Patayamatebele — The settlement of Patayamatebele within the North East district, could also be small, but it surely has a wealthy historical past.
It’s well-known for its pure landscapes and wealthy cultural traits of quite a few ethnic teams with tens of outdated gold mine shafts, holy locations and an annual attraction for 1000’s of Catholic pilgrims.
The settlement’s title actually interprets to ‘the passage of the Ndebele’ after a bunch of the Ndebele individuals who used it as a hall to cross into close by Zimbabwe after their defeat by the Batswana and Boer in 1837.
Patayamatebele additionally hosts the ruins of the primary identified mining city and the primary Catholic Church in Botswana.
The Outdated Tati graveyard additionally hosts the tombs of two pioneer Catholic missionary monks, making the place a holy web site and the headquarters of the Catholic pilgrims in Botswana.
Yearly, round October, on the feast of Our Woman of Fatima, 1000’s of pilgrims flock to the locality to get pleasure from prayer moments, stations of the cross, rosary walks and to go on spring excursions.
Father Monnamongwe Letsatle of the Holy Household Church in Letlhakane appears to grasp the story higher as he was one of many committee members, led by Father Gabriel Gaie, the administrator of the Diocese of Francistown, to research the story.
He defined that Patayamatebele was the A1 street connecting Botswana to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Father Letsatle recounted that on April 15 1879, a bunch of 11 Jesuits pioneer missionaries left St Aidan’s Faculty in Grahamstown, South Africa, enroute to the inside of Africa, arriving in Shoshong, Botswana in July 1879.
The journey would see the Catholic Church taking root among the many Batswana. He explains that many individuals consider missionaries got here with the Bible and weapons, stressing nonetheless that the 11 missionaries, from completely different nations, certainly didn’t come to colonise however to evangelize.
Father Letsatle mentioned the Zambezi missionaries, as they had been known as, had been assigned by the Vatican’s ministry for the propagation of religion in 1877, to evangelize Southern Africa, with a Belgian Jesuit, Father Henri Depelchin, who had served the final 18 years in Britain and India, appointed because the Superior of the Zambezi mission.
He defined that on July 23, 1879 they reached Shoshong, the then capital of Bangwato, with a inhabitants of about 10 000 individuals, the place they met with Kgosi Khama the Nice (Khama Boikanyo or Khama 111) and the brother to Kgamane, sons of Kgosi Sekgoma, the then 36-year-old Christian Chief of Bangwato, the dominant department of the Batswana.
He mentioned Kgosi Khama, the gentleman of Africa, as he was affectionately known as, was to develop into the one regional chief to provide a heat welcome to the missionaries, whereas many went on to be killed or starved to demise by different chiefs.
“Khama was very cool in his reception, actually because of the affect of the London Missionary Society, and specifically the resident missionary Father James Hepburn, and a sure visiting Father Sykes who had been based mostly a lot additional north in Matabeleland,” mentioned Father Letsatle
He mentioned Kgosi Khama acknowledged he had no want for added lecturers (that means the Catholics) because the Jesuits urged and argued that in the event that they had been each Christians, why did they’ve two events endeavor the identical work.
“He additionally appreciated that the Protestants and Catholics had been very antagonistic in the direction of one another, and that the presence of each might carry battle amongst his tribe,” he added.
Father Letsatle mentioned Kgosi Khama was shocked by the second group of missionaries as a result of he believed that God needs to be served by one not many and he refused them land to remain and gave them permission to move by.
“What surprises me is that Kgosi Khama prophesized very long time in the past that there ought to solely be one church within the nation, not many in any other case they might trigger divisions among the many tribe,” he added.
Father Letsatle mentioned after being disillusioned, the 11 missionaries left Shoshong in July the identical yr and at last arrived at Patayamatebele, which was the previous Outdated Tati, a small gold mine.
He defined that Tati was the final frontier of European settlement to any actual extent and it was an vital centre, the place the roads from the south converged and people northwards diverged.
“Because of this it had develop into an vital buying and selling centre from which provides from the south could possibly be extra simply obtained. On the time there have been solely 19 European and twenty non-white settlers occupying six homes, which had been all that remained of the settlement,” mentioned Father Letsatle.
He defined that the missionaries then began a mission, which they devoted to the Immaculate coronary heart of Mary.
These missions served white settlers and some blacks, who had been engaged on the gold mine and so they later began a college which they named “Our Woman of Good Hope” which ran as much as 1885, earlier than the mission closed.
He defined that sadly, Father Fuchs was the primary to die of unknown ailment 9 months after leaving for Grahamstown, South Africa for medical consideration. Little did the missionaries know that the place (Patayamatebele) was a fever lure due to the Tati river.
Father Letsatle mentioned different missionaries then crossed into Zimbabwe to discovered different mission stations, while others went to Zambia to ascertain related missions.
He mentioned Father Anthony de Moist then took over the management of the mission in Outdated Tati, however he died in 1882. In March 1883, he mentioned Father Prestage, the priest in command of Outdated Tati mission, recorded in his diary that he had 13 native and two white kids, along with three native adults within the mission faculty.
Nevertheless, the entire enterprise was deemed not a hit and the remaining miners crossed into close by South Africa to work on the gold mines, which made it troublesome to maintain the mission and it was finally closed in September 1884.
Father Letsatle mentioned Patayamatebele is the place the primary Motswana from the Catholic church was baptized, based on archeologist, a sure Mr Burret, who additionally investigated the realm.
“This is likely one of the the reason why each yr, Catholics collect on the grave to have fun holy mass and make pilgrimage to the tombs of our ancestor monks, a religious journey accompanied by many guarantees from God related to those that consider,” he added.
Father Letsatle defined that on July 4, 1999, a commemorative plaque was erected on the head of the 2 monks’ graves on behalf of the Jesuit Province of Zimbabwe.
The pilgrimage has strengthened and united the Diocese of Francistown regardless of its huge geographical actuality.
He mentioned there have been studies of healings and miracles as a result of this was a Godly place and that Catholics of the Diocese of Francistown contemplate the place a miraculous place.
“For the previous three years that we now have been right here, we now have skilled miracles and healings, be it spiritually, bodily or mentally,” he added.
Father Letsatle mentioned the Catholic Church was now working with the Ministry of Atmosphere Pure Assets Conservation and Tourism and the Division of Museums to pursue religious tourism, the place the locals can profit from tourism surrounding religious actions.
“We don’t need the place to be the monopoly of the church, different Christians are welcomed to hope on the place,” he added.
He defined that the place was a package deal for tourism, including “the place is quiet and affords good retreat and religious workouts”.
He mentioned the place had a variety of tourism actions as a result of Patayamatebele or Outdated Tati was the primary space of gold mining exploration in Southern Africa, including that this was the explanation why Botswana was considered the headquarters of mining in Southern Africa.
Father Letsatle defined that there have been additionally outdated ruins on the web site and on the centre of the ruins is a pyramid, which was now being threatened by climate situations, lamenting that Botswana was about lose one in all its first monuments if motion will not be taken instantly.
He additionally acknowledged that there was additionally a smelter, which was utilized by miners to smelt gold on the web site.
He mentioned, the river (Tati) was additionally a pure attraction as a result of alongside it, there are farmers who’re additionally keen to host vacationers, including that the place additionally had potential for agro tourism.
Father Letsatle mentioned final yr, church members couldn’t collect on the place to worship on account of COVID-19 however this yr, prefer it or not, the occasion will go forward as deliberate in October, as they’ve put in place all COVID-19 protocols.
He mentioned the church had utilized to be allotted the land, not simply to guard it, however to safe it or make it secure for individuals to hope within the bush.
Supply : BOPA