tribesmen followed
by traders and hunters first came to the area, the length of
time it took to travel between the village and Nata, Shakawe or
The dreadful state of the roads. Deep sand and more deep sand
crossing inhospitable country. The delivery of mail, for
instance, took weeks from Shakawe as vehicles were struck in the
sand for days on the old road.
School children on their way to classes in other parts of the
country and in South Africa were often stranded for days at a
time when the Nata River, 300km from Maun, came down in flood –
and were then admonished by their teachers, who had little idea
of the hardships of bush life, for being late for class!
The arrival of motor vehicles was a great event and the first to
reach Maun were government Chevrolet trucks. The first Motswana
to own a car in Ngamiland was Chief Moremi III. Thomas Kay
opened the first motorised transport business with a Chevrolet
“taking freight to and from Livingstone.”
It was a red letter day for this area, where the total number of
registered vehicles in 1966 was just 96! Today, of course, there
are many, many more.
One of the earliest Europeans to settle here was Charles Riley,
a trader in the Protectorate from about 1882 and with good
friendships with senior chiefs. He opened liquor stores and
hotels, including what is today the Cresta Riley’s Hotel in the
centre of the town. His son was the legendary Harry Riley around
whose business much of the Maun town centre gravitates, even
The growth of Maun as administrative capital continued apace,
with a police station, agriculture officials, a courtroom, in
1934 a hospital (originally started by the Zambezi Union of the
Seventh Day Adventist Mission Church and the hospital named as
“Maun Medical Mission”), Riley’s Hotel and garage, a Post
Office, six general trading stores, butcheries and a mobile bank
which came in once a week to park under a tree.
The first aircraft to land here were either enroute to South
Africa from the then South-West Africa (now Namibia) or the
WENELA (Witwatersrand Endentured Native Labour Association)
plane arriving between 1952 and 1963 to collect many workers
recruited for the fabled gold mines of South Africa’s
The first Maun person to own an aircraft was Harry Riley, and it
is recorded that he was so jealous of his flying machine that
when the Acting Government Secretary in Mafeking asked whether
he could use the plane, he was told, politely, “No.” Aircraft –
such as the six-seater Dragon Moth - used to land in front of
what is today’s Riley’s Garage on Tsheko Tsheko Road and only
later was the new airstrip opened on the site of today’s Maun
The earliest scheduled airline to use Maun was from South Africa
and flew to here via Palapye Road and then on to Windhoek in Namibia
- and that was just 40 years or less after Orville and Wilbur
Wright had in the United States mastered the art of flying
heavier-than-air machines. Tickets for air flights out of Maun
were issued from the boot of a motor car and there were none of
the niceties of having travel agents in those days.
It was a time when bubonic plague and rabies ruled the lives of
doctors but on the plus side, in those days the water from the
river was “excellent,” according to old-timers.“ There was no
pollution but “residents had coarse filters fitted to take out
the sand,” recalled a former District Officer, Brian Read, in an
interview he gave in 1996.
June Vendall Clark, author of the fascinating book “Starlings
Rising”- an authentic history of not only Maun but also
Ngamiland and the old Rhodesia – described the “wattle-and-daub”
Maun as “the searing hot capital of an African hunting tribe.”
She recalls that when she first came to Maun in 1959 she almost
missed it – the main road took her past a few petrol pumps, and
a small burial ground as well as Riley’s Hotel and Store.
“Francistown may have been the pits, but I soon discovered that
any resemblance between Maun and a normal human community was
fleeting,” she wrote. “It consisted mainly of dust, goats,
milkweed hedges and flagrantly passionate donkeys. It was
nothing more than a desert outpost, with no atmosphere to speak
of and totally lacking in charm.”
Had it not been for a police radio link to Francistown, “Maun
could have vanished and never been missed.” Clark, in
particular, remembers Maun to be what she called “a divided
town” among whites – Europeans on the one side, Afrikaners on
She had some good words, too. “The glory of Maun was the
Thamalakane River. It would have been wholly unthinkable to live
in Maun itself, so we cast around for a suitable island to
retreat to and at last we found one.”
The personal diaries of veteran Jack Bousfield shed some light
on the state of the roads from Francistown to Maun in 1965. He
writes “the road, although the main Bechuanaland highway, is
only fit for 4-wheel drive vehicle because it is deep sand.”
Bousfield says of Maun - “it is built on the Thamalakane River
which is usually strong and fast flowing but in years of drought
this was reduced to a series of large ponds. We camped on the
traditional space near the bridge and went into town to fix up
hunting licences and buy some food . . . there is a hotel in
Maun with a pub where everybody gather to discuss events.” It
was where Bousfield came across numerous friends.
The characters of Maun live
There are so many wonderful characters who have become part of
Maun’s folklore that it is almost impossible to recollect them
Old timers have many stories too – the likes of George Riley,
Harry Riley, Cronje Wilmot, Bobby Wilmot, Lionel Palmer, Kennie
Kays, “The Floating Trophy” (a young woman), dapper British
district commissioners, and many more. They, along with people
such as Doug Wright, Cecil Riggs and Harry Selby, provided Maun
with a special aura and galvanised people into “visiting the
bush” to see the wild animals that abounded in the scrublands,
jungles and wetlands of northern Botswana.
The antics of some of the characters resulted in the Botswana
Police sending a team into Maun to “tame the hillbillies of
Maun,” as it was stated by a senior officer. This did not seem
to deter the roistering that was the order of the day.
And no one who has lived in this village for many years will not
recall the wonderful Regent of the Batawana, Pulane, whose
single-handed efforts won the day in having the Moremi Game
Reserve declared as a conservation area. Her efforts alone are
worthy of being among the greatest gift that Maun could give to
the people of Botswana. Described by old timers as “a wonderful
woman,” she set Maun on the path to modernity in what was then
very much a changing world.
The arrival of 'proper'
Medical attention was rudimentary, to say the least, in the very
early years of Maun’s existence. The first hospital was started
in the mid-1930s when the Zambezi Union of the Seventh Day
Adventist Mission offered to build it, “with 20 beds for natives
in the first year and four additional beds the following year.”
There would be a doctor in the first year and two doctors and
two qualified nurses (one white and one black) in the second
year. The hospital was called “Maun Medical Mission of the
Seventh Day Adventists” and was opened with the director, a Dr.
Freedman, from California, United States. Teas, beer and tobacco
were prohibited at the hospital, which didn’t make it very
In 1936, Dr. C. Paul Bingle from Scotland came to Maun hospital –
he had failed his exams in Edinburgh on two occasions and he had
to try again in April 1936. It is not recorded if he was
successful. The Maun Maternity Centre opened in 1945 through the
efforts of the London Missionary Society (LMS) with a Miss
Taylor as its head and then Pat Hollomby, from England, came out
– she still lives in Maun as Mrs. Pat Dance.
The old Maun hospital which opened more than 60 years ago is
being replaced by this multi million pula new hospital situated
at Disaneng. It is scheduled to be completed in mid 2008.
(Photo: Steve Hollingworth)
The ups-and-downs of a desert
There have been many ups and downs in the formation of Maun over
the past nine decades.
Veteran politician Gaerolwe Kwerepe, born 76 years ago in Maun,
said the settlement was originally called “Mao,” which means
river reeds in the Wayeyi language, and he adds that the
settlement originated in Tsau in about 1911 before the Batawana,
Bayeyi and Banaja settled down amicably in the area.
Kwerepe recalled that at the time, Kgosi Mathiba, with the help
of chief subordinates (Dikgosana) ruled the land. He was
followed by Moremi, who took over in 1937 and ruled until 1946
when the much-loved Pulane became Regent. She was the driving
force in the end behind the establishment of the Moremi Game
In 1964, Letsholathebe took over until the 1970s, when Tawana I
became chief. After his death, Mathiba Moremi became Regent
until Tawana II took the throne in 1996, giving it up in 2004,
when the new chief was appointed. She is Kealetile Moremi.
“During those days there was no tourism and instead people
practiced subsistence hunting,” said Kwerepe. The first whites
to come to the village were South African hunters. There was no
land, so land allocation was the responsibility of the Dikgosana
and land overseers known as “baimane ba kgosing." They
stood as the intermediaries between the chief and the people of
According to Kwerepe, people had a limited political knowledge
and instead believed in chieftainship (Bogosi). He himself was
one of the first people to start politics in Maun.
Chiefs restricted the people from drinking liquor as it was
believed alcohol would disturb their minds but they were however
allowed to drink traditional beer as was the custom.
This amazing looking machine was known as The Great Papyrus
Cutting Machine, which was pressed into service to try and
control the spread of papyrus blocking waterways in the delta. Built by the Army
Corps of Engineers, and later cut up for scrap, which provided
the material for the construction of the first ferry across the
Zambezi River at Kazungula
(Photo: Doug Wright)
A big improvement on the original road, the road to Nata
pictured here before it was tarred in the 1990s
(Photo: Lee Ouzman)
A great event during 1943 was the opening of the “new”
Francistown-Nata-Maun road, a two-wheel track that cut through the
bush and the Makgadikgadi Pans. South Africa’s “The Star”
newspaper wrote in 1966: “To many people it is the world’s worst
road – the 320 miles between Francistown and Maun in northern
Since then, of course, tarred roads now link Maun with all parts
of the country – the last being from Kuke Corner to Sehitwa on
the Ghanzi-Maun route.
Thamalakane River: the backbone of livelihoods and recreation
(Photo: Doug Wright)
Thamalakane has always been the river along which Maun thrived.
It was both a waterway for livelioods and also a prime
recreation area. The above picture of a family enjoying themselves on
the river banks near the junction of the Thamalakane and the Boro rivers - what is today known as the Beach - gives an idea
of how people spent their leisure time. For many the river was
also a place in which they could bathe and use as a make-shift
Bojosi Tlhapi, former headman of Boyeyi ward, said that people
in old-time Maun lived through hunting, farming and fishing,
adding that the Thamalakane River was the backbone of their
He recalls that in 1948, the Bayeyi chose Moeti Ramotsoko to be
their leader as a result of their resistance to be ruled by
Moremi, who was a Batawana. This was due to what people regarded
as unfavourable allocation of land. He said the land allocation
was unfair because Moremi allocated land to Ba Herero, who had
come to the district from today’s Namibia. After Ramotsoko,
Tsombo Sasul became the leader, followed by Ramaeba Moshupokwe
until Tlhapi himself took the leadership from 1977 until 2002.
Another elder of the village, Ketshwaetswe Kalayakgosi, born in
1923, revealed that the first ethnic groups to occupy Maun were
Basarwa and Bayeyi, adding the Batawana were received with open
arms when the tribe migrated from Tsau, Kgwebe and Toteng. They
have lived in harmony ever since.
Milestones in our history
1882: Charles riley, trader, settles in Maun area
1912: ‘Flu epidemic kills 40
1913: British High Commissioner approves site for new capital.
Start made on building of Government Camp (near today’s
1913: First inspection of site of present-day Maun by Batawana
and British resident magistrate
1914: Britain refuses to move district administration to a new
1921: Cattle route from Maun to Kazungula opened
1921: Black assistants appointed in shops in defiance of the
custom of the day
1922: Huts built for accommodation on site of existing Riley’s
1928: First motor vehicles appeared
1928: Establishment of “the European School”
1931: First motorised transport business
1933: Building of the first hospital
1938: Erection of Maun radio mast
1938: First generator installed to power radio mast
1943: Opening of a two-wheel track from Maun to Francistown
1945: Opening of maternity centre
1948: Barclays Bank operated in Maun
1950: Post Office opened
1952: First aircraft arrived to take mine labourers to South
1954: Tennis club established
1954: Rifle club established
1954: Women’s Institute established
1966: Botswana declared independence
1966: There were 96 motor vehicles in Maun
1971: Population of Maun 9,614
1974: Highest annual rainfall (1 200mm) recorded. Annual average
of 450mm recorded since 1921-22.
1981: Population of Maun 13 925
1983-84: Major flooding inundated some wards
1995: Maun declared a planning area
1997: Maun Planning Area Development Plan published
1999: Establishment of The Ngami Times
2002: Population of Maun town 43,776 and district 49,822
Royalty lived away from the
The Batawana had built the royal ward away from the river
because of a fear of hippos, crocodiles, snakes,
malaria-carrying mosquitoes and for hygienic reasons - the
vegetation on the river banks was treated as a toilet and sandy
spots referred to as “bathroom” and “laundry.” The Batawana
considered the Europeans settling on the river banks as
“brainless people” but began to change their opinion as they
started to change a custom of treating the river bank as toilets
towards the end of the 1980s. Illnesses began to plague the
area, with tsetse fly menacing Maun and there were confirmed
cases of sleeping sickness in the valley along which the Maun-Tsau
The Department for the Eradication of Tsetse, called the “tsetse
fly control,” was established in Maun, with its director Crawshaw, and field officers E.C. Wilmot, A.H. Casalis, D.J. Odendaal, M. Drotsky, Burger and 429 Africans.
Maun 'the social heart of
of the social centres of old Maun was Crocodile Camp. This
picture shows where the river used to reach - where the
riverside bar and swimming pool are now situated. The hut still
stands and is still the camp administration office
When the new station commander of the Bechuanaland Protectorate
Police, G. Nettleton, arrived in Maun on July 21, 1916, he found
that the only way to get to the place was from the north-east
side, established by the ivory traders. The journey had to be
done on wagons pulled by 6 to 8 oxen, usually loaded with
luggage and on a light scotch passenger wagon which was pulled
by horses. The travellers were always accompanied by spare oxen
and a wagon carrying a water barrel – a vital necessity then as
it is today.
The part from Kavimba through the Goaha Hills and Mababe was
always crossed at night because of the presence of tsetse fly
and of course lions, hyenas and elephants “accompanied” the
travellers, as they do today.
It was only in 1928 that the first motor vehicles appeared on
Maun’s roads – government-owned 5-ton Chevrolets. Chief Moremi
III was the first African in Ngamiland to own a vehicle, a Jeep.
By 1916 the government camp consisted of buildings with massive
walls, roofed with thatch and spacious rooms and verandahs. The
river was big and was full of hippo and enormous crocodiles, which
“snapped sheep and goats from the shores and inspired fantastic
As one local shopkeeper named Bridgman told Nettleton: “The croc
comes with such a rush that he makes a tidal wave which goes
right over the goat.”
The centre of Maun, and the central point of Ngamiland society,
was defined by a big cattle closure – a kgotla. Next to it were
big basket silos for storing grain. The settlement stretched in
a semi circle around the royal ward with the chief’s huts, huts
of the closest members of his family and the huts of the serfs –bathlanka.
At that time, there were 300 people living in Maun.
Traders in those far-off years included Bridgman, Riley, Susan,
Harry (from Mafeking), G.T. Drotsky, H.J. van Staden, D. Opperman,
L.G. Deaconos, Swan, Carolan, the thatcher Scheepers, Cowdrey (a
builder), Van der Berg, Stigand, Nettleton and three policeman –
Pool, H.Baker and Norwebb.
A capital that kept moving
From its very beginning, Maun was where its people were. When
they were leaving, it went with them. It wandered. It was the
royal village, and the fate of the people was also its fate.
In the years 1897-1903, the Taoge River, lagoons and pans in the
vicinity of Tsau dried out, sand covering the grazing land,
malaria and rinderpest wiping out people and animals.
A great flu epidemic killed 40 people in July-August 1912 and
resulted in the tribe deserting the place.
The capital had to move once more. In a panic, the tribe chose
Moshung on the edge of the Okavango delta marshes about 30km
The chief communicated with Captain A.G. Stigand, the resident
manager/justice of the peace/administrator of the Batawana
Reserve and the head of the Bechuanaland Protectorate Police in
the region. So it is to Stigand that Maun is indebted for its
He convinced the chief that Moshung was as bad as the unhealthy
Tsau. He explained to the chief, who apparently did not know too
much about his reserve, that “preferring two pleasures of beer
and ladies’ society to the simple life of the veldt” there could
not be a healthier place (as Maun).
The chief then went out to “prospect for a site,” historians
tell us. A place near the confluence of the Thamalakane and Boteti rivers was chosen, on the road to Serowe as it lay near
the Boteti along which the track to the south ran – it was a
place called Maun.
The word “Maun,” in the Seyei language, described a part of the
Thamalakane River’s course where the banks were elevated, here
and there covered with reeds. There was a small Bayei village
existing but Chief Mathiba ordered the settlement’s chief,
Pitsanyane, to vacate the space for the Batawana people.
The Bayei moved a few kilometres away to Tsanakona, which is
today one of the wards of Maun. At the confluence of the
Thamalakane, Boteti and Nhabe rivers is a place called Dikgatong
or Kgantshang, which was populated by San/Basarwa and on the
nearby Shashe River lived the Manage, of the river tribe Banoka.
The chief presented his plan to Stigand for approval and on
February 26, 1913, the High Commissioner in Cape Town accepted
the removal of the main Batawana village from Tsau to the banks
of the Thamalakane.
During his inspection, Stigand chose a terrain in the mopane
forest for the construction of the government camp. Today, this
camp is highly valued for the preserved old trees, the vicinity
of the river and the wonderful view of what is now known as the
Maun Game Sanctuary.
But in 1916 there were already complaints – to quote from old
records: “Millions of mosquitoes, with the river very nice for
bathing. It is necessary to take quinine. No grazing because the camp is in the middle of a mopane
forest. The little grass at the water’s edge will soon be eaten
and animals in the station – horses, mules, oxen – are in a
shocking state. It is clear that the man who selected this site
only spent two days here.” But it was not all plain sailing – a
dispute in 1913 resulted in chief and some of his followers
electing to move from Maun and settled temporarily on the Boro
River, where a new temporary capital of the Batawana was
However, in 1914, Chief Mathiba Moremi married the mother of his
son, Kealitile Motshlakgetse, according to British law by
Stigand. There was also other dissent – some members of the
tribe under the rule of Westhootsile refused to move to Maun
because they said “it is not a nice place and there is no grass
for the cattle.” This is still the case today but instead of
wagons pulled by oxen or donkeys in those years, there are now
4x4s to take people to their far-flung cattle posts. In 1925,
when Lake Ngami filled up, the tribe decided to move back to
their traditional area – to Toteng. But the administration of
the Protectorate refused to do so, as they did not wish to build
another government camp and moreover didn’t have the money for
it. Nettleton demanded up to 4,000 pounds from the tribe for the
construction of a new camp as he was of the opinion that after
three or four years, Toteng would become again “the most
desolate spot . . . a most unpleasant place.” A year later, the
tribe decided to remain where they were – in Maun. Construction
of the Maun government camp was undertaken by the firm of Swan &
Carolan, of Tsau, at a cost of 764 pounds, and had to be
completed by June 1914. Three hundred trees were felled and
for that permission had to be granted by the Resident
Commissioner, stationed in Mafeking, South Africa.
But the camp was delayed for two years because of the great flu
epidemic, a lack of bricklayers and financial troubles for the
Before the advent of government by the people the administration
of Maun and the rest of the country was the responsibility of
the Bechuanaland Protectorate Government, which had its capital
at Mafeking, South Africa - the only country with its capital
outside the national borders and the visit by government
officials was a big event.
Traders had an early start in
old Maun Fresh Produce store (now Shoprite)
(Photo: Lee Ouzman)
Shops in early Maun were in trading centres reserved for owners
of European origin, who since the advent of the Protectorate
were obliged to buy permission to exercise their profession –
known as “the trader licence”.
When in 1921, due to a lack of a white population, some of the
traders began to employ black assistants – which was in those
years against common thinking and against the trend to prevent
Africans to trade as potential competitors to the whites – a
petition was sent to the Resident Commissioner in Mafeking in
which a protest was made “against making a black responsible for
a European store.”
Traders put their iron sheet shops in the royal ward area, today
the oldest shopping centre in Maun. One of those shops, Bailey’s
Shop, survived in its original form for many years and is today
erected as a monument to the history of Maun in the grounds of
Nhabe Museum. It had originally been owned by a Mr Weatherilt,
Bailey, a shopkeeper and cattle trader from Palapye, bought the
shop later. It was made of galvanised sheets, could be folded
down, loaded on an ox-wagon and carried to a new place if
The size of such shops was impressive because it served three
purposes – a shop, a storeroom and a living space – the homes of
the traders. Bailey’s Shop measured 120 sq.m. and the traders
lived in the shop areas, which in this ward have not really
changed to this day, particularly in the case of Greek traders
who began their migration into Ngamiland in 1915, led by a
Cypriot, L.G. Deaconos, whose family today runs Maun’s popular Sports
Then there was Harry Riley, said by the Resident Commissioner at
the time to be from Northern Rhodesia but the family says he
came from the island of St Helena, in the Atlantic. He was
baptised Harry De Bobo Riley, and was a trader and shareholder
in many shops in Ngamiland as well as being a cattle speculator.
Riley opened with his two brothers the famous Riley’s I, Riley’s
II, and Riley’s III stores which existed until the end of the
1980s. In 1921, Riley cut the so-called cattle route from Maun
to Kazangula and over time he also became a transporter, the
owner of the first petrol station and garage, which continues to
function today, and the owner of the first hotel in Maun.
A trader of those times had to know everything connected to
trade and transport and his firm had to be universal in stature
as there was no other point of reference. Shops also served
social purposes – the first social centres.
Stock Inspector on patrol near Maun in oxen-drawn Scotch cart
(Photo: Doug Wright)
Traders were usually blood related to the village “because of
the children with different concubines,” recalls one historian.
They were the living hearts of the settlements, laughing with
people instead of being angry, helping with credit, and knowing
the life and troubles of the settlement as invariably they were
discussed with him in the shops. By 1922, Maun was made up of
about 500 huts and six European-owned shops. The
shopkeeper-assistants of the time included G.Scott, J. Riley, L.G. Deaconos, Bridgman and H.C.Weatherilt.
Deaconos also owned a shop in Gumare and everyone traded in
cattle as well. Exports were organised by the firm of Susman and
Riley, owned by James Riley, who was Harry Riley’s elder
brother. Harry was the manager. In Tsau, M. Kays and Atkins
lived at their shops while in Nokaneng, there were McGilp,
The resident commissioner, G. Nettleton, described these people
as ”two qualities keep most people going – incredible courage
and something of great promise.” The manager of a shop was A.E.
Freeman, who later, after the shop was bought by Bailey, became
manager of Bailey’s store. Today, the Freeman family are the
owners of all the Bailey’s shops in Palapye and other parts of
The Ngami Times, Maun - www.ngamitimes.com)