Nata’s Bakhwe community demand Bogosi recognition

Kabelo Dipholo
FILE PIC: Bakhwe in Zowa

Upset at continuously being overlooked for the top tribal posts, Nata’s Bakhwe community are demanding recognition as first settlers of the village, and therefore the rightful tribal leaders.

In a petition sent to the Bamangwato Tribal Administration, the community expressed frustration and anger at never getting a look in for leadership positions at the village’s Customary Court.

The petition, written on behalf of Bakhwe by the Botswana Khoedom Council (BKC) Interim Chairperson, Galenkutlwe ‘Cxazee’ Leakwa, condemns the exclusion of Bakhwe from the kgotla set-up despite being the first settlers in several villages in Botswana.

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“This is not peculiar to Nata. It is the same across the country. There are three main positions at the customary court, none has been found suitable to be occupied by a Mokhwe,” said Leakwa.

In the petition, Leakwa states that almost all the past and present tribal leaders have been outsiders, despite Nata being a village of Bakhwe from as far back as 1960.

“We only had Kgosi Letsogo Kgaswa who was appointed Headman of Records in 2012,” he said.

Kgaswa was later elevated to the position of Sub Tribal Authority in 2017.

Leakwa, however, said to their surprise Kgosi Kgaswa’s contract was not renewed in 2021.

“A Mokhwe born and bred in Nata was not given a contract extension, but other leaders’ contracts were extended. This is telling, and a clear sign that Bakhwe are not wanted anywhere near the Bogosi seat,” insisted Leakwa in a fiery interview with The Voice.

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“The system tells you that Bakhwe can never be rulers. I wonder who appointed these people our rulers?”

He accused those who have been favoured by the system for many decades of manipulating it to their favour.

“Once they reach the position of Sub Tribal Authority, which is the highest in the village, they make sure to appoint their offspring or siblings to take over. How will Bakhwe ever rule if we’re being systematically excluded?” he demanded.

The BKC Chairperson said the last straw in Nata was when their current Kgosi, Rebagamang Rancholo recently announced he had elevated Kgosi Kago Seisa to take over as Headman of Records.

In the petition, which was also copied to the Office of the President, Bakhwe categorically state that they want to choose their own Headman of Records by a show of hands in an open court.

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They suggested the trio of: Juba Dodie, Keiphile Stephen and Israel Keitumele, who are Bakhwe, born and raised in Nata, as suitable candidates.

“We cannot just be told that a name has been suggested without our input,” he said.

“Our main gripe is that we had no idea that a village chief has the authority to decide and appoint a Headman of Records without the blessing of the community,” said Leakwa.

Below are some of the previous Chiefs appointed in Nata:

  1. Othugile Rulela – Serowe
  2. Thuma Mathabathi – Gweta
  3. Mabelenga Mandiwana – Gweta
  4. Mokgwathi Rancholo Makgesi – Gojwane
  5. Japi Ntuane- Vukwi
  6. Owen Seisa – Serowe
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