By Kabelo Selebogo
Barolong Boo Tlou Le Tau in Bona Bona (Dr Segomotsi Mompati District) welcomed
the Batlhako Ba Matutu from Mabeskraal in their land with open arms last weekend,
as they toured the area that housed their forebears who were banished during the
Those banished were influential individuals who were sent by the Apartheid state to
live far from their homes, to prevent them from swaying communities against the
The visit, hosted by the Department of Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation (Acsr) as
part of the Black History Month celebrations, was the first since the end of Apartheid.
The area comprises eleven rondavels used to accommodate the banished.
Banishment was used to punish and intimidate ordinary citizens and traditional leaders
who were against the white oppression. They were plucked from their communities
and own families into abandoned parts of the country to live there, to suffer and starve.
Some did not survive the ordeal.
Acsr sought to use the visit to record African oral history.
“The significance of the tour is to recognise the contribution, sacrifices and roles
played by people who were against apartheid and in support of the liberation of the
oppressed people living in South Africa,’’ said Acsr Chief Director for Arts, Culture,
Libraries and Archives, Thabo Mabe
Mabe added that it was the objective of his Department to ensure that such history did
not perish and that it needed to be archived for future generations.
The event was attended by academics, Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS)
students from North-West University (NWU), Dikgosi, Historians, learners from various
schools, youth and the elderly.
Dr Motheo Koitsiwe from NWU said the tour and the gathering marked a need for
history to be documented.
“After this event we need to engage with Acsr, Dikgosi and community members to
conduct an academic research about banishment which will provide a true reflection
of what occurred and give a narrative of Africans and historians,” said Dr Koitsiwe.
He added that such research needed “to be written in our native language as part of
preserving our mother tongues and to reach our communities across South Africa and
to form part of syllabus in learning institutions”.
Leading the visitors on the site from Batlhako Ba Matutu was Mokate George Mabe,
the uncle to Kgosi Moshe Mabe, the chairperson of North West House of Traditional
Affairs. Mokate Mabe was accompanied by great grandchildren of family members
who were banished in Driefontein.
Making reference to “The Forgotten People”, a book about the banishment, Mabe said
Kgosi Jeremeiah Rakoko Mabe was one of those people who were against oppression
and was forced to step down as a Kgosi and banished from Mabeskraal to Driefontein.
“We urge government to build a museum in Driefontein which will archive what
happened in the past and construct a memorial centre in Mabeskraal with names of
people who were banished engraved on a wall.”
Kgosi Otlathiba Monchusi from Bona Bona said he would like to see Driefontein turned
into a Heritage Site and become a tourist destination.
By Kabelo Selebogo