Kgosi Jantjie honoured

2016-04-27 06:00
PROF. YUNUS BALLIM declares the old legislature building as the Luka Jantjie Building.

PROF. YUNUS BALLIM declares the old legislature building as the Luka Jantjie Building.

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THE Kimberley-born leader, the late Kgosi Luka Mpolokeng Jantjie of the Batlhaping ba Manyeding in Kuruman, was honoured when the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) renamed a building after him on Saturday (23/04).

It was an emotional occasion, especially to the Batswana.

When the permanent principal, Prof. Yunus Ballim, said, “It is therefore my pleasure to officially name this building as the Luka Jantjie House . . .” people reacted with joy and ululations, filling the air with excitement.

Prior to announcing the new name of the building, Ballim said that the name of Jantjie had been proposed to the SPU by Dr Kevin Shillington who had written a significant work on the life and history of Jantjie.

“Jantjie was born in Kimberley in 1835 and became the kgosi of the Batlhaping branch of the Batswana. He was a cousin and fellow kgosi of the more-celebrated Galeshewe.

“He was also the leader to the first local people whose ancestral land was taken from them by colonialists after diamonds had been discovered in the Kimberley area.”

Ballim gave a brief history of the courage displayed by Jantjie and his army against the more formidable British troops.

“Jantjie is recorded as a wise strategist who was formidable in battle, disproportionate to the relatively small and more lightly-armed force that he led.

“In a last stand that he took against the British troops, he was killed in 1897 in the Langberg Mountain area near Olifants-hoek.

“It is reported that after fatally wounding him and while in his death throes, the British troops posed to take photos with their dying enemy.

“After he had died, they decapitated the corpse and buried the body on the battlefield and took the head as a trophy, a common practice by British troops in those days.

“There is no record of where the body is buried nor is there final agreement on the fate of the severed head.”

The naming of the building was done in the presence of MEC Norman Shushu, Appeal Court Judge Steven Majiedt (vice-chancellor) and other members of the university council.

The deputy minister of Higher Education, Mduduzi Manana, was also there to officially open the finished buildings of the Sol Plaatje University.

During the ceremony, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro was installed as the chancellor of the SPU, Judge Majiedt as the vice-chancellor and Ballim as the permanent principal.

On Saturday, the SPU also experienced its first graduation ceremony for the 11 students who completed their higher certificate in Heritage Studies.

Judge Majiedt highlighted that the Northern Cape experienced the beginning of writing its own history on a blank page in terms of the higher education landscape.

  • See a photo of some of the SPU graduates on p 3.

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