© 2018 Dr. M. Sheppard

Botswana Kanye Households People Lands Cattle-post Crafts

Boloko - Cattle Dung

This has a special significance. It is not only used as one of the main building materials for traditional houses (walls and floors), malwapa  and for mixing with the different coloured muds for decorations, but it also plays a big part in various rituals. For example it must be used by those closely connected with death when entering a house for the first time (See section on Death). It is smeared on a wall and house to signify the death of a surviving spouse (see Death). There appears therefore to be a strong connection between Boloko and purification and/or protection, particularly that connected with death. Cattle dung is not considered dirty like other animal or human faeces, between which a big distinction is made.

Perhaps it should be emphasized that traditionally men were buried in the cattle kraal and the dried cattle dung in the kraal was said to be the blanket of Badimo (Ancestors).

The purification of a widow where she is taken to go kopano le dikgomo aimed to prevent her dead husband "calling his cattle after him".

Cattle dung is not only mixed with clay mud to strengthen bricks for traditional houses, but is also used to “seal” the floors. Beautiful patterns are typically formed as decoration with the pure wet cow dung “dressing”