Kgosi Mpatane evokes spirit of Khama III
The embattled royal of Shongwechena/Mpatane ward in Borolong, Kgosi Keletso Mpatane received overwhelming support in a Tuesday meeting convened by Kgosi Bokamoso Radipitse of Tonota.
The aftermath is that, after a nine-year wait, she could soon be sworn in as a chief.
Mpatane’s ascendancy to the throne has been scampered by a spirited challenge from the neighbouring village of Chadibe, who insist the ward belongs to them.
The two villages have been tussling over the ward for a decade, with Chadibe claiming the ward they call Dikgatho is theirs, and its rightful heir Kgosi Wina Namakando.
Mpatane is the daughter of a former Tax Collector Modisaotsile Mpatane and his Tonota-born wife, Garebatho Badubi (MmaKobe). The couple were the first to settle in the ward back in 1951.
At a packed kgotla meeting on a cloudy Tuesday morning, residents of Shongwechena threw their weight behind their tribal leader in front of Kgosi Radipitse. They made it clear that they want her name ratified as the rightful heir of the disputed ward.
Following an abandoned meeting a fortnight ago and an emergency strategic meeting by Barolong last Friday, sparks were expected to fly at the Tuesday gathering.
However, the predicted fireworks did not materialise.
Instead, Radipitse calmly laid out the agenda of the meeting.
The Tonota royal applauded the residents for their maturity in the way they’ve handled the matter thus far.
He further said he was indeed aware that Barolong long submitted the names of Keletso Mpatane as the rightful heir.
“Today I want to find out once again if indeed this is the name that you’ve submitted. I also want to know whether she’s an elected or a chief by birth right, and lastly whether she accepts the nomination,” said Radipitse.
Her uncles then took turns in relating the heir apparent and her family’s lineage.
According to an emotional uncle, Lewanika Mpatane, his niece became heir following the death of her elder brother Kobe Mpatane, who was born in 1956.
Lewanika revealed MmaKobe and her husband were entrepreneurs of note.
“They set up the first shop or ‘stall” as they were called back then, and vegetable gardens in the area. There’s no question about who should occupy this seat,” said the emotional elder.
In accepting the nomination, the visibly pleased Mpatane preached peace between Borolong and Chadibe villages.
She pleaded with Chadibe royals who were in attendance to respect the decisions and wish of Borolong people by accepting that Shongwechena is part of their village.
“My message is simple, I intend to live in peace with others. My message to you today is for you to remember that Khama III(1837-1923) has a grave because he was wise and humble, whereas Mzilikazi (1790-1868) does not have a grave because he was a war monger,” said Mpatane to a rousing applause.
Considered one of the most famous African warriors of all time, Mzilikazi was a King who founded the Mthwakazi Kingdom (modern day Matabeleland in Zimbabwe). He died on 5th September 1868.
Legend has it that the great King was buried with all his belongings in a cave.
However, his bones were reportedly reduced to ashes when his guards burnt high grass close to the cave.
The new King, Lobengula immediately ordered the execution of the guards, including their dogs and chickens.
Whatever the outcome, residents of both Chadibe and Borolong can at least be confident of escaping a similar fate!