Let us just admit from the onset, that there are those who when they see this title heading will bite their lips and perhaps even throw tantrums. It is one of those topics that evokes high mercurial temperatures from both protagonists and antagonists on the Bakgatla ba Kgafela chieftaincy.
The recent appointment of Kgosi Ramono Pilane Linchwe by the North West Premier Job Mokgoro as an Acting Kgosi in Moruleng has rubbed some group of rented, ill-informed and misguided youths in Moruleng the wrong way , even Kgosikgolo Kgafela’s former self-appointed bouncer “ Raitlhwana” joined the chorus. Mmegi newspaper did not want to be outdone and joined in the crusade writing falsehood and outright lies submitting claims that Nyalala is holding fort. That was malicious and desperate attempt in what is termed as “ Yellow Journalism.
This group, Raitlhwana and others recently breathe a sigh of relief when Kgosi Nyalala Pilane missed jail by whisker, where a contempt of court application against Chief Nyalala Pilane was dismissed pending his appeal.
Perhaps before talking about the newly appointed Acting Chief Rangwane Ramono Pilane Linchwe a brief historical background about Bakgatla ba Kgafela is necessary.
The historical formation of the Bakgatla ba Kgafela can be summarized in critical historical moments as has been argued by scholars and writers of the Bakgatala ba Kgafela. In 1870, this period marked the colonial separation of the tribe into two groups one in Botswana and the other in South Africa. This separation was a result of an incident in 1869 when Kgosi Kgamanyane’s relationship with the powerful patron Paul Kruger took a drastic and depressing turn. Facing internal resistance from his followers Kgamanyane could no longer keep up Kgruger’s insatiable demands for forced labour from the Bakgatla people in Saulspoort.
This failure led to Kgamanyane being tied to a wheel of a wagon and publicly flogged by Kruger in full view of his followers and other chiefs from the neighbouring Tswana groups (Makgala, 2009.91). So unbearable was the humiliation caused by the incident that Kgamanyane and approximately half his followers decided to leave the Pilanesburg area and trekked northwards until they finally settled in Mochudi in Bechuanaland (Botswana), (Mbenga and Morton, 1997:157).
Kgamanyane died around 1874 and was brough back and buried at Mabule Hill in Pilanesburg. The historical separation of the Bakgatla ba Kgafela tribe into two groups residing in two different countries has a significant bearing on the contemporary battles over political power and communal property of the tribe.
When Kgamanyane died, his son Linchwe I took over to lead the tribe. Kgamanyane only had two sons, Linchwe I and Ramono.
Linchwe I had five sons, Kgafela, Isang, Ofentse Tlhabane, Radikolo and Bogatsu. Kgafela I ( married to Seingwaneg) was the first born son of Kgosi Linchwe I and unfortunately could not succeed his own father, because his Linchwe I lived longer, thus leaving Molefi next in line of succession to lead his father’s tribe. Isang held fort for Molife up to until he Molife took over in 1929 as Kgosikgolo of Bakgatla ba Kgafela.
Isang’s kids were, Mamogale (Kgosi Mothibe’s father), Mokgatle, Tshinangwe and Ntshadi. Ofentse’s son was Thari Thari Ofentse ( Kgosi Phulane and Rangwane Ramono Pilane Linchwe’s father). Radikolo’s son was Mokoke ( Kgosi’s Sekai’s father) and lastly the last born was Bogatsu ( Kgosi Segale, Nyakale, Kgamanyane abuti – Soba and Nkisa’s father).
Linchwe I, second born was Ramono. Ramono had two sons, Tidimane and Bogopa. Tidimane’s son is Merafhe while Bogopa’s sons are Kautlwale Boenyane, Nyalala Molefe John Pilane, Linchwe ( Kagiso’s father), Ntshadi and Kaekwa.
Who is Rangwane Ramono Pilane Linchwe?
Kgosi Ramono Pilane Linchwe is a Mokgatla wa Kgafela. Kgosi Ramono Linchwe was born in 1952 in Saulspoort, Moruleng. His regiment is that of Mangana. Kgosi Ramono Linchwe is the son to Thari Ofentse Pilane who was Kgosi in Moruleng from 1942 – 1947 ( He was Kgosi for 7 years), who unfortunately later succumbed to illness and passed on in 1960. Kgosi Thari Ofetse Pilane is the son of Kgosi Tlhabane Ofentse Pilane who was also Kgosi in Moruleng from 1922 to 1942. He ruled for 21 years. Kgosi Tlhabane Ofentse Pilane was the 3rd born son of Kgosi Kgolo Linchwe I. Ramono’s family crossed to Mochudi, Botswana in 1959.
Rangwane Ramono Pilane Linchwe is an Agriculturalist by profession. He worked at the Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) now Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources ( BUAN) until his retirement in 2010 to heed the call of Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela at the Bakgatla ba Kgafela Traditional Authority. Kgosi Ramono Linchwe spent most of his formative years with Kgosi Kgolo Linchwe II learning about the Bakgatla ba Kgafela, Bogosi, culture and tradition.
Rangwane Ramono Pilane Linchwe also played a leading role in the coronation of Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela Kgafela II and was also part of the royal delegation that was present when Kgosi Kgolo Linchwe II installed Kgosi Nyalala to rule the tribe on his behalf. Kgosi Thari Ofentse Pilane’s mother was Mmalebotse Pilane from Mokgalweneng / Disake. Kgosi Thari Ofentse Pilane’s children were all born in South Africa. His wife, Marea Dikeledi Pilane (Nee Tsimatsima) was also South African from Thaba-Nchu.
The withdrawal of Nyalala Pilane’s certificate of recognition does not come as a surprise as the Paramount Chief in Botswana can appoint a person of his choice to rule over the tribe in South Africa on his behalf both in terms of custom and law. Mokgoro has in the interim appointed Rangwane Ramono Pilane Linchwe as the new leader of the tribal authority following recommendation by Kgosikgolo Kgafela Kgafela II.
Mokgoro said he removed Nyalala after recommendations by the Bakgatla ba Kgafela royal family in terms of section 4 (2) of the North West Traditional Leadership and Governance Act , 205 and section 14(4) of the North west Traditional Leadership and Governance Act 205. Nyalala Pilane’s expulsion follows the adverse findings by the Baloyi Commission, chaired by constitutional law expert Sesi Baloyi against Nyalala Pilane.
The Commission which was established to probe suspicious and dissatisfaction in the community about the administration of its finances, in particular the commercial transactions concluded by Pilane , found among other things that the traditional council had failed to prepare accounts and financial statements.
It further said of all the members of the traditional council Pilane elected to involve only Kagiso Pilane, his nephew in matters pertaining to commercial transactions with third parties. . The commission recommended that Pilane and Kagiso resign from all positions they hold in the Bakgatla ba Kgafela and associated entities.
Mokgoro appointed Phineas Tjie as the administrator of the Bakgatla ba Kgafela as recommended by the commission to implements its recommendations. But The’s involvement was met with all resistance from the faction led by Pilane.
Ramono Linchwe ‘s move into the Bakgatla ba Kgafela Tribal Authority was however, disrupted by Pilane’s rented hooligans and misguided youth led by one Morena Thale.
What followed thereafter was an embarrassing eviction order against Molefe Nyalala John Pilane and any one purporting to be a member of the Bakgatla ba Kgafela.
The eviction ordered Nyalala John Pilane to hand over with immediate effect all assets of Bakgatla ba Kgafela to the new Kgosi Ramono Linchwe, to the Premier, Professor Job Mokgoro, to Kgosikgolo Kgafela Kgafela II and to the Administrator Mr Pitje. It also ordered that Nyalala Pilane must not come anywhere close to Bakgatla ba Kgafela tribal administration offices in Moruleng. Nyalala Pilane breath a sign of relief and escaped jail by whisker where an urgent application by the Premier Job Mokgoro against him was turned down pending his appeal case. It is not yet uhuru for him, Raitlhwana and rented crew.
Perhaps it worth noting that Nyalala John Pilane was installed as a caretaker Chief of Bakgatla ba Kgafela tribe by Kgosi Linchwe II. Nyalala Molefe is a former taxi operator who was also involved in the selling of di – groontu ( Vegetables) in Moruleng and Rustenburg. He was elevated from the taxi rank to a Kgosi in 1996 by Kaptain. Although Kevin Bloom and Sasha Wales describe Kgosi Nyalala elsewhere as an embodiment of South Africa’s better tomorrow, village gossip in Moruleng has it that during his varsity days at Turfoop, he was involved in car theft, they say he was a “ Leginza” le “ Gomocha “ la di Transi and hence why he dropped out of the University. The village gossip suggests that he is basically doing what he knows best.
On the 30th July 2012, it important to note that Kgosi Nyalala John Pilane offered his resignation to Kgosikgolo Kgafela Kgafela citing ill health, that needed his attention.
On 1st August 2012, KgosiKgolo Kgafela Kgafela II, sent back a letter accepting the resignation. The Baloyi Commission / Maluleka Commission has led to Nyalala’s certificate of recognition as Chief has been withdrawn.
Thabo Lucas Seleke writes from the United Kingdom