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Bakgatla, Batlokwa muse over boundaries

Publishing Date : 23 March, 2015


BAKGATLA REGIMENTS: Bakgatla during one of their traditional ceremonies

Royals from Kgatleng and Tlokweng recently deliberated on a flammable issue of land ownership between the boundaries of the two tribes. Deputy Kgosi Segale of Kgatleng and deputy Kgosi Spokes Gaborone of Batlokwa and other tribesmen were locked up in a brief meeting to address concerns raised by Bakgatla.  

Although there were constraints arising from the fact that Bakgatla currently have their paramount chief in a self-imposed exile in South Africa, the meeting proceeded without Batlokwa paramount chief, Puso Gaborone who chose to delegate his tribesmen to give Bakgatla an ear.

Kgosi Segale had written a letter to Kgosi Puso Gaborone requesting a meeting to discuss the boundaries of the two tribes. This was a matter akin to the Mfecane times when tribes had ferocious conflicts over boundaries and resources such as water and grazing land. Segale and his team descended on the Batlokwa kgotla with a large entourage ferried by three vehicles.

Segale’s letter came as a result of Bakgatla complaining of mistreatment occasioned by the Batlokwa along the Ruretse area where they are always accused of trespassing. People from Kgatleng had developed the habit of collecting sand and other natural resources from a piece of land designated as grazing land for Batlokwa livestock. Segale and his team wanted to make concessions with Batlokwa that their people will not be accused of trespassing in future and that there could a chance that the two agree on new boundaries.

It has emerged that at the meeting, Batlokwa through spokes Gaborone explained a bit of history to Segale’s team in regard to the boundaries of the two tribes. Gaborone explained that Batlokwa land stretched beyond the old airport and into some villages which are today demarcated as Kgatleng. There are still Batlokwa in some Kgatleng villages such as Modipane and Oodi among others.

Weekend Post has established that until recently there were some Batlokwa descendants who were chiefs in these villages and were removed.  Efforts to get a comment from either side were not successful because the meeting was meant to be confidential.

In about 1650, after the death of Kgosi Mogale, the Bakgatla tribe was divided between supporters of his daughter Mosetlha from his great house, and his son Kgafela from his second house. There was a disagreement over who would be the new leader. One faction defied the usual tradition of male leaders and acknowledged the female, Mosetlha, as their Kgosi. Those who supported Kgafela then broke away. They are the direct ancestors of the Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela. The Bakgatla Ba Mosetlha and Bakgatla Ba Kgafela separated and occupied land around Batlokwa while others were more or less assimilated into other Tswana tribes.



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