The Serowe Riot and the Militarisation of the Bechuanaland Protectorate Police, 1952-1956

Main Article Content


The royal conflict in the Bamangwato Reserve, which was caused by the marriage of the Bangwato
prince Seretse Khama to English woman Ruth Williams, resulted in the Bechuanaland Protectorate Po
lice’s (BPP) biggest security challenge of the late colonial era. The conflict, which would culminate in a
bloody riot in Serowe in 1952, put the efficiency of the BPP to the test. Placing the events of Serowe riot
within the broader context of African uprisings in other African colonies during the post-Second World
War period, this article argues that the Serowe riot exposed the weakness of the BPP. It is also observed
that the colonial administration and police authorities militarised the force and sanctioned a military-style
occupation of the Bamangwato Reserve or tribal territory as a precautionary measure against similar

Article Details