Quett Ketumile Joni Masire: Some Notes By His Biographer

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Barry Morton


Being a historian at times feels like being a Catholic confessional priest. Most of the time, when you show up at someone’s door to conduct an interview, the person you are interviewing is a little wary. Do you know anything? How much should they tell you? Can you be trusted with the information that they will give? Will you write about them and their friends and family in a friendly way once your research is completed? It is my personal experience, having done hundreds of historical interviews with Batswana, that once you demonstrate some detailed working knowledge of their background (i.e. you know who they are related to, who they associated with, what kinds of situations they were involved in) then the caution quickly fades and all sorts of information comes pouring out. And you will hear even more when you turn the sound recorder off! Important government and establishment figures in this country are expected to be discreet, but when they have a chance to talk to a disinterested, sympathetic outsider like myself, they can feel a strong urge to reveal things that they have mainly kept to themselves over the years.

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