= as presented at a dinner on September 22, 2011 at Ditshupo Hall to raise money for the installation of Kgosi Malope II a Gaseitsiwe = ** I am now updating this article!
The history of the Bangwaketse may be traced to Ngwaketse, the junior son of a Mokwena kgosi called Malope. Kgosi Ngwaketse split from the Bakwena ba ga Magopa and left Motshodi around 1600AD from the Phuthadikobo area and headed to Magagarapa, near Kgale Hill. The village of Mochudi is named after Kgosi Motshodi of the Bakwena. Bakgatla ba ga Kgafela only arrived in Mochudi around 1871.
After Kgosi Ngwaketse’s death, his son SEEPAPITSO I took over and moved the tribe to Kgale hill where he died during or after the Bakwena-Bangwaketse battle in which the Bangwaketse repulsed the Bakwena attempt to return them to Mapopa. SEEPAPITSO I was succeeded by his son LEEMA. Leema was in turn survived by two sons: Kuto and Kutwane of whom Kuto was supposed to be the next Kgosi, however, being an extraordinarily incompetent individual, he delegated the Bogosi responsibility to his younger brother Kutwane at Sengoma – a hill just south of Ramotswa. Subsequently Kuto’s lineage never ruled. Kutwane then later moved the Bangwaketse to Ntsotswane, near modern day Manyana.
Following Khutwane’s death Bogosi jwa Bangwaketse was disputed between his son Makaba I and Khutwe’s son Modutlwa. This led to a temporary split in the morafe with Makaba leading his followers to Seoke, whose stone ruins survive on the outskirts of Lobatse. This may have followed an attempt by Modutlwa to enlist the support of Kgabo’s son Motshodi for his own claims. In the end Modutlwa failed in his efforts. His descendents and those of his followers became reconciled with those of Makaba. Today these malcontents form the historic Modutlwa, Taukobong, Pudumo and Ruele wards of Kanye.
Makaba I was succeeded by Mongala, who is credited with reasserting Bangwaketse’s independence from the Bakwena during the twilight years of Motshodi’s long reign.
Mongala’s reign was characterized by a conflict between the Bangwaketse and the Bakgwatlheng, because of this he moved the Bangwaketse to Ga-Tlhaba-ntlha-ya-Sega. War broke out between the two tribes where Mongala was killed.
Moleta succeeded his father Mongala and moved the tribe to Kgalo loo Tau and later settled in Mabule. Moleta later moved the Bangwaketse to Setlhabatsane, where he died of old age in 1790.
Makaba II ruled from 1790 until 1824, during his era, he moved the tribe from Setlhabatsane to Sebatleng and finally to modern day Kanye. During his reign, Makaba II led Bangwaketse to war with Bakwena over Kodisa tribal boundary. He also fought against other tribes after a war instigated by his paternal uncle Moabi, a war which Makaba won at Matlhabanelo. Makaba II had a son Tshosa, who died before he could rule, but left his sons, Gaseitsiwe and Ralekoko still young. Makaba II moved the village to Pitseng, Mokakanana, Motlhware (present day Ga-Sebako Ward), then to Tlhorong (Ranaka) and finally to Kgwakgwe, where they met Robert Moffat. In 1823, the Bangwaketse fought with Mantantis. Tshosa also fought his father at Nyorosi where he was defeated; he ran to Ga-Khunwana. Makaba II was killed in 1824/1825 in a battle between the Bakwena and Bafokeng at Galosabanyane (near current Sejelo Junction).
In 1825, Tshosa’s brother, Sebego a Makaba (1795 – 1844) ruled (ACTING) since Tshosa’s sons, Gaseitsiwe and Ralekoko were still too young to rule. His reign was characterized by turbulent moments and movements. Sebego moved the tribe to Lwale near Moshaneng and Pitsa during which the Bangwaketse fought the Ndebeles of Mozilikazi. The Bangwaketse were forced to move to Dutlwe in Kgalagadi, where Sebego was ill advised by the tribe to kill his nephews. Sebego poisoned his nephews; Ralekoko died but Gaseitsiwe vomited the concoction. Sebego then moved the tribe to Monnyalatsela near Gantsi where he exiled Gaseitsiwe.
Gaseitsiwe ran to Gasita. In 1845 Gaseitsiwe a Tshosa ascended to the Bangwaketse chieftaincy.
Gaseitsiwe fathered Bathoen I in 1845, Bathoen took over in 1891 until 1910. Kgosi Bathoen I contributed the Bangwaketse regiments of Matlotlakgang, Mayakathata and 6Mayakapula to the British rule during the Anglo Boer War of 1889-1902.
Seepapitso the III took over from his father in 1910, and was widely respected as a modernist. He exiled Mothowagae Motlogwela to Lekgolobotlo together with his followers and closed down his Ethiopian Church which was seen as a nuisance in the village. Its greatest sin was its competition with the Kgosi’s London Missionary Church. He is remembered mostly for standardizing bogadi to eight cattle and a sheep (mokwele) and the building of the Kanye dam, behind the SRDA offices. Seepapitso III was assassinated by his brother Moyapitso in 1916 in a dispute over the inheritance of Bathoen I’s property, while his eldest son Bathoen II was only 8 years old, her daughter Sejelo was 6 and the youngest son Mookami was only 4 years of age .
1928 – 1969 Bathoen (II) Seepapitso Gaseitsiwe ruled the Bangwaketse for 41 years. He is the most and best documented of the Bangwaketse Dikgosi.
- In 1933, Bathoen II and Tshekedi of the Bangwato initiated the Natwe Tribunal Proclamation;
- he then went to World War II with his force led by his brother Kgosi Mookami and Ralekoko.
- He built the Bathoen Irrigation Dam, which is known as Mmakgodumo in 1940.
- Between the period 1942 and 1943, he started an agricultural project called the Bathoen irrigation Scheme.
- This was followed by a programme designed to feed school children with the gardens-produce in 1943-44.
- He also built the Marapalalo Hall in 1940 and the King George Hall in 1960.
- He declared that all brides-to-be should be built for by their prospective husbands.
- In 1947, he rented out part of the King George hall to the colonial government to run a Teacher Training College before it was built in Lobatse in 1953/4.
- He declared that Kraals and Cemeteries be moved from family backyards.
- He loaned colonial government 3600 Pounds to help in World War II, re-structuring of Taxes,
- He introduced strict control of home beer brewing,
- annual agricultural shows,
- developed thriving co-operative societies,
- he built the first Kanye Library 1962/63,
- He built the Tomela Office Chambers 1963/64,
- he started first local council,
- He presided over the mining of Moshaneng and Kgakgwe.
- In 1946, the colonial government honoured Kgosi Bathoen with an O.B.E and a C.B.E in 1957.
- Bathoen II was also instrumental in removing boundaries to give the Balete more land.
- Kgosi Bathoen stepped down in 1969 and joined opposition politics.
- He passed away on the 3rd October 1990 Kwena pheretlha dichaba; e a re e robetse ba e gwetlhe, e re e tsoga ba itsheletshele dikeledi.
- Bathoen II was succeeded by his son, Kgosi Seepapitso IV of Bangwaketse in 1970.
Kgosi Seepapitso IV was the last King standing of the traditional monarch who served the Bangwaketse and the country of Botswana in supreme excellence in various capacities as Botswana Ambassador to the United States and to the Peoples Republic of China. He also served as the Chairman of Ntlo–ya-Dikgosi for many years. Kgosi Seepapitso IV died on the 24th March 2010 giving way to Kgosi Malope II a Gaseitsiwe. Today many Bangwaketse continue to serve this country with unparalleled distinction in many areas of the society, be it LAW, MUSIC, ART, POLITICS, ACADEMICS, MEDICINE (both traditional and modern), MEDIA (both electronic and print).
That is the history of our people: A strong and powerful people:
batho ba ga Maila a bobela;
Batho ba ga matshaba le kgomo matlogela temo e le sefolela;
Ba ga heyana a heya;
batho ba ga phešana ya moswagadi e e tshwarwang ka lesoko le phela;
batho ba ga Mokgalo o thebe;
batho ba ga setlhong ga se huparelwe
If you find the Bangwaketse poem difficult; its overwhelming message is : Bangwaketse ga ba tlakatlakelwe