Warriors’ sacrifice honoured

2017-10-11 06:00
Traditional dancers entertain the crowd and several members of local government at the Heritage Month celebrations in Kuruman.Photo: Supplied

Traditional dancers entertain the crowd and several members of local government at the Heritage Month celebrations in Kuruman.Photo: Supplied

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The Batlhaping Tribal Office in Kuruman in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District intends to erect a monument in honour of 20 Batlhaping warriors who were shot and buried in a mass grave by the British during the 1896 Phokwane uprisings.

The Ba-Ga Jantjie Tribal Office made the announcement on Tuesday, 19 September, during the cleansing ceremony at the site of the Langeberg War at Setlhareng sa Batlhaping in Manyeding Village, where the killings had taken place.

The ceremony, which was led by Kgosi Ennewang Jantjie II, formed part of the Northern Cape government’s 2017 Heritage Month programme.

The events are commemorated under the theme “The Year of OR Tambo: Celebrating Our Liberation Heritage”.

The Langeberg War of 1897 saw thousands of members of the Batlhaping and the Batlharo community scatter across various parts of the country.

This was after being dispossessed of their land at the Langeberg Hills outside Olifantshoek during a fight now called the Langeberg War of 1897.

According to Jantjie, the battle started when Batlhaping Kgosi Galeshewe Mothibi was chased off his land by the British in the Phokwane area.

Research indicates that thousands of Batlhaping and Batlharo men, women and children were displaced, while some were taken to Western Cape farms as indentured labourers.

This was after the brutal killing of Kgosi Luka Jantjie and the imprisonment of Kgosi Galeshewe and Toto, as well as their followers.

In the Kimberley trial through which Galeshewe was sentenced, six other men were sentenced to death.

On Thursday, 28 September, during the provincial Heritage Day celebrations in Kuruman, the Northern Cape provincial government commemo­rated the Langeberg War in which the three Di-Kgosi participated.

Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, said during her keynote address one of the central pillars of the heritage of the region was the history of the liberation struggle.

“We acknowledge the role played by our ancestors and forefathers in the struggle waged against the British and colonial administrations.

The Langeberg War, also known as Ntwa ya Maje a Mokgothu, is one of several important African uprisings that occurred in the southern subcontinent during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The basic causes of the uprising were competition for land, and grievances rising from increased white authority, triggered by rinderpest control measures.”

Mbinqo-Gigaba urged the community to make use of Heritage Month as an opportunity to preserve the history of South Africa’s armed struggle.

“The monument to be erected by our government will present us with the opportunity to learn more about the sacrifices made by our struggle icons so we can live in a democratic South Africa. Let’s honour their sacrifices and contributions towards a free, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

“Those who sacrificed for our freedom have laid the path for our constitutional democracy founded on the principles of human dignity and equal rights for everyone. Together we must build a nation that encourages dialogue, fosters social cohesion and celebrates its heritage.

“We encourage communities to safeguard and protect our cultural institutions for future generations.

“We also must work to ensure that these institutions reflect our cultural identities without any distortion. Let us respect one another’s heritage and culture, as it defines who we are as a nation.”

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