RECORDS, 1981-1994
(bulk dates: 1987 – 1993)
16 Boxes(1.7 linear meters )

ACQUISITION: ANC Archive Committee

ACCESS: The collection is open

PHOTOGRAPHS: Maps in Box 0008



PRINTED MATERIAL: Periodicals in Box 0007

COPYRIGHT: ANC Archive Committee

PROCESSED BY: Sadie Forman, May 1999. Partial rearrangement and description by Razia Saleh and Nombeko Liwane, June 2003

REVISED BY: Africa Media Online (Kulu Mushaka), Mr Mosoabuli Maamoe, October 2017


Historical background on Botswana Mission Records

Botswana borders on the north of South Africa and the north-east of Namibia. At the time of the Soweto students’ uprising in 1976 and its aftermath when many thousands of young people fled South Africa, independent Botswana was a natural destination and transit for many of its neighbors’ refugees.

The African National Congress members who escaped to Botswana found themselves responsible for many of the problems attendant on the influx of people and were given the task of setting up a center in Gaborone. There is a paucity of information in the records as to how this was done. However, a letter from Barry Gilder to the Chief Representative Welile Nhlapo in April 1991 tells that he was deployed to Botswana from 1984 to 1987 and visited frequently up to 1989 when he was declared a prohibited immigrant. The ANC office had to deal with a welter of problems like housing, split families, orphans and permits. Permissions were required to enter Botswana, to gain residence, to assist students, to travel, to get transit visas etc. Most difficult of all was the problem of those who were “P.I’d” (declared prohibited immigrants).

A letter in May 1988 from a firm of attorneys in Gaborone demands that the occupants of a plot vacate it within a month. This elicited a reply of 5 pages from the South African Youth Revolutionary Council, which exposed a network of “chicanery”. A group calling themselves the South African Refugee Project Trust had raised funds and “took over” houses that had been allocated to homeless refugees. Some of the Trust members were the attorneys involved. However there is no indication that the Mission office was dealing with this problem, which extended over a number of years.

Oupa Rantobeng Mokou was the Chief Representative of the ANC from the 1980′s and other ANC members residing in Gaborone assisted him. ‘A Special Operations’ group existed, as is clear from the correspondence dealing with the care of children whose parent/s had been killed by the South African army in skirmishes and while crossing the border. Welile Nhlapo took over as Chief Representative for ’91/’92.

In October 1987, the Treasurer-General of the ANC based in Lusaka, Thomas Nkobi wrote to “Comrades Barry (Gilder) and Thenjiwe (Mtintso)” reporting that the tents at the Dukwe settlement (for refugees) were flooded “during torrential rains” as they had been “pitched on bare soil”. They were asked to discuss the matter with “Cde. Oupa Makou to see how funds can be made available”.  An unsigned report by Administration tells of a ‘high rate of crime’, which decreased with the establishment of a committee.

Some comrades were sent to prison. All at Dukwe suffered from cold due to lack of clothing and shoes. Transport was a ‘main’ problem, as was finance. Some of the nine children, aged between 3 months and 15 years, “sleep on the floor without mattresses and there is no money to provide lunch boxes for those at the crèche”.

In 1992 a letter from Henry Makgothi in Lusaka reports that 450 members were still living in the Dukwe camp, which was now being funded by the Swedish organization SIDA. There was a school at Dukwe. A student, Jabu Dladla wrote to the British Council in Gaborone in November 1991, requesting library facilities to study for his A-levels and a number of students were awaiting scholarships to study further.

The Botswana Government, it appears, had a problem in dealing with refugee and exiled South Africans, as it did not want to incur the displeasure of their neighboring regime. This resulted in a constant number of Prohibited Immigration cases coming before the Botswana court. By July 1991 Attorneys Minchin & Kelly threatened to take action against the ANC for payment of fees. At that stage Welile Nhlapo was the ANC Chief Representative.

In 1990, when the ANC and the other liberation organizations were unbanned, many of the exiles in countries around the world wanted to return to their homeland as quickly as possible. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees began to frame a program to help returnees. This took some time to implement and the difficulties faced by families and orphans persisted. A letter in July 1991 records that allowances for the care of widows/partners and children had been stopped and requests maintenance information for four such cases where the family men had been killed.

In 1991 Nhlapo began to assist those South Africans who wished to return home with their repatriation. The overriding problem presented was that the Mission was no longer able to pay a monthly allowance to the exiles. Correspondence reveals that Oupa Mokou was the Deputy Chief Representative then.

The work of the Mission continued. It also dealt with visiting delegations from other African countries. People in education, health (Nkosazana Zuma visited in October 1991), music groups and so on came through the ANC, as did those in transit to countries further north.

In 1992 all Chief Representatives were instructed to install computers and to raise the funds for a computer-modem link to a CompuServe telephone line. This facilitated the work of closing down the Missions in 1994. However, in Botswana it took time to solve the problems of widows, children and other exiles that had no means of dealing with their changed circumstances so the Mission office remained open longer.

Isaac Mokopo was the Chief Representative in Botswana from 1974 to 1983, followed briefly by Thami Sindelo, was replaced by Welile Nhapo from 1985 to 1990 with Rantobeng Mokou (Oupa) as his deputy. The latter became Chief Representative from 1990 to the closure of the office in 1994. While the Government of Botswana exercised caution in its dealing with exiles, both the state and people gave tacit support to the struggle waged by the ANC.


Scope and Content Note

Unlike missions in the more affluent countries of the west where fund-raising and publicity were of utmost importance, those in some African countries, such as Botswana, dealt with a multiplicity of humanitarian problems as opposed to campaigns. Furthermore the proximity to South Africa made their position more tenuous. The collections are therefore not as large as those in the developed countries.

The Botswana papers are stored in 13 boxes.

The records are divided into 6 series: Subject, Correspondence, News clippings, Periodicals, Maps,and Posters.

The Subject Series I is held in 6 boxes with 55 s.s 1 to 33 contain ANC generated and reports of conferences, campaigns, commissions, cards, departmental documents and some miscellaneous items. Folders 34 to 55 hold papers from other organizations, projects, repatriation information, speeches, etc.

Correspondence Series II is in Box 0006, s 1 to 5. The correspondence deals with problems relating to students, exiles and letters to Botswana officials as well as telex and telephonic communications.

News clippings Series III are in Box 0007, s 1 to 3.

Periodicals Series IV are in Box 7, s 1 to 11 and consist of a variety of political publications. Some periodicals have been removed to create complete sets, e.g. Sechaba, Mayibuye, Umsebenzi. See Periodical section in Africans for a listing.

Series IV – Maps are of the region and are also in Box 0004, s 65 to 67.

Posters Series VI – This has been removed and this has been added to the ANC Poster Collection

Additions boxes – There are the boxes that were found later, they were processed and make 4 boxes. The material in the boxes consists of 3 series: Series I – Reports , Series II – Minutes, Series III – Statements


Series I – Subject Files

Box 0001
0001. ANC Annual General Report, 1990
0002. ANC Campaigns – 1, 1990-1992
0003. ANC Campaigns – 2, 1991-1992
0004. ANC Commissions, 1990-1993
0005. ANC Conference, Anniversaries, Workshops, 1989-1991, 1987-1988, 1990-1993, n.d
0006. ANC Health Department, 1990-1991
0007. ANC Memos/Circulars, 1989-1991, 1992-1993, n.d
0008. ANC Missions, 1990, 1992, n.d
0009. ANC Policy/Discussion Documents (1), 1982, 1990-1993, n.d
0010. ANC Policy/Discussion Documents (2), 1990-1993

Box 0002
0011. ANC Policy/Discussion Documents (3), 1990-1993
0012. ANC Policy/Discussion Documents (4), 1990-1993, 1985, n.d
0013. ANC Social Welfare, 1991
0014. ANC Statements/Declarations, 1990-1993
0015. ANC Women’s League, 1990-1991
0016. ANC Youth League, 1992
0017. Amandla Cultural Ensemble, 1991
0018. Botswana Democratic Party/Botswana National Front, 1991

Box 0003
0019. Briefing Documents for CODESA (1), 1991
0020. Briefing Documents for CODESA (2), 1991
0021. Postcards, 1992
0022. Children of Africa, 1991
0023. Conferences (1), 1990-1994
0024. Conferences (2), 1991-1994
0025. COSATU, 1992
0026. Dukwe: ANC Project, n.d.
0027. Economy/Sanctions, 1990-1992
0028. Five Freedoms Forum, 1989
0029. Free press, 1990

Box 0004
0030. Hani, Chris, Includes statement by Hani and commemoration on his death, 1993
0031. Jordan, Pallo, “The Crisis of Conscience in the SACP”, Transformation 11, 1990
0032. Lawyers for Human Rights Committee, 1993
0033. Miscellaneous
0034. National Olympic and Sports Congress (NSC), 1990
0035. Organization of African Unity (OAU), 1989-1992
0036. OAU, 1992 , n.d
0037. Papers (1), n.d.
0038. Papers (2), 1989-1993
0039. Photographs, 1979
0040. Before Dawn, Mbuli, Mzwakhe, Poetry Book, 1989
0041. Projects, 1990-1991
0042. Indemnity Forms and visa application forms (blank), 1990

Box 0005
0043. Reports, 1990-1994
0044. News from Russia, 1991-1992
0045. Rwandese Patriotic Front, Human Rights violation, 1990-1991
0046. Security systems, n.d.
0047. Slovo, Joe, on Negotiations and Has Socialism failed?, 1990-1992
0048. Solidarity education package – SOMAFCO (1658-1948), n.d.
0049. Speeches 1, n.d., 1990-1991
0050. Speeches 2, 1992-1994

Box 0006
0051. Statements/Declarations, 1990-1991
0052. Thebe – An investment in aspirations, 1990
0053. Tambo O.R., visit to Botswana and statement to Women’s League, 1991
0054. United Nations Centre Against Apartheid, “The Convention for a Democratic South Africa”, 1992
0055. Survey for Veterans, n.d.


Series II – Correspondence

Box 0007
0001. n.d., 1987-1990
0002. 1991-1994
0003. Faxes Dispatched, n.d., 1990-1993
0004. Faxes Received, 1991
0005. Faxes Received, 1992-1993


Series III – News clippings

Box 0008
0001. News clippings, n.d., 1991
0002. News clippings, 1992-1993
0003. News clippings, Mauku Philemon: Defence campaign 1991-1992


Series IV – Periodicals

Box 0009
0001. Amnesty International, South Africa: A State of Fear- Security complicity in torture and political killings, 1990-1992 (photocopy of book)
0002. Association for Rural Advancement: Annual Report, 1988-1989
0003. Congress Militant, 1992
0004. Crisis News, 1989
0005. Grahamstown Rural Committee Newsletter, 1989
0006. International Bulletin, 1991-1992
0007. PACSA newsletter and report, n.d, 1988-1989
0008. Socialist Appeal: Marxist voice of the Labor party, n.d. (photocopy)
0009. South Africa: The case against immigration – a letter to Polish Catholics from the Church in South Africa, n.d.
0010. The World: Media in SA, 1982
0011. Top Secret: International News and Analysis, Winter 1989/Spring 1990


Series V – Maps

Box 0010-0012  [Oversize]


Series VI – Posters

(This has been added to the ANC Poster Collection)



Series I – Reports

Box 0013
0001. Amakhosi Conference – Ulundi, 1992
0002. ANC Botswana and Norad , 1998
0003. Finance Statements
0004. ANC briefing on negotiations – CODESA II , 1997
0005. ANC National Executive Committee’s response to Motsuenyane Commission
0006. ANC policy guidelines for democratic South Africa , 1992
0007. Annual Report
0008. A bill of rights for a new South Africa , working document , 1990
0009. Conclusions and recommendations following consultations on voluntary repatriation to South Africa , 1991
0010. Convention for democratic South Africa (CODESA) negotiations
0011. Directives of Financial Accounting, 1987

Box 0014
0012. Draft on meeting between government and ANC repatriation
0013. Elections strategy workshop , n.d
0014. Half yearly report of the ANC mission to Botswana by Chief Rep , 1993
0015. Monthly Budget 1986-1990
0016. The Political and Trade Union Situation in South Africa
0017. Repatriation , 1990 n.d
0018. Report of the Commission of inquiry into complaints by former ANC prisoners and detainees
0019. Report on the meeting between the ANC movement and Jcukreg, 1990
0020. Report to NEC/NNC members and PMC, 1990
0021. Sion Finance statements, 1990
0022. Situation at Dukwe, 1990-1992, n.d
0023. Urgent lives raised by the phase of transition from apartheid to a united non-racial, non sexist and democratic South Africa
0024. Youth conference , n.d


Series II – Minutes

Box 0015
0001. ANC Botswana and Royal Norwegian embassy, 1987-1988
0002. ANC Botswana and SIDA, 1989
0003. From Regional Political Military Council (RPMC) re ; Directive on Financial Accounting, 1988
0004. Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs-Citizenship office , 1987
0005. Office of the Settlement : permission to visit/leave Botswana, 1992
0006. Open letter to State president De Klerk and his cabinet from the national Executive Committee of the ANC, n.d
0007. Program for Dukwe Day 1988,1989
0008. Regarding applications for scholarships and admission for enrollment 1991
0009. Repatriation , 1992, n.d
0010. UN High Commissioner for refugees, name of applicants cleared by S.A Government 1991-1992
0011. Minutes from consultation between the ANC and Sweden concerning humanitarian assistance , 1992
0012. ANC Botswana regular meetings , 1992
0013. Dukwe refugee camp , 1989-1991
0014. Election platform Committee , 1993
0015. Meeting of the Tripartite Alliance Co-coordinating Committee, 1990
0016. Notes on meeting of Chief Representations, 1991


Series III – Statements

Box 0016
0001. Discussion about the education system 1981, 1983
0002. Input on the background to negotiations 1992
0003. Transition to Democracy Act, 1992
0004. Address to a sominer on business opportunity in South Africa , 1992
0005. Address by ANC president Nelson Mandela to the standing committee on foreign relation , 1992
0006. ANC press statement, 1992
0007. Declaration of intent – CODESA, n.d
0008. Intervention of the ANC president Nelson Mandela of the 2nd session of CODESA 1992
0009. A message of support to our leaders, our people and youth of S.A youth declaration on CODESA II (1992)
0010. Speeches delivered by the president of the ANC at the funeral service of Isithwalandwe Helen Joseph, 1993
0011. speeches presented at the 1st session of convention of democratic South Africa (CODESA) 1991
0012. Statement of the ANC at the 1994 annual consultation conference of South Africa Development Community (SADC) 1994.