19 December 2017

Botswana: A Special Moment for Ba-Ga-Mmanaana-a-Kgomo

Moshupa — Many residents of Moshupa/Manyana constituency recently came in droves to witness an event that will perhaps be remembered as the biggest day in the long history of Bakgatla-ba-ga-Mmanaana-a-Kgomo.

President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama who leaves office on March 31, 2018, had come to bid residents farewell. Although the meeting was arranged to commence at 9 am, by 8 am the Moshupa main kgotla was packed to the rafters.

Everybody, young and old, hearts throbbing with joy had come despite the humid weather to witness the once in a lifetime kind of moment and shower President Khama with gifts or wish him well.

Even rocks hanging loosely from the mole hills around the kgotla also seemed in harmony with the moment.

They had somewhat stuck out their necks to witness the historic moment. What has kept them hanging for so long to also witness the moment, without tumbling down, is on its own a mystery that only Moshupa elders can unravel.

Even monkeys, which are the totem of residents and best known as Mokgatla by those who know its rich traditional significance, also came to cast an eye.

Mokgatla was occasionally spotted jumping from treetops around the kgotla. He chirped around in titters of mirth as if to say, "fare thee well Morwa Kgama, history will be kind to you, You have fought a good battle and kept your faith. You also leave the nation in safe hands."

To many residents, the event was more than just a farewell meeting that also launched a string of such other meetings to be held across the length and breadth of the nation. It was more like a ritual, a crowning moment. To them the symbolism was bigger.

They felt President Khama had come to pass the baton to his capable deputy and future President, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi, and that it could only be done in Moshupa in full view of the elders.

They know that great leaders such as President Khama know that the most important part of a relay race is not so much the running, but the passing of the baton.

They also know that leaders know how to pick their replacements, pass the baton and trust their successors with it.

No wonder President Khama in his speech also said if he could go back in time to choose his deputy and future president again, he would still pick Mr Masisi.

Another highlight for the day was when the donations came. Bakgatla donated 27 cattle of tip-top quality and pledged eight on top to set the tone for other events that would ensue. Out of the total number, Mr Masisi donated five graceful heifers. They also donated 18 goats, four pigs and four sheep.

But the choicest gift came from Kgosi Benoni Mosielele who gave President Khama a red and white pedigree Simmental cow. The cow stood out not because of its breed and quality alone, but its colour.

The colour to Bakgatla-ba-ga-Mmanaana is almost what the blood is to born-again Christians.

Legend has it that Bakgatla-ba-ga-Mmanaana came from one tribe with Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela, but went separate ways somewhere along the course of history to become distinct tribes independent of the other. At some point down the line, history also records that Bakgatla-ba-ga-Mmanaana were under siege from their enemies, but were saved by a red and white calf.

Aware of a plot to decimate them overnight, it is said that Bakgatla leaders chained the calf to a tree, and immediately fled with their subjects from the place during the day.

They were safe in the knowledge that the calf's bellows and heart rending cries would lure the enemy to sit back, relax and wait for night fall to attack. But the crunch came when the enemies wanted to pounce on Bakgatla, and lo and behold, they were nowhere to be found and thus sparred.

And from that day henceforth, they hold a cow with red and white colours dear. It is therefore against this backdrop that Kgosi Mosielele donated the cow from the depths of his heart.

Source : BOPA

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