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© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Botsetsi Service at Kanana

This service was  held for the Mookamedi’s wife and baby at Kanana. It was similar to the Botsetsi Service held at Episcopal but was much larger with many more churches attending. This service was held in their own church because it is built in their own yard. The church has been decorated above the platform with pink streamers (the child was a girl) and the central pole was half covered in pink crepe paper, as was the table where the candles were placed. The candles themselves were not the usual ones but coloured twisted ones.

At the beginning of the service, before the other churches arrived, the Kanana Moruti in charge (his wife was the one who later carried the baby) warned everyone to be ready, they should not be like the 5 foolish virgins who went to the wedding without enough oil in their lamps. He warned them to welcome the visitors and leave them space to stand, they should be like those men who welcomed visitors and later found they had welcomed angels. Maybe if they crowded someone they would later find they had crowded Jesus Christ Himself. The same Bible readings were used, for example, when the 7 candles were lit, Numbers 8, v. 1-3 and Revelations~ the readings being repeated for each candle.

Each church entered starting a hymn outside and then following in behind their church leader in precedence - leaders first, then men, women and children. Those already assembled bowing in respect as the newly arrived congregation danced  around the centre before moving to their correct places intermingling with the other congregations  

The Moruti in charge then called forward all the Secretaries and contributions were made in the same way as described above. A total of P 62.53 was raised, as follows:-

Kanana in Kanye                      P10.54

Holy Galilee                             PI in the envelope, bets P14. IS

BUCZ                                       P3.95 in the envelope and bets P14.73

Africa                                      P15

New Jerusalem                         P5.95 in the envelope and bets P6.59

Africa in South Africa                 P4.54

Kanan Western Areas (mines)      P2 in the envelope and bets PI3.50,

In addition  two dishes, two teaspoons and two cups were presented.

It was announced that the Botsetsi feast would be served after the usual Sunday morning service. At this point those wishing for special prophecies were called forward.

I left the service at 6.15 a.m. returning later that afternoon to eat the feast. I was served in a house in the kgotla with the Baruti. We ate beef (a cow had been specially slaughtered) rice, cabbage salad, soup, other salads and !lots of cold drink. Non-Zionists family members and other Non-Zionists, such as parents of members, were invited to drink the special Botsetsi traditional beer.

Khosa directing newly arriving congregation to their positions

Pink decorations for baby girl

Dancing and hymn singing to “call the Holy Spirit” to enable Prophets to prophesy

Women from the different churches were then called forward by one of the Kanana women, who had' then been given control of the service. Chairs were placed in the centre for the next stage of the service.

The Moruti in charge announced that their work that night was about the birth of a child. it was to celebrate the end of a confinement. They had come to take Mma Bishop out of confinement, and they hoped that as the child grew up she would also join the church and help them in the future. He explained that women would be in charge of the service as everyone knows that when it comes to the bearing of a child only women attend to those things; even if a child died it is the women only who bury it. (Here he is referring to the traditional practice.)

The women would be like the three Wise Men who saw the star and followed it to Bethlehem. They had heard a king would be born and had been on the alert for the star to lead them to the place where the king was. At the beginning of the service they are always on the alert to see the star which led them to Bethlehem where the child was born. After a hymn he continued that in the Bible it says that when the Wise Men came they found Mary and Joseph and knelt before Christ and brought with them some presents of anything they had had; during this occasion~those  present had to make presents of anything they had - even a safety pin. After more hymns he explained that whenever a person was given a job they should try and do it properly, as Moses did when he was sent by God to save the Children of Israel. Just as Moses led them properly  so should they do their work properly.

After more hymn singing the women led in the mother and baby. The baby was carried by the wife of the Kanana Moruti in charge of the service. The mother and father were seated on chairs facing the platform

Women from each church preached on Exodus 2, v. 1-10 (finding of the infant Moses in the bull rushes), St. Luke 2, v. 22-24 (Jesus being brought to the Temple), and Luke 2, v. 16-20 (the shepherds visit to the infant Christ), all of these texts having first been read by the Secretary.

Hymns were sung, during which the baby and parents were prayed on by Baruti from different churches.

The chairs were next cleared away and the dance circle was formed of the women only, who in turn took the baby and danced around with it, after which the mother and the baby left.