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Haunted by grandad’s ghost

TRIBESMAN: Gaongalwe Tsele


A tribesman who erected a kgotla structure to appease his ancestors has ended up in court where he was instructed to demolish his work as it was confusing people about the village chieftainship.

Gaongalwe Tsele of Tsanokona settlement has refuted allegations that he built the kgotla in an attempt to undermine the village chief, Gadibintshe Saudu’s authority and eventually topple him.

Speaking at Maun Customary Court on Tuesday morning, where chief Saudu had lodged a complaint, Tsele argued he only built the kgotla at his place as a way of appeasing the spirit of his dead grandfather, which had haunted him in his dreams for a long time.

“As my son has explained, the old man has been troubling me. He is accusing me of abandoning our meeting place, the designated location where the Tseles used to meet and discuss family matters. So I thought if I erected a kgotla, his spirit would rest and stop troubling me,” Tsele explained.

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Outside court, Tsele further revealed his grandfather, Mopindwa Samakata, died around 1995, but of late he has been visiting him in dreams and accusing him of abandoning the family roots.

VILLAGE CHIEF: Kgosi Gadibintshe Saudu

Tsele’s eldest son, Keogapile Tsele, had earlier told the court his father had no intention of toppling Saudu or trying to be a chief, but rather had built the structure to appease the ancestors.

“It is true my father has built that structure and in fact this past Friday there was a meeting there. I personally asked him about the structure and he told me that my great-grandfather’s grave is located there and because he has been visiting him in dreams and complaining that my father had abandoned the family homestead and the kgotla, he had to build it, so he also can sleep in peace.”

However, the 49-year-old Keogapile added that he advised his father to take down the structure as it was causing unnecessary confusion and conflict in the village.

It appears, however, that the meeting, which was held at Tsele’s kgotla, was supposed to be an official one involving the Village Development Committee and the Village Development Trust.

Allegedly Tsele had managed to persuade some people to leave a gathering that was to be held at the official meeting place at the village kgotla, where the VDC is housed and go to his makeshift kgotla instead.

“Some of us refused to move to that place and we were later joined by Kgosi Saudu and Councillor Vepaune Moreti at the main kgotla,” explained one of the land overseers in Tsanokona, Kgosintwa Mohibitswane.

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In fact, one of the complaints, which was levelled against Tsele by Kgosi, was that he had usurped the role of the land board by allocating and selling land in Tsanokona.

Three overseers, including Kgosi Saudu, levelled the same accusation against Tsele.

“People come knocking at my door with request for land allocation because they have been informed that the village chief is allocating land. This is an illegal practice because the custodian of tribal land is the land board. This makes me appear to be corrupt before the eyes of the people just because Tsele, who calls himself kgosi, is busy allocating land illegally in the village,” explained Saudu.

Kgosi Oleo Ledimo, who presided over the matter ordered, referred the land issue to Tawana Land Board and ordered Tsele to remove the kgotla structure immediately.

Speaking outside court, Tsele said he was willing to comply by removing the gum pole structure and most likely replacing it with traditional logs for fear of being haunted by the dead again.

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