TRIBUTE | Bafokeng Queen Mother Dr Semane Bonolo Molotlegi: It is now up to us to continue your work

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Dr Semane Bonolo Molotlegi of the Bafokeng nation of South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images/City Press Archives
Dr Semane Bonolo Molotlegi of the Bafokeng nation of South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images/City Press Archives

Bonang Mohale writes that Bafokeng Queen Mother Dr Semane Bonolo Molotlegi's story is one of many gallant warriors who fought for more than a hundred years to retain title to the land her ancestors had occupied for hundreds of years.

The Black Management Forum (BMF) has lost a dear friend, generous supporter and wise counsel.

We are eternally grateful to you for many things, especially demonstrating more by your deeds that the personal is political, that when a flower does not bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower - with the homage and gratitude of a friend and compatriot.

You have now passed the baton to us to complete the work that you have started and carried on your shoulders with such grace, elegance and generosity of spirit. A succession of carpet baggers have tried to deprive the Bafokeng nation of your ancestral endowment to occupy land holding some of the richest deposits of platinum in the world.

Even today, few South Africans are aware of the struggles the Bafokeng nation, now numbering some 350 000 people, endured throughout South Africa's storied political history. Yours is a story of gallant warriors who have fought for more than a hundred years to retain title to the land your ancestors occupied for hundreds of years.

READ | Condolences pour in for late royal Bafokeng queen mother

We have rich lessons from your life of servitude.

Having been devoted to a mutual destruction, in so short a time, we must now fight side by side inside the motherland against a common enemy - united by the ideals we have committed to defend - in which the bitter memories of racial and political conflict has been forgiven but not forgotten. Where the whole history of South Africa is beset with tangles and thickets of distrust, prejudice, oppression, subjugation and exclusion - so densely that, at times, it is difficult to see the wood for the trees.

We can indeed harness the enormous wells of goodwill that have fortified us in the performance of this perilous task and drive a straight path through these impediments to maintain an open mind and to understand the conflicting motives which have hurt and maimed and sometimes stained with the blood of honest women and men, this page of history. 

Sadly, tragically and regrettably we have to decisively deal with matters more contentious, including state capture, bribery, stealing and cheating from the poor, hungry, sick and dying, which put back the clock 20 years.

Unity of South Africa

This is a formidable prospect from which bolder women and men might well shrink. Keeping always in view however discouraged and bewildered, the great end towards which South Africa is gradually and inevitably moving - the high destiny of the land and its people.

We all have already given a great part of our heart to the fierce and lovely South Africa - one of the most heroic achievements and therefore, by nature, South African. To make our own contribution to a cause in which we believe most fervently - the unity of the South African people.

Saturating ourselves in the new atmosphere of the country and absorbing as much of its history as our collective mind could hold.

Doubtful of our knowledge and of our power, we have detached and shrank from our duties and responsibilities. We must continue to believe in the greatness of South Africa's destiny and hold an unshaken faith in the future of the land and the people we all love.

READ | Mme Mokgolo led with power and dignity; She was a pillar for women

The community of Phokeng, the Royal Bafokeng nation in the North West, the whole nation and the world continues to mourn the sudden and sad loss of you, mother of the fifteenth direct descendant of Kgosi Sekete III, current King Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi, Queen Mother, Mamogolo Dr Semane Bonolo Molotlegi.

You will be hugely missed especially for, among others, your passion towards education, your role in the fight against HIV/Aids, where you served on the Aids Council in the broader delivery of good healthcare, for championing the well-being and aspirations of young people, especially children and being the founding member of the Provincial Council on Aids in the North West. 

Robala ka kgotso Phoka! Mofokeng wa maotwana finyela, wa ‘MaMoraredi wa Phohole, wa maotwana a kaa ka dinaledi, a kaa ka jwang ba Tshaane, a kaa ka joang ba molelengwane, ba kgomo ya Mpiletsa, ngwana wa ‘Mope, Tshwana Makara, ba ‘MaManti wa ‘Mope, sakana le lenyane la ‘Mope le ikatise, dihlola-pula ke dihlola-monono, motho wa bo-Mararedi wa Phohole, rarollang ba bo-Mare dithapong, le bao re setseng, ha e le molato wa kgomo le ka o bolela!

 - Bonang Mohale is the chancellor of the University of the Free State, professor of practice at the Johannesburg Business School (JBS) College of Business and Economics, chairman of both the Bidvest Group Limited and SBV Services. He is the past president of the BMF and author of the best-selling book, Lift As You Rise.

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