O a bua Sesotho?

The Baton relay arrives in its penultimate African Commonwealth country – Lesotho (08.02.2014),  and like many of those host countries before it, Lesotho’s links with the University stem from graduates who became missionaries and who often dedicated their life service to their adopted homelands.

Basutoland, as it was known until its independence in 1966, became the homeland of the Dyke family. The Historical Dictionary of Lesotho provides a brief overview of the family in Lesotho, which began with the Scottish siblings Hilton Moore Dyke and Sarah Dyke Casalis, who were missionaries of the London Missionary Society and joined with the Paris Evangelical Mission Society, establishing schools in the territory. It was the son of Hilton, the Reverend Robert Henry Dyke, whose family produced four medical doctors, a dentist and two trained nurses, and where the University links begin. Robert’s four sons all returned to Glasgow for medical studies: Hamilton William MBChB 1905, Eric John MBChB 1905, Kenneth Henry MBChB 1917, and Adolph Henry Mabille .

Kenneth Henry Dyke MB ChB 1917

Without exception, the brothers from Robert’s first wife all graduated from Glasgow MB ChB and returned to Basutoland where their contributions to the development of medical and healthcare were significant. After their respective service in the Royal Army Medical Corps during WWI, Hamilton was appointed Director of Medical Services at Basutoland; upon his retirement of that post his brother Kenneth became his successor; while Eric John served as District Surgeon of Basutoland. Kenneth, who was also remembered for his expertise in the Sesotho language, as well as his intimate knowledge and respect of the Basuto, serves to remind us that this family were deeply-rooted in what came to be their home.

Robert’s second wife was Aline Mabille Dyke, founder of the women’s organisation Mokhatlo oa bo’Ma’bana (the “Mothers’ Union”)  and the daughter of Swiss missionary and translator, Adolphe Mabille (1836-94), who published Basutoland’s first newspaper, Leselinyana la Lesotho. Their son, named after his grandfather, was Adolph Henry Mabille Dyke, who enrolled in the summer of 1918 to study Physiology. The search continues for further biographical details, but it appears he returned as a dentist to his homeland of Lesotho.

If you are a Dyke of  Lesotho or South Africa, we’d be happy to hear from you!


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Filed under Africa, Commonwealth of Nations

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