SEARCH ON IN LOBATSE
Curious crowds gathered at a home in Lobatse on Wednesday to watch a group of white men digging a big hole in the ground.
They were said to be searching for Mandela’s buried treasure.
The home of Fish Keitseng, an apartheid era political activist, was a hive of activity this week after word spread that a group of Europeans were searching for the late SA president’s buried ammunition and money.
Mandela was believed to have buried guns and treasure at the home of the BNF activist who accommodated him and his colleagues when they were exiled to Botswana in 1962.
When The Voice got to the scene curious onlookers were speaking in hushed tones about how ‘white people’ had come all the way from Britain to dig up the hidden Mandela treasure.
Onlookers kept asking reporters if, “The white man had found the money yet.”
Our investigations however established that the diggers, although hoping to make money from the Mandela name, were not looking for a buried fortune.
A crew from the British film production company Dearheart Productions explained that they had arrived in the country on Sunday for preliminary research on a documentary film on the life of Nelson Mandela.
Production Manager John Irvin dismissed suggestions that they were digging up money.
He explained that their film ‘MANDELA’S GUN’ would be shot on location in Lobatse sometime in March when a whole crew comprising of international actors will converge on the dusty town.
National Museum Chief Curator Philip Segadika calmed the curious crowd who were in search of a piece of the Mandela money by explaining that the museum knew about the camera crew’s arrival in town.
He apologised for failing to brief the security agents who formed part of the crowd and seemed to be more interested in confiscating Voice cameras than stopping the filmmakers.
“We blundered by not informing the town authorities of the film company’s arrival on Sunday.
We were busy at the museum,” Segadika said after his meeting with DIS and police.
He further explained that Keitseng and Joe Modise, an ANC member, excavated the Mandela ammunition 48 hours after Mandela returned to his native country where he was arrested upon arrival in the 60′s. The hole was dug simply to recreate the scene.
“Yes there was ammunition but I doubt if he buried any money as well,” he said.
Meanwhile the museum is to assist the Keitseng family to set up an onsite monument to generate income for themselves in the future.
Asked if the British filmmakers would pay the family Segadika said: “No – in-fact we begged the company to come and shoot part of the documentary in Botswana because it will benefit both Botswana and Lobatse as a whole.
“Imagine the publicity that we will get from that association with the Mandela film.
The family has suffered a lot during the liberation of South Africa but unfortunately for them money is not expected to exchange hands during the shooting or thereafter.”
Segadika however could not explain why the British company was already filming without a required license, but hoped that since they were only doing preliminary research the footage would not be publicly shown.