Save & Preserve Mmashalang

Save & Preserve Mmashalang is a petition that seeks to stop the extinction of traditional community heritage at Mmashalang, Mankgaile,  Ga Molepo. The traditional council in the village has launched a project that seeks to turn a piece of land where an ancient tribe once lived into a pseudo suburb. This is a devious plan by the estranged Headman Ngoato Makopa Molepo and a group of “friends” with benefits masquerading as a community Civic. The civic also consists of members of the Economic Freedom Fighters who have shamelessly infiltrated the operations of the village traditional council.

Our petition seeks to request the Polokwane Municipality to review the decision by Makhudu Traditional Council to request a plan for demarcation at Mmashalang,  Ga Molepo. There was a transgression of a cultural principle that warrants the removal of the “Headman”. His recognition is, according to customary, unlawful. This also includes all the decisions made following his unlawful recognition.

According to the Traditional Institutions of Governance and Leaderships Act (2003)(as amended), traditional authorities administer traditional communities in partnership with municipalities.  They are also responsible for granting residents permission to occupy land and demarcate as such etecetra.

The frame work also stipulates in paragraph 11 (1) a – that the recognition of a senior traditional leader, headman, or head woman has to be done by the royal family concerned. It further states, in paragraph 12 (1)a-d that a senior  traditional leader,  headman or head woman may be removed.

Tell a friend.  Spread the petition far and wide. SAVE ANCIENT HERITAGE FROM EXTINCTION.

In saving the heritage of the traditional community, we secure traditional knowledge for future generations. We are not against development.  Residents have been asking for stands for over 25 years. It is becoming clear the Headman/woman delayed giving residents stands because they want to sell the piece of land for money, to people who are not residents of the village, without proper consultation.

Development has to be done in a fair and transparent manner taking into consideration the heritage, legacy of our forefathers and mothers. The aspirations and views of all residents about planning for the demarcation have to be equally reflected. It should never be “a one man show”.The land at Mmashalang embodies all that.

Intensive consultation with everyone affected has to be done during the planning phase.

We request your signature to make this petition a success.

I am a Dinaka/Kiba practitioner. Can i get paid for my service?

In spite being one of the oldest genres in Southern Africa, Dinaka/Kiba music and dance is one of the most neglected and underrated art forms in modern day South Africa.

A situational analysis of the Arts and Culture Industry in South Africa reveals contemporary art forms such as jazz, house, afro-pop, hip hop and kwaito just to mention a few, are the most appreciated.

The dominance of these contemporary art forms over their traditional counterparts on the arts and culture landscape is so deeply entrenched. Those who raise this issue might be dismissed as hopeless and bitter. What makes matters worse is that the lack of remuneration among Dinaka/Kiba practitioners has long been internalized by rural communities as ‘okay’.

Contemporary art forms are perceived as the ‘hippiest’ and ‘happening’. Hence mani-a-followers do not mind spending money for products, performance at concerts and sponsored gigs.

Of course yes, contemporary artists need to be paid for their craft. They have bills to pay, families to feed, right?

We now know through an article published in the Sunday World dated 21 February 2016 that for instance, house musician Donald charges R35 000, Hugh Masekela (may his soul rest in peace) R280 000(say what), Chomee R40 000, Nathi R50 000 and legendary Ray Phiri (may his soul rest in peace) R240 000 for so called appearance fees, with terms and conditions nogal. The underlying justification for these figures is that these individual artists perform alongside a crew which also needs to be paid.

Meanwhile in Ga Molepo, a 22 member Dinaka/Kiba music and dance ensemble charges a meagre R300 for a performance. Such performance fees are unconditional and have remained so for decades. Throughout the years, paying Dinaka/Kiba ensembles close to nothing has become a norm within black communities. This questionable norm is standard practice in most regions of Limpopo where Dinaka/Kiba can be found. At times, some groups are not even paid for their performances. Instead, they are given food and drinks (majwala) as compensation for their performance.

The idea that Dinaka/Kiba artists can perform about 10 songs for 6 to 8 hours and not be equally remunerated is mind boggling. Many residents seem to have accepted the blatant economic marginalization of Dinaka/Kiba artists as normal. For instance, there is opposition to the raising of performance fees from R300 to R1500 at Mankgaile, Ga Molepo. The truth is that even the R1500 performance fee falls short of what a 22 member Dinaka/Kiba ensemble ought to get paid.

That said, one could argue that contemporary artists are commercially viable than traditional artists.  The argument could be extended by stating that Dinaka/Kiba practitioners are more charitable than their contemporary counterparts.

However, a closer look at the living conditions of Dinaka/Kiba artists tells a different story. In spite of their unique inborn talents, most of them struggle to put bread on the table. In a capitalist society that is South Africa, is it a sin for a Dinaka/Kiba practitioner to get paid for their service?


Latest Research Findings: Records Management an area of neglect in Traditional Institutions of Leadership and Governance

An info-graphic that depicts Records Management challenges of Traditional Institutions in Ga Molepo, Limpopo province, South Africa.

By Mahlaga J Molepo

The effective management of records in Traditional Institutions of Leadership and Governance is necessary for accountability and transparency in a country that is battling with high levels of corruption in public institutions. The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (National Assembly of South Africa) oversees the Department of Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs and other statutory entities. The Traditional Institutions of Leadership and Governance Framework Act (Act No. 41 of 2003, (Act No. 23 of 2009 as amended)) was passed into law in 2003. In 2009, the Act was amended and subsequently enacted in 2010. In 2017, there is a new bill that has been tabled for the amendment of certain sections of the Act. But little attention has been given to records management practices of traditional institutions in all the proposals to review the Act thus far.

Our study has found records management efforts by government only stops at government department level.  The latest research findings provide insight into the record management challenges faced by traditional institutions in the new democratic dispensation. The findings can be inferred to traditional institutions in other regions as well.

Related story: Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Bill: finalization (2003)

A cross sectional survey was used to investigate records management practices of traditional institutions in Ga Molepo, Limpopo province, South Africa. Time and financial constraints did not allow for a lengthy study. The 35 respondents who took part in the study are members of traditional councils. The overwhelming majority of the respondents were of royal descent, and mostly men who belong to a council under a headman/woman as a senior chief.

Records keeping in traditional institutions of Ga Molepo is undertaken by people referred to as ‘secretaries’.

Traditional councils in Ga Molepo use word of mouth for communication, notebooks and exercise books without carbon copies in the creation, storage and dissemination of records. These are very fragile tools of managing public records and result in the loss of significant records documenting heritage and the administration of rural communities.

Furthermore, respondents indicated there is lack of political will on the part of local government to encourage traditional institutions to upgrade from outdated records management ways to modern ones.

Read also: Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Act ( RSA 2010)

While Chapter 2, Section 4 (Subsections 1-4) of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Act (RSA 2010) outlines the functions of traditional institutions, there is very little detail regarding standards and guidelines for record keeping in traditional institutions.

Related story: Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill (RSA 2017)

Our main conclusion of the study is that there is no real records management practices by both senior leadership and headmen/women in the traditional councils of Ga Molepo. Modern records management in traditional institutions is essential for the preservation of communal memory and service delivery at grassroots level. There is an urgent need to address the records management practices of traditional institutions in order to forge a culture of accountability, transparency and corporate governance. Effective records management with standards and guidelines, set with the advice of technocrats and information professionals, should be part of the plans to improve on the functions of traditional institutions in future amendment bills of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (No. 23 of 2009). Both traditional institutions and government have a responsibility to make financial resources available for the implementation of a comprehensive records management program in traditional institutions.



Molepo, M.J., and L.M. Cloete. 2017. “A Proposal for Improving Records Management Practices of Traditional Institutions in Ga Molepo South Africa.” Mousaion 35 (1). 46-67.

Researcher ORCID:

Economic Freedom in our Lifetime: a Critique

The African National Congress Youth Leaque(ANCYL) and its bloodline of youth leaders are credited for coining the popular slogan “economic freedom in our lifetime”. The slogan is mostly used to emphasize  the importance of transforming the South African economy to be inclusive of previously marginalized racial groups such as people of African descent; in particular the youth, women and children.

In August 2010 the ANCYL presented a programme titled Orgnizational Growth, Development and Renewal towards Economic Freedom in our Lifetime: Back to Basic. This programme was introduced at a time when the mother body of the ANCYL, the African National Congress(ANC)was preparing to celebrate its 100 years of existence as Africa’s oldest liberation movement. The ANCYL argue the idea behind the call for organizational growth, development and renewal was meant to rubber-stamp the critical role young people should play within a developmental state.

Critics of the programme of economic freedom perceive it as an acknowledgement that the ruling ANC had achieved political freedom but failed to liberate the masses economically. Interestingly, debates that followed the introduction of the economic freedom message by the ANCYL have fallen short of unpacking the many unanswered questions around the slogan of economic freedom in our lifetime.  For instance, in the main; is it necessary to understand the relationship between the concepts of economics and culture first before we can go around preaching the message of economic freedom in our lifetime?

What is economics in its varying definitions?  These questions and more need to be answered so that the millions of masses of people avoid the falling into a trap similar to the one carved by the ANC when they promised ‘a better life for all’ based on political freedom aspirations only in 1994.

There is no doubt that Julius Malema remains one of the former ANCYL members who believed so much in the ideal of economic freedom in our lifetime to an extend that it is often wrongly associated with him and him alone. Of course, Malema has since left the ANC and formed his own political party; taking with him the ideal engraved in the slogan economic freedom in our lifetime. It is not surprising his new home is also called Economic Freedom Fighters. From the name of the  EFF we can derive there has been a consolidation of ideas that were somehow spoken at random in the ANCYL towards a more focused tone of advocacy. The new political home of Malema and many other former ANYL members has grown in leaps and bounds since its formation and is now a kingmaker on the South African political landscape.

So what is the problem with this seemingly glorious economic ideal? Judging from the election results of 2014, the ANC is on the decline and this has helped loosen its grip on power thereby allowing other political parties such as the Democratic Alliance(DA) to make its mark. Since 2014, things have gone from bad to worse inside the ANC with scandal after scandal raising fears they might lose the upcoming general elections in 2019. Continuing political killings among ANC members in Kwazulu-Natal are not helping the situation.

Assuming that the ANC loses in 2019 and the DA takes over and the EFF become main opposition; chances are the EFF might take over the reigns in future. It is this unknown future which we should try to imagine in our attempt to answer the questions raised earlier regarding the ideal of economic freedom in our lifetime. In this essay, I argue the ideal of economic freedom in our lifetime needs unpacking since economics is a cultural phenomenon. That for real economic freedom to be felt by the ordinary man and woman on the street, cultural freedom should precede economic freedom or the two be implemented and advocated for at the same time. That the approach taken by the EFF in its mission to liberate economically is one dimensional and therefore not dissimilar to the one taken by the ANC pre 1994.

In my attempt to find a definition of economics I came across varying definitions by different authors. The search was done in peer reviewed journals, books and of course, the internet. In order to make it easier for readers to find some of the sources cited for the definitions, it was decided those definitions accessible through search engines such as Google would be useful. Two definitions found on Google caught my attention. The American Economic Association define economics as a discipline that studies scarcity, how people use resources, or the study of decision making. The definition goes further to identify the change of behaviour by people when they want things as the central tenet of economics. Important to note is that a change of behavior involves decision making on a micro economic level(i.e. budgets in homes) as well as on a macro-economic level (i.e. government, industry etc.). Furthermore, the Economics Network at the University of Bristol state that the ‘ancient etymology of economics defines it as a science of wealth’. That throughout the centuries, economics has evolved to become a social science that studies the well-being of nations by borrowing from other sciences such as history, law and psychology just to mention a few.

From the above mentioned definitions we can derive that although there is a misconception that economics deals with only numbers, markets and currencies; the core focus is on the well-being of human beings. That said, human beings are among the many living species on earth who have thus far managed to carve civilizations; from the ancient to the modern, the documented and the undocumented. In the Global North, history lessons teach us European and American nations have sought to change their well-being by embarking on sea crusades across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in search of better living and wealth. Such crusades enabled these nations to come into contact with people of the Global South where the ideals of trade resulted in the introduction of slavery and war as man sought dominance over the other. Among other continents, Africa became a battleground of cultural contestation when Europeans and American nations realized the continent was endowed with so many natural resources.

There are a lot of theories out there which seek to explain why the arrival of nations from the Global North was the beginning of the end of first; political subjugation and the economic enslavement of the people of Africa. One of the theories seems to suggest that the cultural traits of African people(i.e. those for warmth, peace, selflessness and collective brother/sisterhood) were taken advantage of and as such exploited by the cultural traits of violence, selfishness and individualism that were displayed by colonialists. The use of the adjective cultural is used deliberately here to refer to the distinct way of life practiced by a racial group of people among others. This includes traditions, customs and values.

In modern South Africa it is easier to tell which racial groups have been successful in utilizing their cultural traits for the accumulation of wealth. Whites in particular, are known to own the majority of the wealth when compared to people of African descent who make up the worrying statistics of the 27.7 percent unemployment rate reported by Statistics South Africa in 2017.

Loosely put, it could be argued political subjugation during the early years of colonization and the segregation policies of apartheid has assisted whites to accumulate more wealth than people of African descent. This has since culminated in gross unemployment, poverty, inequality among people of African descent who are finding it very difficult to keep up with the economically savvy, competitive behavior of people of other races. As a result, the message of ‘economic freedom in our lifetime’ as advocated for by the ANCYL and EFF in 2017 is as relevant as political freedom in our lifetime was among veteran elders of the ANC, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania(PAC) and others in the 19th century. How we acquire the freedoms is all vested in the approach used in a generational revolution.

Surely, the revolutionary approaches of Mao Tse-Dong in China are totally different from those employed by Nelson Mandela and company in South Africa. In China, the approach was Cultural Revolution first to allow the masses to be self-assertive and self-reliant. Although the was much suffering, death and torture during the ‘Great Leap Forward’, those who have lived to see present day China would attest it was worth it.

Today China has a thriving and growing economy and the masses can be counted among others as the most culturally sensitive, self-assertive and self-reliant nation in the world. Comparatively, very little can be said about the revolutionary approach taken by leaders of Nelson Mandela’s ilk on behalf of South Africa and its people. If there are any lessons to be learned from the likes of China is that there is a relationship between economics and culture or vice versa. That an affirmed mind is not susceptible to subjective social engineering unless such a move is intended to ensure that in a global world, one has a place they can proudly call home.

My greatest fear is that a slogan such as ‘economic freedom in our lifetime’ in South Africa has become so popular to an extent any criticism leveled against it is often perceived as counter revolutionary no matter how sensible it can be. I have been following the programme that gave birth to the ideal of economic freedom in the ANCYL and are yet to come across clear cut policies on how such a humongous task is going to be achieved. The inconsistencies in the nomenclature cannot be over-emphasized.

While the ANCYL talks ‘economic freedom in our lifetime’ its mother body speaks of ‘radical economic transformation’.  Do this two mean the same thing? Not even the EFF has such policies at the present moment. EFF leader Julius Malema occasionally quotes Steve Biko’s ‘black man you are on your own’ slogan but it is still not clear how an economic revolution is going to be take place within a nation that still suffers from an inferiority complex that was inflicted by decades long of dominance by self-assertive nations of the Global North. So, what is it going to be; economic freedom first and cultural freedom later or both?

Mahlaga Molepo is a member of Makhudu Traditional Council and writes in his own capacity.

Lerato la Mmino wa Setšo – An Autobiography of Mashegoane Molepo


Traditional Communities who still very much rely on oral culture to transmit Information and Knowledge are at the risk of being left behind by a rapidly changing society. In these communities, word of mouth is everything while residents seldom capture important events in their daily lives. Documentation is a problem and it is often difficult to verify sources of information. One can say for instance; that “the world is coming to an end tomorrow” and people would believe them to a point where the story can circulate or “trend” for months in community social discourse.

As a traditional community,  Mankgaile village, Ga Molepo shares the attributes and characteristics above. We live in such closely related families we frequently have to contend with issues of love, betrayal, scandals, jealousy, character assassination, competition and sometimes even death among residents. Ba re gona le “go welwa ke phoko”. This happens when there is a topical issue that has drawn the attention of the majority of residents on either one individual or a particular family. When this happens, residents often have nothing else to talk about except that which is seen as the top story in the community’s news circuit.

Often times, the top story will circulate at community gatherings like weddings, mephaso, manyalo, at taverns and everywhere else imaginable; including in the homes of residents – where love, laughter, lies, treachery, suspense and gossip fills the private spaces. The dialogue is often vertical(i.e. Community<——–>Royal Family) or horizontal(i.e. Community Member<———>Community Member).

The year 2015 has been both interesting and challenging for me and my family. At the center of it all, the issue of Mmino wa Setšo or Dinaka/Kiba in the village has been trending throughout the twelve months. More so because on arrival from Gauteng, my father; who is now a pensioner, decided to put into effect the decision he has always warned some of the practitioners of Dinaka/Kiba Music and Dance he would do on his return home: to deal with the rotten apples among members of Boramaga Traditional Group. This decision became unpopular among those who felt they had lost the war of distraction they have been waging on the group for years. After everything that has happened, i decided, together with my father, to write an auto-biography that will capture the incredible musical journey he has walked since childhood up until old age. What came out of the interviews and research i conducted was a short text of 20 pages titled Lerato la Mmino wa Setšo written in Northern Sotho of course, not English.

I felt it was time to write down the details so as to inform my fellow community members about the story of Dinaka/Kiba in my village. I am hopeful the few that will be able to locate and read the facts in the text will be able to see the issue from a different perspective altogether. That still, i am aware the text will be critiqued since i am his son. What i want to make clear is that my writing the text has less to do with my relationship to him and more to do with the professional commitment i have as a qualified Information Scientist. That’s what i do on a daily basis: to research, evaluate, create, organize, store and disseminate information. Therefore, my appeal to anyone who comes across the text is: read with an open mind, criticize constructively, give facts and lets all contribute positively to a balanced social discourse which can help our community of Mankgaile and Ga Molepo in general to move forward and not to degenerate and stagnate into oblivion and reckless conversations which have a potential to cause serious conflict.


For any queries and comments relating to this text send an email to I am also on Facebook, and Twitter.


DOWNLOAD A PDF version of the text here>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>




Kgoro ya Ga Makhudu: ke seo sa moselana a seripa?

Pharela ke ye. Ka nako ya go ngwalwa ga pukwana ye e bitšwago BANA BA MALAHLELA(ngwaga 2012), Kgoro ya gaMakhudu e na le mathata ao a hlotšego  hlakahlakano setšhabeng. Mohumagadi wa Sekate Mankgatleng e sa le a re go boa ka gae go tšwa ga Mogano, a napa a thoma go se sa rerišana le bakgomana ba kgoro bao e lego ditlogolokhukhu tša mokgalabje Malahlela jwale ka ge go hlalositšwe.

Bothata jo bongwe jo bogolo ke gore gona le bakgomana ba Kgoro ya ga Makhudu bao ba tsejwago ka baga Makgaritša(e lego bakgomana ba kgoro ya gaMakhudu baga rangwanea tšona) bao ba bonalago ba huetša Mohumagadi wa Sekate Mankgatleng ka moya wa go se nyake go rerišana le bana ba mokgalabje Malahlela ba mosadi wo mogolo jwale ka dihlogo tša Kgoro ya gaMakhudu. Gona le mathata a go fana ka dijarata tša bodulo mafelong a mabenkele le a dipapadi, batšofe ba motse ba tshwenyega ka ditšhelete tša bona tša mphiwafela, ofisi ya motse ga se ya agiwa, masogana a motse a lla ka go segiwa ga dijarata Mmašalang, noka yeo e fetago kgauswi le motse e tšhilafetše, go na le mortuary motseng, badudiba ga kgone go hwetša ditirelo tša magwalo, bohodu le dipolayano di a atile, kgoro ga e sa tsena ka disontaga, mohumagadi wa Sekate Mankgatleng o dia dilo a nnoši ka ntle le go rerišana le bakgomana gammogo le setšhaba – ga go sana molao motseng.

Ka go le lengwe, mokgalabje Mankgatleng o boloketšwe Sebetiela diplotong gomme moya wa gagwe ga se wa robala ka ge a nyaka go boa gae. Potšišo ke gore naa mokgalabje o tlo tsenela ka ga mang gore a se no boa gae kage e le kgale a hlokofetše? Lapa la gabo, e lego lapa la mokgalabje Malahlela tatagwe, ke ka ga Mashegoane phejane ya gabo.

Potšišo-kgolo ke gore: naa kgoro ya Ga Makhudu e sa le gona goba go jo šala fela leina?


1st Annual Molepo Dinaka/Kiba Festival

1st Annual Molepo DinakaKiba Festival

This is an An annual space for performance, dialoguecooperative economicspedagogy and development of Dinaka/Kiba music and practice for the people of Polokwane and beyond.

Dinaka/Kiba is an important heritage from pre-colonial Southern Africa. In spite the fact that the music is one of the oldest indigenous genres in Southern Africa, the art form continues to struggle to make an impact in the lives of communities due to structural challenges. The festival is strategically designed to re-engineer the art form by dealing with structural challenges in a quest to ensure that Dinaka/Kiba artists benefit economically from their talents.

The organizers wish to make this an annual ‘school’, humbly asking what defines a festival and what can it do for public space. With kind support from the National Arts Council of South Africa this year, the festival aims to set the tone for proposed future developmental initiatives alongside the festival. This includes amongst many; research projects aimed at using scientific inquiry to identify problems towards innovative solutions.

The 1st festival took place on the 29th November 2014 and was supported by the National Arts Council of South Africa.

Click link below to see the programme for the day>>>>>>

Find the official festival page on

The organizers have since compiled a report for all stakeholders, in particular the National Arts Council of South Africa. In an effort to protect Intellectual Property, we wont be publishing the whole report here. However, readers can get a glimpse of the report by reading the abstract below:


Ist Annual Molepo Dinaka/Kiba Festival Report


This report consolidates all the ideas behind the concept of a festival, helps with the formulation of research questions and analyses the potential of future festivals that will build on the successes and weaknesses of the 1st inaugural festival herein referred to as the 1st Annual Molepo Dinaka/Kiba Festival.

It aims at using the concept of a festival strategically to identify and explore further, challenges facing Dinaka/Kiba Music and Dance groups and how these impact on the motivation, image, preservation of the genre and its practitioners. A closer look at the afore-mentioned elements can help us understand what causes the disintegration of groups, the drop in public performance standard, the fragmentation of a typical Dinaka/Kiba group as organization so that we come up with proper and realistic interventions.

The findings of this report will help the National Arts Council to attend to visible gaps in the distribution of funds to our cultural landscape, especially Indigenous African Music and Dance(Mmino wa Setšo) such as Dinaka/Kiba and related genres.


Molepo Traditional Dance Group Profile

Preview Dinaka Booklet

The art form:
Dinaka/Kiba music and dance or mmino wa setšo as is known among rural communities in Limpopo province, South Africa; is an important heritage from pre-colonial Southern Africa. Our explanation of the art form is twofold: Firstly, Dinaka/Kiba music and dance as cultural expression – an aesthetic which has survived marginalization and misinterpretation through colonization and apartheid times. Secondly, Dinaka/Kiba music and dance as an oral teaching instrument central to Indigenous Knowledge Institutions of Southern Africa and the role it plays in knowledge sharing.

The Group:
Molepo Traditional Music and Dance is a group that performs traditional Northern Sotho music and dance also known as Dinaka/Kiba or simply put mmino wa setṧo; which is predominantly found in Limpopo province and can be found in different regions. The group is originally from Mankgaile village, Ga Molepo – a rural town located along the north eastern outskirts of Polokwane City under the current chieftainship of Kgosi Maisha III of the Molepo Traditional Authority. The group has 22 members in total, 15 elderly and 7 youths(below the age of 35). As a result of cross-gender influences, out of the 22 people membership, we have three females who play the drums or meropa. The rest of the members are males who play the instruments also known as dinaka.

Originally the group wore selected pieces of animal skins(those of the Bush Buck, Concubine etc depending on the individual’s taste, tribal totem and spiritual inclination) and colourful beads made up of white, orange, blue and black as costumes. Again, as a result of cross-tribal influences the current colours of the costumes worn by the group during live performances are black inter mingled with purple, powder blue, white and red costumes, white takkies and socks often times complimented with animal skins and colourful beads. These colours reveal a great deal about the presence of some members from now defunct Dinaka/Kiba groups from other regions in Limpopo such as Ga Dikgale

Core services and products:

We compose, produce and perform Dinaka/Kiba Music and Dance through invite from clients such as traditional weddings and ceremonies as well as events organized by ourselves such as festivals, workshops and film exhibitions. We also sell studio recorded Compact Discs and DVD’s, books, merchandise etc.




1895 War between King Makgoba and the ZAR Repuliek

King Makgoba

For the younger generations who were born into freedom; so called “born frees”, it becomes a difficult task to understand ones origins and history given the many barriers to historical information. It can become even more difficult if there are no tangible records available to point to truth and fact; worse when there is virtually no living person in a form of experienced elders to recite the tale over again. When those who are still around are often too reluctant to share information, the only option available for the youth is to do it on their own.

I happened to be one of those young people who has thus far gone through a lot of pain trying to unravel the mystery of my own history and origins. After some extensive consultation with a couple of elders within my immediate family of the Molepos i began to realize just how tough it is for us as young people to find out exactly first; who we are, where we come from in terms of tribal relationships and so forth. Much of what ive been able to collect through my circles over the years did not help that much and only served to keep me second guessing. I would say that after almost 10 years of volunteer and unscientific research within my own circles i never came across information that was poignant and simply put than the one recorded by Professor LOUIS CHANGUION. His work titled “A REPORT ON THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF NDOWANA’S PROSPECTING ACTIVITIES ON ITEMS OF HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE IN HAENERTSBURG AND ITS SURROUNDINGS” was an oasis i was looking for after years of knowledge thirst and speculation.

I have always believed the notion that the Molepos as we know them today owe their allegiances to a rich history of ups and downs; just like many tribes of Africa who were displaced, forcefully ruled and crucified by colonial rule. Perhaps the very suffering of these tribes under colonial rule in my view is one of the reason why our elders feel i would imagine; its better to not tell than subject children to stories of horror, subjugation and humiliation. Still, for a young person like myself who believe that it is only through telling the facts that the mystery of history be unraveled; the elderly silence that i have been subjected to by some quarters in my own family is a spectacle that i do not want to see continue. And so i have decided to; with all well meaning intentions; collect as much information as i could for review, storage, re-organisation and dissemination.

So here is the story: According to Changuion, L(2008), the Molepos started living around the area of Hearnetzburg between the year 1500 and 1700. In his article Changuion stated that “It seems, however, that there is a general consensus among the authoritative sources about the origins of the black tribes and that some of them arrived in this area some time between 1500 and 1700. The Mamabolo tribe settled, not far from where, much later, the village of Haernetzburg was founded and the Molepo (Malepo) tribe on their western side (where they, the Molepos, still are to this day). Further to the east, below the escarpment, stayed the BaTlou under kgoshi Makgoba. The Mamabolos, it is believed, were the first tribe to have settled in this area – some say even before 1500. They were all part of the Northern Sotho nation”. From this information one learns that there is some form of link between the Basothos of Lesotho and the tribes described by Changuion; and which includes the Molepos. Could this link be based on the expoits of King Moshoeshoe and his ability to unite nations during the Mfeqane wars led by the Zulus? It is also clear from the extract above that the people of Kgosi Makgoba and the Molepos share the same tribal totem because they are known as the BaTlou or Elephant which the Molepos of today still carry. King Makgoba’s praise poem(found here further attests to this relationship with Molepos.

In addition; one also learns that there is a clear distinction between a tribe known as the Bapedi in the region now known as Ga Sekhukhune and the Northen Sotho tribes mentioned in Changuion’s article. I cannot imagine a day and a situation whereby the people in the North Western and North Eastern parts of Limpopo province of the day argue and fight over who is the paramount Chief of all the people in our vicinity given the historical fact of Kgosi Thulare and his many brave conquests which led to him believing that he ruled over the said piece of land until the ZAR Republiek came and took it away from him. This we acknowledge in light of the fact that; as Setumu, TE in Changuion(2008) stated: “The Bapedi chiefdom is singled out from the other Northern Sotho chiefdoms because it enjoyed a lot of ascendancy over the others in all spheres. It once established a powerful empire which reached its zenith during the reign of Thulare (about 1790 – 1824). Its influence was so extensive that other [Northern Sotho]chiefdoms came to recognise its paramountcy”.The ZAR and thereafter the British
forces in the 1870s destroyed the power of the Sekhukunes and since then the Northern Sothos did not have a Paramount Chief (King) any more”. We also acknowledge the sacrifices made by Kgosi Mampuru II when he resisted against colonial rule but unfortunately ended up paying for his life. His remains are a mystery up to this day(2013). According to Changuion(2008)”Traditional leadership is still
divided by our present government into three categories, i.e. Kgoshighulus (Kings or paramount chiefs) at the top followed by Kgoshis (chiefs) and under the chiefs the Indunas (headmen). The pyramid has a very few kings on top but many chiefs under them and even more headmen under the chiefs. Thus in the former Lebowa there are no kings at present but 128 chiefs and over 900 headmen”. This is understantable considering that the same structure still suffice even today. However; one cannot help but evaluate further the statement by Setumu on Thulare’s paramountcy during those internecine battles; which is interesting given the fact that there is currently a debate raging among-st the inhabitants of the said regions of Limpopo as to; for example, what is the name of the official language spoken and how should the tribes combined be referred to as?

In contrast; i am of the opinion it would be a serious indictment on the part of the people of Sekhukhune land to claim that everyone; and by everyone i mean all the tribes combined;are Pedis and therefore speak a language called Sepedi. Although i am personally not against the ideal of uniting people; historical records point out a distinction between the different tribes of North-Eastern and North Western regions including the South; i believe they should be treated as such and while we should not rubbish any claims to paramountcy; any attempt to solidify must be done through continuous consultation. Realistically, the Molepos as well as other tribes living next to them are Northern Sothos and kin to King Makgoba and his people. This relationship is documented in Changuion’s article where he retorted: “Makgoba himself stated in 1892, when he appeared before the Location Commission, that, although they were previously subordinate to the Letswalo/Narene tribe (Nare, that is buffalo totem), they are closely related to the Molepos (Tlou – elephant totem)”.

So why write this some of you may ask. Well i am a young person who is passionate about history and its often unspoken truths. It gives me great discomfort to realize there is so much to know yet not many in our generation are not willing to use the time offered by the Almighty to dig deep, search and find facts about identity.By writing and sharing this knowledge i hope to inspire many others to put knowledge of self first before anything else. What i learned from Changuion’s article is that if you dont tell your tales someone else will come and tell them for you.

We now know that Makhudu Traditional Authority(Headman role) is a part of the broader Traditional Authority which is Molepo Traditional Authority and that the Molepos are kin to Kgosi Makgoba and his people. That the 1895 War between Kgosi Makgoba and the ZAR Republic was fought alongside individual members of the Molepos as Changioun remarks: “Although Molepo did not openly joined in the war on the side of Makgoba it was known that they sympathised with the Makgobas and that some individuals from Molepo on their own fought with their kin”.

In 2014, the original Molepo tribe turns 314 years since they started living in the area around Hearnetzburg; which is still the area they still live in today. Since their tribal authority was only conditionally “recognised” by the ZAR Republiek in 1956 under the Bantu Authorities Act 68 of 1951, the Molepo Chiefdom only turns 58 in 2014. We appreciate all the sacrifices made by our foremothers and fathers to this date!

For more on this kindly refer to the article by Changuion at

Whats the difference between Traditional African religion and Christianity?


A very inspiring discussion took place on SA FM’s Morning Talk on the 24th of September 2013. In the guest list was a panel of experts and those included Mr Ntshangase – a retired lecturer at the University of Kwazulu Natal and Chief Sefogole Makgeru – deputy Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders. By conception the discussion was relevant given the fact that South Africa was celebrating Heritage Day – a day that was formerly known as Shaka Day and since adjusted into Heritage Day with the dawn of democracy in 1994. The question asked: what is the difference between Traditional African religion and Christianity? was pertinent to present day South Africa where we have a diversity of belief systems manifesting themselves into different religions.

It is very interesting the topic of religion and given the sensitivity of the topic, it was to be expected that the discussion would become heated. But what is the difference between Traditional African religion and Christianity? According to Christianity, believers are taught to connect to God through the one and only son of God Jesus Christ. In contrast, Traditional African religion puts emphasis on praying to God through the ancestors who due to their perceived spiritual essence, are acknowledged as a closer link to God. But it doesnt stop there, on the one hand, Christians have been taught to believe that the manner in which Traditional African religion connects with God is inappropriate and thus there is a need to “repent” or “convert” or “be born again” – a call that appears, at least from where one stands, more subjective than fair. It is this sort of persuasive language that leaves one with more questions than answers given the fact that on the other hand, there is less evidence to suggest that Traditional African religion perceives Christianity as inappropriate. In the Christian faith, there are quite a number of words and concepts used to refer to other religions as inferior. Words like “demons”,” heathen” and “pagan” have been recorded in the Bible – which is instrumental in Christianity. Although some people have gone on to deny Christianity calls Traditional African religion names, it became clear that there is a polarity of views within the Christian cohort. We could sense that when one caller who claimed to be a Christian smsed “ Traditional African religion is demonic period, for one to connect to God they need to be cleansed with the blood of the only messiah – our Lord Jesus Christ” but the laughter that came from Chief Makgeru and Ntate Ntshangase suggested otherwise. According to Chief Makgeru: “African religion is not a church, its a way of live. You don’t need an instrument like the Bible or a Koran to connect to God. It is a home grown faith similar to breathing and therefore was never necessary to go to church to pray, its all in the nature of humans that they know there is a higher being connected to them via the spiritual world: Modimo ”.

The question posed, as provocative as it is, is quite heavy given the fact that there is a dominant worldview that suggests one religion is better than the other. If one was to ask people who follow the Christian doctrine; it is to be expected that the perspective would be skewed towards their choice of religion and vice versa. Through the information explosion that came with the missionary education that was brought to Africa and other parts of the world during the hey days of colonisation and subsequently, Apartheid; it has become a normality for the Christian faith to present itself into a religion “of all” and ultimately; the perception since then has been that for someone to connect with God; they ought to pray God through Jesus Christ. One interesting caller on the radio show responded to the question by claiming that the main purpose of missionary education was not to belittle other religions but to merely teach what the Bible had purported ought to be exported to other nations in the world, for enlightenment?

The connection one can trace between the vociferous conquest of broad based education by western nations into Africa and the belittlement of the existence of African religion by this sort of subjective Christian worldview is immense and has caused so much tension, wars, terror and the eventual hatred between human beings; in particular Africans. In the world today we continue to see a battle of ideology in religion between religions such as Islam, Judaism and Christianity just to mention a few. This battle, one could claim, has nothing to do with natural competition but the desire by one religion to rule over the other. And this has been so since the earliest centuries. As we continue into the 22nd and 23rd centuries, one wonders whether the hatred that has become between people of different religions will ever cede?

There is no religion that is better than the other, that’s a subjective worldview, retorted Ntate Ntshangase. It became clear from the discussion that day as Chief Makgeru concluded, that “the differences in religion will be with us for years to come”. What we have gathered thus far is that the only way to a peaceful future of religious justice is for people to be tolerant towards each other. For most people in the Traditional African religion, the future means that they will have to learn to live with the damage that has been done by certain quarters of the Christian faith. As already divided as we are in the African nation, it would be crazy for anyone to suggest those who have been converted and influenced by the Eurocentric way of life would suddenly revert back to Indigenous Knowledge Systems. By the same token, it is unacceptable that in a democratic society like South Africa, the perception that Traditional African religion is inferior continues to manifest amid the many attempts made since 1994 to address the injustices of the past. It is clear that Christianity is instrumentalist and persuasive in nature while Traditional African religion is introvert and non-partisan. Let everyone stick with what works for them and continue to learn from one another as one human family.