Thursday, June 20, 2024

“When Rustling became an Art” book awakens  Bakgatla

Sometime in 2010 or 2011, a group of men led by Kgosana George Thwane of Artesia travelled more than 100 kilometers from Mochudi to Goodhope in search of “justice”. Each one of them was armed with moretlwa (a whip from moretlwa tree). It appeared the type of justice they were looking for was in the form of traditional discipline. The person to be disciplined was Barolong tribesperson, Kitso Mokaila, who was the minister whose portfolio responsibilities included Wildlife management. He is currently Botswana’s ambassador to the United States. A year before that visit, Bakgatla poached a variety of wild life species during their initiation exercise in the bush. The wildlife department got to know about that.  They then readied themselves so much that when another group of initiates was in the bush in 1910, the department was also in the area patrolling to ensure that no poaching took place again. That frustrated Bakgatla leadership because the boys remained without roasted game meat or what they were able to poach was not enough. They then complained that the presence of game scouts in the surroundings was an invasion of their privacy because every corner they reached, wildlife officers were on the spot. Vehicles leaving camp site were searched. Bakgatla were irritated further by the presence of a female officer among wildlife officers.  While in camp, initiates are said to be in confinement. Females are not allowed in the vicinity.

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