Multitudes of Bakgatla ba Kgafela thronged the tiny village of Lesetlheng in Moruleng to celebrate their heritage day as well as celebrate their Kgosikgolo’s 10th anniversary.
The man himself was in a jubilant mood throughout the proceedings. The events started with welcoming of Mophato who had just returned from initiation. The happy looking Kgafela joined Mophato wa Mangana as they sang dikoma.
Kgafela, who assumed the throne following the death of his father, has a lot to celebrate. It has been a rollercoaster ride for him and his Morafe under the very same man who draped him with leopard skin, Ian Khama’s administration.
In 2011, in his attempt to restore order in Kgatleng, Kgafela and his tribesmen started flogging. This did not end well as he eventually got in trouble with the law. He and others were charged with unlawful floggings.
In October 2011, the government derecognised Kgafela as Kgosi. In a statement released by the then Local Government minister Lebonaamang Mokalake, Kgafela’s decision to bar ministers from addressing Kgotla meetings was denying Bakgatla the opportunity to interact with government officials to get first-hand information on government programmes.
Kgafela was also accused of writing a number of abusive letters to public officers and using abusive language against the national leadership.
He was also accused of frustrating government’s development efforts. Mokalake said besides inciting Dikgosana into disobeying the government, Kgafela had abused his powers by ‘ordering Dikgosana in Kgatleng to ignore and frustrate ministers’ efforts in their bid to hold meetings in the Kgatleng District’.
He ended up moving to Moruleng in South Africa and acquired South African citizenship. A rift grew between Bakgatla and government. A commission was even set up and after years, the then president Khama engaged in a dialogue with Kgafela leading to him being pardoned by the president.
Khama told the multitudes who thronged the Kgotla during his farewell meeting in Mochudi that government is not fighting with the tribe and they would recognise him if he applied for Botswana citizenship.
“You can ask him to come here, I will recognise
Bakgatla were delighted with the move and are awaiting their Kgosikgolo’s return. Kgafela was also said to be a happy man as Kgosi Bana Sekai was reinstated earlier this year.
Another reason for Kgafela to celebrate 10 years as leader of Bakgatla is that the Commission in the Traditional Leadership Dispute in Respect of the Bakgatla ba Kgafela Community is coming to an end. The Commission started on September 19, 2016 and now they are awaiting a report, which was expected to be in favour of Kgafela. It did not.
The Commission was to amongst other things confirm the Role of a Paramount Chief in terms of tradition and customs specifically in Botswana vs Moruleng; The powers and procedure if any to appoint a Senior Traditional leader of Bakgatla ba Kgafela in Moruleng; To determine who the rightful heir is, in terms of tradition and custom, had Tidimane Pilane not acted in the manner indeed which led to the appointment of Nyalala Pilane; The Role of Senior Traditional Leader of Bakgatla ba Kgafela in Moruleng; The correct relationship between Kgafela Kgafela II and the Senior Traditional Leader in Moruleng under constitutional dispensation; The flow of financial benefits in any transactions conducted with any third party in the name of or on behalf of Bakgatla ba Kgafela by any person. There is a popular video clip in which Kgafela boasts of how they as Bakgatla take marijuana.
Now that it has been legalised in the country he is a citizen of, he is surely a happy man.