Very interesting history! Thank you!
The Bafokeng ('People of the dew', or 'People of the grass') comprise roughly 300,000 people. Oral tradition suggests that when they settled in the Rustenburg valley, it captured heavy overnight dew, holding the promise that the land would be fertile and hence that the community would prosper. They struggled to buy the land, repelling invaders and imperialists as they did so. They have had the extraordinary good fortune to see the discovery on their land of the world's largest deposits of platinum group metals. And they have wisely invested royalties and dividends from mining companies on their land to establish their own civic administration and social services.
About 160,000 Bafokeng live in an area some 150 km North West of Johannesburg, South Africa, with the balance scattered primarily throughout South Africa. The Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) has retained its unique cultural identity and traditional leadership structures and is led by a hereditary Kgosi (king), currently Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi.
Mining companies pay royalties to the RBN in exchange for the right to mine substantial reserves of Platinum Group Metals (PGMSs) such as platinum, ferrochrome, rhodium and palladium on RBN land. Today, RBN holds stakes in a number of mining ventures as well as diversified investments.
The Royal Bafokeng Nation comprises a number of entities, each of which has a crucial role to play in reaching the Nationís goal of a sustainable and self-sufficient community, where people have the skills and the support to reach their highest potential:
Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), an investment entity in Johannesburg, which is responsible for overseeing the growth and maintenance of the communityís income streams.
Royal Bafokeng Sports, is an entity within the Royal Bafokeng Holdings and it is in charge of the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, an official venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Royal Bafokeng Administration (RBA) is principally a town planning unit charged with service delivery and monitoring the progress of the Master Plan across all the regions. It looks after the various wards (kgotla) within the Nation to ensure that infrastructure and services are in line with the long-term vision.
Royal Bafokeng Institute (RBI) is aimed at uplifting the quality of education and learning in the Royal Bafokeng Nation.
The Fokeng (the prefix 'Ba,' simply means 'The,') are descendants of the Sotho-Tswana people who, just over a thousand years ago migrated southwards from [North-East Africa], (present-day Egypt and Sudan) pushing south into Central Africa as part of the Great Bantu Migration (from the kingdom of Misiri, commonly known around the world as Ancient Egypt) and went all the way to Southern Africa in several stages that were dependent on population pressure, pasture availability, ethnic conflicts and climatic conditions. Some of the peoples they migrated with, settled in countries further to the north like Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Maravi/Malawi and Zimbabwe.
A substantial portion of the people settled in the area now incorporated into the countries of Botswana and Zimbabwe. Bafokeng, however, continued to travel south before finally settling in an area known as the Rustenburg valley during the 12th century, where the community remained relatively stable.
Diamond mining in South Africa started in the 1860s. Thousands of fortune seekers from around the world flocked to Cape Town, the capital of the British-governed Cape colony, before undertaking the 1,500 km trek north of the arid western and Northern Cape to the mining town of Kimberley.
At the same time Afrikaner farmers (Boers), who wanted to escape British rule, started to settle in Rustenburg valley. They ignored the traditional rights of ownership enjoyed by the Bafokeng and started to survey and register farms. Kgosi Mokgatle, great, great, great, great grand father of the current Kgosi, realized that owner ship of traditional Bafokeng land was likely to be seized. In a remarkable act of foresight and collective sacrifice, he ordered units of young RBN men to walk to Kimberly to work and earn money that was accumulated in a central community fund. As funds were generated, Kgosi sought out the help of Lutheran missionaries to front the Bafokeng and buy up farms in the area. Some 900 hectares, or two thirds of the land currently owned by the Bafokeng, was acquired in this way over a twenty year period. Today, the Bafokeng continue to acquire land in the area.
In the 1920s, geologist Hans Merensky discovered in the Rustenburg valley the surface outcrop of arguably the world's greatest ore body, a geological wonder known as the Bushveld Igneous Complex. In particular, substantial reserves of Platinum Group Metals (PGMSs) such as platinum, ferrochrome, rhodium and palladium were discovered on land owned by RBN. And thus began the pursuit of platinum.
Over the next 70 years, various attempts were made by the governments of the day, aided and assisted by the major mining companies, to dispossess RBN of their land rights. All were ultimately unsuccessful and the mining companies thereafter agreed to pay royalties to the RBN in exchange for the right to mine on RBN land.
For many years, RBN leadership was in conflict with the national and regional governments. The authorities retaliated by neglecting the development of the region. RBN therefore spends practically all of the royalty income it receives on infrastructure. During the past two decades, over R2 billion of communal wealth has been invested in regional infrastructure such as roads, and bridges, water reticulation and reservoirs, electricity supply extensions, schools, clinics, civic buildings and sports facilities.
Today, the Bafokeng Nation numbers roughly 300 000 people. About 160 000 live in an area some 150 km North West of Johannesburg, South Africa, with the balance scattered primarily throughout South Africa. The Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) has retained its unique cultural identity and traditional leadership structures and is led by a hereditary Kgosi (king), currently Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi.
. . .
King Lerou Tshekedi Moletlegi, the 36th recorded monarch of the Bafokeng people, was enthroned in August 2003. Molotlegi holds a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Natal. Molotlegi's predecessor was his elder brother, King Lebone II.
VISION AND MISSION
The Royal Bafokeng, the Supreme Council and Kgosi, are determined to develop the Nation to be a self sufficient Community by the second decade of the 21st century.
We give our full and relentless commitment to provide our community with all basic human needs. To provide continued promotion of respect and enhancement of our culture and economic self sufficiency. In all these endeavours we shall not falter in holding our respect and loyalty to our Kgosi and the community, and hold dearly our land.
Even before his enthronement as King of the Royal Bafokeng Nation, Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi set in motion the vital next phase in the development of his people. His brother, Kgosi Mollwane Lebone Boikanyo Molotlegi, paved the way for the initiative by proclaiming Vision 2020. This boldly challenges the Bafokeng people to reduce their dependency on their diminishing mineral assets and to become a self-sufficient community within the first 20 years of this century. Kgosi Leruo's challenge is to devise a workable plan to realize Vision 2020.
Thus, the time has come for the Royal Bafokeng Nation, like the oil-rich Middle East, to reduce its dependency on natural resources and develop new sources of wealth. The Bafokeng, Kgosi Leruo has concluded, must diversify by securing interests in other sectors of the economy and develop a more balanced portfolio, as it were.
The main areas of emphasis of Vision 2020 fall into the following areas:
Infrastructure Development/Master Plan
Health and Social Planning
Crime Free Environment
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