When I told a colleague that I was going to meet Kgosi Maruje III Masunga, she exclaimed excitedly, “Oh that cute one!” At 33 years of age, Kgosi Masunga is the youngest member of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi.
I’m punctual for the appointment and at exactly the agreed time for the interview, my phone rings. It is Kgosi Masunga and I pray he is not calling to give an apology. I sigh with relief when he tells me has arrived and is still trying to secure parking space. We meet at a coffee shop at Riverwalk shopping mall in Gaborone. He arrives; looking smart-casual in a floral shirt, cream blazer and designer sunglasses.
I see why they call him ‘the cute one’. We exchange pleasantries and I congratulate him on his recent marriage to his long-time sweetheart. He orders cappuccino and a muffin and I settle for filter coffee. We straight away get into business.
I throw the first question which seeks to get his views on the relevance of Bogosi in the 21st century and his lengthy explanation covers almost all the answers I had lined up for him. Kgosi Masunga describes a chief as someone who should instil the spirit of oneness amongst his subjects.
A chief must instil the spirit of community over individualism. A chief is the embodiment of hope to his subjects. A chief must inculcate a sense of belonging and responsibility amongst his people.
Kgosi Masunga ascended his throne at the age of 26 after finishing his studies in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, taking over from his uncle who had been holding the fort for him. He is a Public Relations practitioner by profession and a chief by birth. Kgosi Masunga says some people felt he was going to fail in the chieftaincy because of his age.
“Some people didn’t even want to give me a chance. They told me point blank that the boots I was trying to fit were too big for me,” he tells me. As far as he is concerned, the best time to ascend to chieftaincy is when someone is still in their youthful age like him. He says younger chiefs are the way to go nowadays as they are educated and well versed with the needs of a ‘today’ Motswana. Kgosi Masunga says he derives his strength from God. In fact, he says Jesus is his mentor while he draws inspiration from Prophet T.B. Joshua and Nelson Mandela, in that order. He says these three men have humble spirits. He spent the past Christmas holidays in Nigeria at Prophet T.B Joshua’s church where he found his salvation in God.
He says his visit to Prophet Joshua changed his life. His encounter with Prophet Joshua made him to understand the order of the world. He says people have totally deviated from that which the Lord desires.
It is when he speaks about his trip to Nigeria that you can tell he has been truly touched and transformed. He is a born again Christian and says he found his deliverance in Nigeria.
“There was no way I was going to get married before I was delivered,” says the youthful Kgosi. He recently married his long time girlfriend after 12 years together. He lightens up when he talks about his wife.
They met 12 years ago while doing national service (Tirelo Sechaba) where they worked in the same office.
“The first time I saw her I didn’t just see a potential girlfriend. I saw a woman a wife material,” Kgosi Masunga reveals. He says even though he just married her recently, he has always been treating her like a wife. Kgosi Masunga describes himself as a family man. He says he values and loves his family and God. When he talks about God, you can be excused for confusing him for a pastor.
“I am now content with my life. I live my life with a purpose. I didn’t see my purpose until I met Joshua,” says Kgosi Masunga. Kgosi Masunga’s father lost his father (Kgosi Masunga’s grandfather) when he was only 11 years old. Shockingly, Kgosi Masunga too lost his father when he was 11 years. I ask him if he is not scared he too will die when his son reaches 11 years of age. Since he has surrendered his life into the hands of God, Kgosi Masunga says he does not believe it will happen to him. He mentions the word ‘calling’ several times. He says people have different callings in life and that is why he has no problem with chiefs who join politics because it could just be they have a calling to serve their people through different offices apart from chieftaincy.
In fact he says it’s good when they have chiefs at political level because they will help advance the needs of Bogosi. He is of the view politicians have amassed all the resources to the disadvantage of chiefs. He also feels Bogosi is being shunned by Africans because the African man is trying to run away from himself. He says Africans should take solace in the fact that they have managed to live and smile in the midst of poverty and diseases from time immemorial while their European counterparts are now crying with the economic meltdown because they are not used to such hardships in life.
Kgosi Masunga has an ambitious project for his village. He is setting up what is going to be known as ‘Brand Masunga project’. This will be in the same model as the Brand Botswana initiative. As we close the interview, he, for the fourth time, urges me to visit Prophet TB Joshua. He says I will come back a changed man.