Sekeletu, son of Sebetwane and , was the Makololo king of Barotseland, in western Zambia, from about 1851 to his death in 1863, caused by leprosy. He succeeded his half-sister Mamochisane, who had decided to step down from the throne; and it was she who proclaimed him new ruler, against the ambitions of Sekeletu's half-brother Mpepe, who unsuccessfully tried to block him by insinuating that he was not the lawful son of Sebetwane, since his mother has been previously married to another chief before. He appears to have been very young when he took power, as the explorer David Livingstone presumed on first meeting him in Linyati in 1853 that he was about 18 years old. Sekeletu's relations with the explorer appear to have been very good, as confirmed by the 27 Makololo that under their king's orders went with Livingstone with the goal of finding a road between Barotseland and the port of Luanda, capital of Portuguese West Africa.

His relations with another group of Europeans headed by Holoway Helmore, like Livingstone members of the London Missionary Society, were not so good; when they arrived in 1860, they were treated with hostility, and eight of the twelve members of the expedition died (Helmore included) in Barotseland, possibly poisoned.

Sekeletu eventually proved himself an unsuccessful ruler, generating discontent among the Lozi, the people who had formerly ruled the land. Due to this, a year after his death the Makololo's power crumbled and the Lozi regained self-rule.

External links

* [ "Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa"] by David Livingstone (1858)
* [ Makololo interregnum and the legacy of David Livingstone] (PDF)

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