The ongoing initiation in Mochudi has been progressing well over the past three weeks until Friday evening when 33 members of mophato were involved in an accident at Mochudi.
The accident happened after Mr. Phemelo Mooketsi, a teacher at Kgabo Sereto Primary School, trespassed where mophato was based, despite pre-warnings by the guards assigned to protect the candidates.
Kgosi Bana Sekai Linchwe, assistant of the Acting Chief of Bakgatla, said they do not control where mophato should go after dismissal from the main kgotla.
He said that before they started this initiation, they briefed mophato that visitors are not allowed and that they should advise their friends to keep away from where they are camped.
“On Friday evening around 10pm,” Linchwe said, “33 members of our mophato group got injured in an accident during the course of their initiation.”
He then went on to explain security measures they employ to shield them from prying eyes.
“The way we position them, they are not seen by the public hence it’s a taboo for the public to witness them. They are circled by the graduates (bomme ba ba rupileng) because they walk half naked with their heads bowed. We have eight men, who are also graduates, to guard mophato. (ga re a tsaya boramoshwe go dira tiro).”
Linchwe said that even though the man managed to run away from the incident, it was fortunate that some of the candidates knew him.
On Saturday morning, he came to apologize to Kgosi Ngakale who referred the matter to higher tribal authorities who then decided to hold a meeting to discuss the matter.
During the meeting (bokopano jwa borre) on Saturday morning, they decided to punish the culprit.
“Re mo file mabele a kgomo, (we walloped him four strokes)”, he said.
Asked what trespassing mophato means, Kgosi Linchwe said, “Ke boatla because these people are not supposed to be seen by the public.”
He, however, said that they decided to reinforce security by increasing the number of guards.
Out of the 33 people involved, 31 were discharged after being attended to and only two are reported to have suffered serious injuries.
“Fortunately one was discharged from Deborah Retief Memorial Hospital (DRMH) on Sunday morning whilst the other lady is recovering after being transferred to Marina Hospital on Saturday morning,” he said.
Efforts to draw comment from the Mochudi Police proved futile as the station commander, Mr Kealotswe, denied any knowledge of the case.