Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela Preserve Cultrural Heritage

SOON TO BE OPENED: Leobo la Kgotlakgolo

Official Opening of Leobo la Kgosikgolo Schedudeled for May 17

At the foot of Phuthadikobo Hill in Mochudi lies the main kgotla of Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela where the most important community events and meetings are held and leobo is adjacent to the kgotla.

Sociocultural events such as rites of passage (graduation) of bogwera and bojale regiments (mephato) have always been celebrated at the main kgotla where Kgosikgolo infers them with their regimental names.

The space is part of the proposed Phuthadikobo Cultural Precinct which includes a heritage trail from Phuthadikobo Hill, Phuthadikobo Museum, the royal palace Ntsweng, Dutch Reformed Church, the dam up to the royal graves.

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The opening of the new leobo, scheduled for 11 th May 2024 will attract Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela community from both Botswana and South Africa.

Other Merafe from all parts of the country are also invited. The event will be officiated by Kgosikgolo Nchaupe III Makapan of Bakgatla ba Mosetlha to symbolize the sociocultural linkage and identity of Bakgatla in Botswana and South Africa.

Embedded with royalty, the new leobo will enhance the kgotla with its new architectural design and become a tourist attraction.

The evolution of “Leobo” is captured by the renowned historian Professor Makgala who states that “Leobo” (kgotla shelter) has always played a significant role in the kgotla and tribal administration from time immemorial.

Traditionally, leobo was a rather crude structure made of heavy mapako/dikota (poles) of varying shapes and sizes with a roof of the same material.

In some cases tree branches with leaves were used for roof to provide shade. Overtime, the construction of leobo underwent significant changes.

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Metal or steel poles began to be used to support a thatched roof, which was usually much larger and rectangular in shape.

This new design was influenced by a modernised culture and needs captured in architectural drawings.

The leobo generally had no wall or had a low wall, which provided excellent

Ventilation. During meetings leobo featured a high table for the most important dignitaries, such as the President of the Republic, Cabinet Ministers, Kgosi and their entourage.

The new leobo la kgotlakgolo will hence continue to be an embodiment of Bakgatla-ba- Kgafela’s living heritage that the community will transmit onto future generations.

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The various cultural activities planned for the day will be evidence of its cultural heritage legacy imbedded on the sacred space.

Meanwhile in a Kgotla meeting held on the 9 th April 2024, Kgosi Sekai invited all Merafe to join Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela to the celebration marking the opening of Leobo on the 11 th of May 2024.

The meeting was attended by a delegation from Moruleng accompanied by Gola Peo Investment Executives, an investment wing initiated by KgosiKgolo Kgafela II.

Kgosi Sekai further announced a strategic joint venture with the Organic Fertilizer Manufacturers Botswana company who will be leased a part of Masama farm for the growing of various fodder.

They will also assist other farmers to grow fodder and assist in both marketing and export.

In his vote of thanks, the Minister of Trade an Investment Morena Mmusi Kgafela, himself a member of the royal family, among others commended the initiators and managers of the Leobo project.

He gave accolades to Kgosi Sekai for his leadership role particularly in the various community projects.

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