Thursday, October 28, 2021

The ‘Missing Page’ of The Tonota Bogosi Farewell and Inauguration Celebrations

Those who have studied the human psyche tell us that laughing at oneself is therapeutic. So dear Editor/Reader, allow me to make an attempt at distancing myself from myself, so I can take a good laugh at myself, even before you start laughing at me.
However, before doing so, it is imperative that I declare, upfront, my involvement in the Organising Committee that took charge of Tonota’s bogosi Farewell and Inauguration celebrations last weekend. I represented the Ipatlisise O Ikitse Interim Committee in the Tonota Region.
 The celebrations that attracted one of the biggest attendances in Tonota’s history were meant to officially and ceremoniously bid farewell to the outgoing Kgosi Ramosinyi Radipitse and to inaugurate his son, Kgosi Bokamoso Radipitse into bogosiship; and the Organising Committee fielded outstanding figures such as Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon Botlogile Tshireletso; Member of Parliament and Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Hon Thapelo Olopeng; Kgosi Kebinatshwene Mosielele from goo-Manyana; Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, Motshwarelela Bogosi ja Bangwato from Serowe; and of course Kgosi Bokamoso Radipitse and Kgosi Ramosinyi Radipitse themselves.
So I was indeed part of the Orgainising Committee and I rejoice at the great success of the event. But I also own up any errors that might have visibly bedevilled the celebrations. And as far as such errors are concerned, dear Editor/Reader, like the 70’s/80’s legendary singer, Isaac Hayes, ‘I Stand Accused’.
Well, for starters let me give you a bird’s eye view of what happened on the eve of the celebrations. On the afternoon of Thursday, 17th August 2017, a crowd of spectators thronged the Molebatsi kgotla (aka ko Matoping) in Tonota. This is the kgotla which has much historical significance in Tonota as it was established by Kgosi Rauwe Sekoko, founder of Tonota Village, when Ba[k]hurutshe settled in Tonota in 1912/1913. The spectators had come to Matoping to witness some cultural activities organised by the Tonota Culture (Ngwao) Committee as a prelude to the concerned celebrations.
The curtain raising events were kick-started by the hyper-energetic group, Chilelenje che Ngwao, which had reportedly been brought in by the area Member of Parliament, Hon Olopeng. As the dancers filed onto the space reserved for dancing and squeezed through the unyielding crowd, some youths standing where I was seated remarked: “Baloi! Baloi! Bonang, ke baloi.” They were referring to the dancers’ black-hooded appearance. They probably never heard about the slogan: ‘Black Is Beautiful’. And in deed Chilenje che Ngwao did entertain the audience to good quality music, not to mention their amazing Hosana-oriented dancing style. 
The most interesting item on the curtain-raising programme, however, was to prove to be the presentation of the historical appraisal of the Tonota bogosi  hierarchy which had been officially assigned to Kgosi Pogiso Sekoko, the kgosi second in command to Kgosi Bokamoso Radipitse. But the out-going Kgosi, Ramosinyi Radipitse, unbeknown to all of us, had something up his sleeve as we sat and listened to Kgosi Sekoko’s version of the bogosi hierarchy. Those who were seated close to him (Kgosi Ramosinyi) say they actually heard him call the Director of Ceremonies, instructing him to summon Rre Masweufala Abotseng whom he instructed to take the floor in order to explain, to the crowd, a document that contained detailed information on the Ba[k]hurutshe royal lineage. The document had actually been diligently and elaborately compiled by the same Rre Abotseng who is the Interim Chairperson of Ipatlisise O Ikitse, Tonota Region. Rre Abotseng compiled this document using both the material so far collected by Ipatlisise O Ikitse (especially by the late Regional Coordinator, Moses Lekaukau) as well as that from his own personal research.  Apparently realising that we, as the Organising Committee, had deprived the Ipatlisise O Ikitse Interim Committee of even a few minutes’ slot to explain their own document (not on the Thursday, nor on the Friday programme), Kgosi Radipitse apparently used his ‘royal weight’ to ‘gate-crush’ into the programme in order to feature Ipatlisise O Ikitse on the eve of the main event of the celebrations. After all, the Ipatlisise O Ikitse Committee is one that is closest to his heart. This is a Committee which since its inception some three years ago, Kgosi Ramosinyi has actively supported; a Committee that he has always vigorously encouraged and fondly entrusted to dig out the history of his people which remains under-researched and, therefore, largely unwritten.
As a result of this particular happenstance, some members of the audience started wondering as to whether Kgosi Ramosinyi was teaching us some valuable lesson. Or was the old Kgosi registering a protest Re: ‘the missing page’ on the celebrations programmes? Or was this particular document meant to be concealed? Or was the document somehow regarded to be subversive?  And if so, by who?  And to whom?
As if what happened on the eve of the Farewell and Inauguration celebrations was not enough, and as fate would play a trick on us, the rather congested programme of the main event on the following day, 18 August 2017, indicated there was an attachment:
“Note: See attachment for the hierarchy of [sic] Bogosi ja Tonota (Ditso tsa bogosi ja Tonota)”, the last entry on the programme read.
Yet the page on “ditso tsa bogosi ja Tonota” had gone ‘missing’ from the main programme. Initially the general impression was that the attachment had gone missing only from the copies of the programme given to the ordinary members of the audience, but enquiries revealed that most of the the VIPs were also asking questions about the missing attachment.
It is, therefore, as a result of these glaring omissions that the Tonota Region’s Ipatlisise O Ikitse Interim Committee, who are also the custodian of this particular Intellectual Property, has decided to release this ‘missing document’ (‘missing’ from one of our village’s historic events) by courtesy of The Sunday Standard.
Finally, allow us to borrow from the Shakespearan expression:
We Come to Present the Missing Page
Not to Praise It.

*SEATHOLO MASEGO TUMEDI is INTERIM COORDINATOR (IPATLISISE O IKITSE, TONOTA REGION)

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