The Premier of South Africa’s North West Province, Job Mokgoro, has reinstated the Sovereign of BaKgatla-Ba-Ga-Kgafela, Kgafela Kgafela II, as the rightful Kgosi of BaKgatla at mineral-rich Moruleng, prompting questions about what it all means for his subjects in Botswana who were long told that their Sovereign’s sojourn in Moruleng would also be of their benefit, writes TEFO PHEAGE.
It is now an open secret that Kgosi Kgafela II is a brave man who always sees opportunities where many see zero chances of success. Upon his coronation and long before his departure for Moruleng in South Africa, he had made several promises to BaKgatla, most of which were developmental in nature.
The youthful leader oozed energy and had presented himself as the one whom people had been talking about as “the Coming of the Messiah.” Under his rule, the tribe was to self-sustain – a model more similar to what obtains at Moruleng where the community feeds and drinks from their self-created wealth, although under a totally different setup and governance system.
Kgafela was obviously inspired by what he saw in Moruleng and perhaps by his radical approach to righting injustice. But how was he going to fund his dream to turn Kgatleng into a Moruleng? Part of the reason why his enemy camp in Moruleng is fighting tooth and nail to stop him from taking the all-powerful seat is that they fear that sooner or later they could be sharing their hard-earned P30 billion plus wealth with their tribesmen in Botswana.
Traditionally the BaKgatla chief serves both Moruleng and Botswana and the tribe is one. To some BaKgatla at Moruleng, Kgafela is that man described in John 10:10, the thief who comes “to steal, kill and destroy”, a view denied by Kgafela who says he has actually come that “they may have life and have it abundantly” because their previous leader, Nnyalala Pilane, was stealing from the tribe.
None of Kgosi Kgafela’s promises and dreams have been realized, and for this reason, many of those who believed in him are now losing faith in him, seeing him rather as a selfish man interested only in the self. But Kgafela has shocked many, winning wars where many had ruled him out and bringing down an entire system that is not loyal to him. Can he develop Kgatleng from Moruleng?
Kgafela may never come back to Botswana. If he does, it could be for a week or a weekend. He has already missed important family funerals and continues to do so. Bogosi is all about power, and the power is in Moruleng. Moreover, he cannot trust anybody now after all that he went through. It is not a secret that Kgosi Kgafela left his Kgotla in ruins in Kgatleng in Botswana where the tribal administration cannot even afford a decent shelter and is lagging behind most Kgotlas in the country, despite it having once been the envy of many throughout the country.
Should he attempt to fund and develop his Kgatleng ideas from the wealth in Moruleng – a stadium, mines, malls, game parks and others – Kgafela may start another war that may vindicate his enemies. The turnover of Moruleng is estimated at 7 billion rands annually and the tribal administration employs multitudes of subjects. Pilane is refusing to step down from several BaKgatla companies on whose boards he sat by virtue of his seat as the tribal chief. And many wait to see how the Premier will resolve the matter. But power is power, and normally has its manifestations. It remains to be seen whether Kgafela can achieve the unthinkable and still drink his cattle from a well belonging to another kraal.
Should he choose Moruleng as his headquarters, contrary to tradition, Kgatleng in Botswana may become a destitute tribe under the questionable leadership of regents that many see as lacking in many respects.
Kgafela was respected because of his academic credentials and as the eldest son of Kgosi Linchwe II. He is the perfect age of 49 years and has the necessary charm, despite often offending norms and standards. His departure has left the tribe in the hands of Kgosi Bana Sekai, who is not really popular with the tribe. Since he left, almost everything that he stood and fought for has collapsed in Kgatleng, including the Kgotla meetings where attendance numbers have dropped and the order that he cherished has weakened.