The Bakgatla candidates for bogwera will be left yesterday (Saturday) the 27th of June as planned, but there will be no hunting of animals as negotiations between the Kgatleng Tribal Authorities and the Ministry of Wildlife and Tourism failed.
Hunting of animals has always been an essential part of initiation ceremonies in both Bakgatla tradition and many Tswana tribes. Besides providing food for the candidates, it also taught the young initiates basic hunting skills as well as testing their running and survival skills.
This year, however, there will be no hunting for the men boys as Kgosi Bana Sekai Linchwe announced that negotiations to acquire hunting permission failed.
“The negotiations fell through. We went to see Mr Kitso Mokaila, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, but our efforts failed to get us hunting permission,” said Kgosi Linchwe. “We will slaughter cattle.”
The Chief said that some of the reasons that were given as to why they could not be given hunting permission as they had requested were that the hunting quota had been closed, therefore, no animals can be killed during this period.
He said that they were told that if they had brought the request a bit earlier then they might have been granted permits over some animals.
Out of the about hundred animals requested, only the impala is said to be rampant in the Kgatleng District and Linchwe said that the Ministry could only say the request should have come earlier than it did.
The Bakgatla tribe had asked that the government lifts the hunting ban in their area to allow them to hunt and kill 20 kudu, 20 impala, 20 wildebeest, 20 duikers and 20 steenbok.
Linchwe explained that the ministry made it clear to him that there was no way it could help them because there is a procedure to be followed in issuing hunting licenses and that if Bakgatla were given a hunting license for their initiation process, then this might prompt other tribes to approach the government to secure hunting licenses whenever they have special tribal occasions.
He, however, said that even though this will somehow have an impact on the initiation of the boys, the impact will be minor, adding that they will not back down on their mission to have the boys transformed into men.
“Ga re ele dinama,” he said.
He further explained that the Bakgatla had shown great support as they had contributed cattle.
If the cattle end up as being insufficient, Linchwe said the Bakgatla chieftainship would source to buy more. Another alternative, he said, would be to visit the Bakgatla’s Masama cattle camp where they have more in reserve.
He stated that, beside this minor problem, the preparations are all going well as Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela Kgafela II had gone to inspect the land where the boys will camp, as well as where they will get water. He said that even toilets had also been secured.
The initiates will stay in the jungle for three weeks and then spend another three weeks in Mochudi in a special place where circumcision will be performed by trained and qualified personnel from the Deborah Retief Memorial Hospital.