Anglo Platinum, Bafokeng, Bafokeng Rasimone, Boputhatswana, Christoph Penzhorn, Impala Platinum, Lebone II, Lucas Mangope, Lutheran, Lutheran missionary, missionary, Mzilikazi, Paul Kruger, Royal Bafokeng Nation, Shaka, Vision 2020
It does what it says on the tin. Its a stimulating introduction to the Bafokeng heritage and their dreams for the future. It was researched written and edited by a an inspiring crew called Totem Media, who describe themselves as “curious outsiders”. They are designers, writers, educators and technical wizards. They say they are “more like a troupe of performers, artists, storytellers, and conjurers travelling from village to village”. They are also South Africa’s premier museum and exhibition design company.
The book was written for the Research and Planning Department of the Royal Bafokeng Administration.
They have also done a beautifully shot little documentary that covers some of the same ground
Back to the book. Although a slim volume, its provides a great overview of the Nation and a wealth of information on what its taken to hang onto to its land, mineral rights, and cultural identity over 300 tumultuous years. It makes it clear that luck and skill in spades where required for the Bafokeng Nation to be where it is today.
The book looks at
– how the Nation works, its traditional system of hereditary leadership and the 72 wards in the 29 Bafokeng villages, led by tradtional headmen or dikgosana, and a system of monthly makgothla where the commmunity meet to debate and raise solutions
– getting young people involved in the political life of the Nation and closing the generation gap
– the hotly debated origins of the tribe and the almost continuous low-level conflicts with other Tswana tribes, with the Mzilikazi’s breakaway group of Zulus who left the Zulu Kingdom after a dispute with Shaka, with the boers
– the complex relationship between Kgosi Mokgathle and Paul Kruger, the President of the Transvaal Boer Republic
– the long-standing and far-sighted policy of all of the tribe contributing to buying land for the tribe, many in the name of a Lutheran missionary Christoph Penzhorn. One of the ways the tribe did this was to persuade you men to work in the diamond and gold mines (it would be many decades before platinum was first mined on the Western Limb) and give a portion of their wages to Kgosi Mokgathle on their return to buy land
– the divisions in the Nation caused in the wake of the establishment of the Boputhatswana bantustan by the apartheid regime. “Bop” was one of several “independent homelands” set up by the apartheid regime in an unsuccessful attempt to lend the apartheid state credibility. It covers the events that led to the exile of Kgosi Lebone I and his wife Mmmeogolo and their children. It looks at the divisions among the Bafokeng caused by the rift between those who followed the exiled Kgosi and those who supported the George Molotlegi, the kings brother, who was sympathetic to Lucas Mangope, whom the apartheid government had appointed to rule Bop
– the long-running legal battle between the Bafokeng and Impala Platinum regarding the validity of an agreement that George Molotlegi had signed on behalf of the tribe, granting Impala rights to mine the Bafokeng’s mineral rights in perpetuity, and the settlement of the dispute which made headlines globally
– the joint venture between the Bafokeng Rasimone joint venture between the Royal Bafokeng Nation and Anglo Platinum, an innovative partnership described as “the blueprint for all future deals”
– the Vision 2020 strategy begun by Kgosi Lebone II to reduce the Bafokeng’s dependence on diminishing mineral assets and to become a self-sufficient community by the second half of the 21st century
– the fantastic Lebone II College of the Royal Bafokeng, a school and centre of excellence for the Bafokeng community. The school is beautiful and has been designed around the African maxim: It takes a village to raise a child. It has the intention of becoming one of the top schools in Africa
Its a great little resource if you are interested in what is possible through a unified vision for a community, and the challenges faced to get there