The Royal Bafokeng Nation is known as one of Africa’s success stories, for building a nation that benefits from the wealth beneath the land it owns. At the centre of this success is a king who cares for his people, and ensures that the “nation” is developed from the royalties coming from the mining businesses on their land.
But, what the headlines don’t often mention, if at all, is that this land is in dispute and in fact, in time, this success story could turn into a nightmare for all those who have bet on it should the courts decide that the story of the Royal Bafokeng is a perpetuation of colonial-style conquest against defenseless communities. If this happens, the stakes will be high as this land forms part of the platinum belt where 80% of the world’s platinum deposits lie and where there are huge financial and political interests, both locally and internationally.
A SECTION OF A TRIBE tells the story of a community’s bitter battle with the Bafokeng King and his administration, to own the land they live on which they claim their forefathers bought under colonial rule. The people living on the land are surrounded by platinum mines yet say they receive no benefit from the mining that has disrupted their way of life. Many claim they have proof that their predecessors bought the land from Afrikaner farmers and, as black people, were forced to register their land through a white intermediary or later on, through a tribe.
On the contrary, the Royal Bafokeng King’s administration claims that the land belongs to all the Bafokeng but the community rejects King Leruo Molotlegi as their legitimate leader and the very notion that they constitute a “nation” as many in the community do not identify themselves as Bafokeng.
Watch this gripping episode about a history of a people, told with the assistance of Dr Gavin Capps, who did his doctoral thesis on the Bafokeng, and the affected communities who unravel what they say is the real story behind the Bafokeng and the legal twists and turns on their way to “reclaim their land” – a move that could ultimately change the course of history as we know it.
A SECTION OF A TRIBE is produced by Nadiva Schraibman for Special Assignment, Wednesdays at 21h30 on SABC 3.
For more information contact: The Special Assignment office: 011 714 5419