Mmegi Online :: Moshupa: The village of hanging rocks
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Last Updated
Thursday 13 December 2018, 12:33 pm.
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Moshupa: The village of hanging rocks

Legend has it that the river that runs through Moshupa has been pivotal in the history of the village.
By Staff Writer Thu 13 Dec 2018, 23:29 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Moshupa: The village of hanging rocks








Respected oral historian, Senye Jafta Matale of Ga-Madimela ward says the river is called Mosope after a Mokwena man posted in Moshupa by Kgosi Sechele I.

Mosope was tasked with guarding the border between the Bakwena and the Bangwaketse long before the Bakgatla-ba-ga-Mmanaana settled in Moshupa.

The river is said to be inhabited by a terrible dragon, which stays somewhere near the hill that borders the Phuting and Kgosing wards.

Moshupa has beautiful and intriguing low hills that must be archiving ancient history of the village dating back to the times of Mosope. The hanging gigantic rocks in the hills cannot escape the eyes of a curious visitor. Legend has it that one of the rocks would fall when a Kgosi dies.

Moshupa, with a population of over 18,000 people, buzzes with activity, especially near the bridge over the river. Construction workers shout instructions to each other competing with the noise of the machines.

Young children play around the construction site as a woman hurries past, maybe to prepare dinner for her family. Some donkeys are grazing a few metres off the road without a care in the world.

At the Kgotla, the Kgosana is busy talking to some elderly men. Near Moshupa Trading Store, the rhythm of Mogolodi Masolobana's guitar catches attention. He is a self-taught guitarist who earns a living by mimicking his heroes like George Swabi, Phika Raditsebe and Stampore in drinking-holes all over the village. "Franco o ile o ile... Franco o ile o ile...Mare o mo Moshupa. Ruri ke motlholo," he sings after mistaking a visitor for well-known kwasa-kwasa musician Franco.

Matale says the people of Moshupa are part of Bakgatla-ba-ga-Mmanana who are an offshoot of the Bakgatla-ba-ga-Kgafela. He is currently penning a book on the history of his people. He says Bakgatla originate from Mosetlha near Pretoria in the former Transvaal, South Africa.

Matale says that the two Bakgatla groups parted at a place called Sefikile near Moruleng and later ba-ga-Mmanaana were invited into present-day Botswana by the Bakwena to assist them during their wars with the Amandebele and the Boers during the Mfecane.
According to 'Building a Nation' by Jeff Ramsay and others, ba-ga-Mmanaana came into present-day Botswana after Kgosi Mosielele fled South Africa to seek refuge among Sechele I's Bakwena after the kgosi rejected the Boers' efforts to force black merafe to join their forces. On 17 august 1852, Pieter Scholtz's commandos advanced on the ba-ga-Mmanaana who

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then fled to Sechele's fortified place at Dimawe. The Boers followed Mosielele to Dimawe and upon their arrival on 28 August demanded that Sechele surrender the younger kgosi but Sechele stood his ground by declaring to the Boers:
"I shall not deliver Mosielele. He is my child. If I am to deliver him, I shall have to open my belly; but I challenge you on Monday to show which is the strongest man. I am, like yourself, provided with arms and ammunition and have more fighting people than you... You are already in my pot; I shall only have to put the lid on it on Monday."

Although the Boers managed to defeat the combined forces of the Bangwaketse and ba-ga-Mmanaana, old Sechele was able to resist the invaders who called off the attack.
The strategic Sechele regrouped his resistance armies to a natural fortress at Dithubaruba and the Boers were reluctant to further attack the Bakwena and their allies, who had by then recovered enough to offer another resistance. On the other hand another section of the Sechele's allies, the Bangwaketse of Senthufe were also able to regroup and successfully resist the Boers. It is alleged by some that 36 Boers died while all in all 89 Batswana allies died. Some historians believe the battle of Dimawe is an important milestone in the history of Botswana since after the war, the Boers avoided crossing into Botswana because they learnt that Batswana were prepared to resist them and fight for their independence.

After the wars, when peace had returned to the land, Sechele I settled the ba-ga-Mmanaana in the mountainous Moshupa because of its natural defence, fertile soils and plentiful waters.

Bakgatla-ba-ga Mmanaana continued to live in relative peace until the 1930's when their Kgosi Gobuamang had a scuffle with Kgosi Bathoen II of the Bangwaketse. Bathoen, together with the British administration, banished Kgosi Gobuamang from GaNgwaketse and in the process, ba-ga-Mmanaana split into two with one section under Gobuamang going to stay in Thamaga. Today the main royal family of the ba-ga-Mmanaana is based in Thamaga.

Today, despite its troubled history, Moshupa is one of the fastest growing villages in Botswanaand was recently upgraded to a sub-district.

The village boasts of six primary schools namely Bakgatla, Bakoko, Kebonyekgotla, Kgabophuti, Mosielele and Kgabosetso. There are new government buildings sprouting all over the village and there is hope that the future is bright for the village.

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