In previous studies about the histories of the Tswana in general and those in present day south east Botswana in particular in the 19th century, some scholars either consciously or unconsciously made overstatements about the politics of war to the detriment of other crucial socio-economic factors. The settlement nexus of the Tswana especially on particular hills in present day south east Botswana has been mainly attributed to security measures against warfare which apparently appeared to be a perpetual phenomenon. Very little was said about the equally important socio-economic aspects. That was because the settlement patterns and situations of the Tswana were not a priority in the previous studies hence understatements about their socio-economic outlooks, development and adaptations. This study seeks to juxtapose, in a balanced manner, both the political and socio-economic realities in the 19th century. It has been established that whereas warfare played a crucial role in the settlement nexus of some Tswana groups on particular hills during the Mfecane and after the Boer-Bakwena war of 1852, there were other concurrent pulling factors. These included topography, prestige, adequate water supplies, the proximity of watercourses, the wide distribution of fertile soils and sustainable pastures, the abundance of iron ore deposits, wild animals and veld products, the availability and accessibility of building materials, the threats of periodic flash floods and river flooding, the diverse population densities and the magico-religious beliefs. The Tswana were fulltime, subsistence mixed farmers and part-time hunters and gatherers and as such they were, to a large extent, preoccupied with arable, pastoral, hunting and gathering activities that sustained their standard of living. To that endeavour, the Tswana had effectively occupied their chosen sites on particular hills and valleys up to today. The settlement nexus of the Tswana was well organised. The chiefs made major decisions about the need to migrate to those areas of settlement. The subsequent settlement patterns of the Tswana epitomised their socio-economic needs, cultural heritage, indigenous knowledge and vision, and administrative forms.
Dissertation (MHCS)--University of Pretoria, 2008.