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The term Batlôkwa (also Batlokoa, or Badogwa) refers to several Kgatla communities that reside in Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa. It is comprised by the followers of Tlôkwa kings and the members of clans identified as Tlôkwa, or individuals who identify themselves as of Tlôkwa descent. Most of the Batlôkwa clans trace their royal lineages to Kgwadi son of King Tabane, who was the father and founder of the Batlokwa nation. The Tlôkwa considers the Tlokwe-cat as their original totem which has since become extinct due to over-hunting for its fur, which was used by clan chiefs.

Classification

The Batlôkwa kingdom is part of the larger group of Bakgatla people, which is one of sub-divisions of the Bantu-speaking Tswana peoples. These different groups are often classified for convenience as 'Sotho-Tswana'. This is because, from an early stage of their history, they shared a number of linguistic and cultural characteristics that distinguished them from other Bantu-speakers of southern Africa. Most prominent was mutually intelligible dialects. Other features included totemism, preferential marriage of maternal cousins with the exception to Batlokwa who prefer marrying their paternal cousins, and an architectural style characterized by a round hut with a conical thatch roof supported by wooden pillars on the outside. Other commonalities included a style skin cloaks called mekgatlha, dense and close village settlements larger than those of 'Nguni' peoples, and a tradition of building in stone in less grassy or wooded regions.

The history of the Basotho and Batswana people is one of continual dissension and fission where disputes, sometimes over kingship ascendancy, resulted in a section of the clan breaking away from the main clan, under the leadership of a dissatisfied king's relative, and settling elsewhere. Often the name of the man who led the splinter group was taken as the new tribe's name.

The traditions of the Batswana people point to a northward origin, and indicate that their southward movement was part of the great migrations of the Bantu-speaking iron-age peoples. Usually the theory asserts that the Sotho-Tswana separated from other Bantu-speaking peoples in the vicinity of the Great Lakes of East Africa, and that they proceeded downwards along the western part of present-day Zimbabwe.

Some scholars caution against this classification of ethnic groupings since Africans are not homogeneous peoples. Paul Maylam, stressed that there is a common tendency for the criteria used to label African groups "to overlap between 'different' societies so that it becomes virtually impossible to use all the major criteria at the same time to define nearly differing, self-contained entities."[1]

History

The traditions of the Barolong kingdoms indicate that at some time in the past they were all under the same rule of a line of kings who claimed descent from a common ancestor, Masilo. Following the death of Masilo there was a leadership crisis that resulted in the formation of the Hurutshe and Kwena clans. The Batlôkwa claim lineage from the Hurutshe clan and traced

The Batlôkwa kingdom is part of the larger group of Bakgatla people, which is one of sub-divisions of the Bantu-speaking Tswana peoples. These different groups are often classified for convenience as 'Sotho-Tswana'. This is because, from an early stage of their history, they shared a number of linguistic and cultural characteristics that distinguished them from other Bantu-speakers of southern Africa. Most prominent was mutually intelligible dialects. Other features included totemism, preferential marriage of maternal cousins with the exception to Batlokwa who prefer marrying their paternal cousins, and an architectural style characterized by a round hut with a conical thatch roof supported by wooden pillars on the outside. Other commonalities included a style skin cloaks called mekgatlha, dense and close village settlements larger than those of 'Nguni' peoples, and a tradition of building in stone in less grassy or wooded regions.

The history of the Basotho and Batswana people is one of continual dissension and fission where disputes, sometimes over kingship ascendancy, resulted in a section of the clan breaking away from the main clan, under the leadership of a dissatisfied king's relative, and settling elsewhere. Often the name of the man who led the splinter group was taken as the new tribe's name.

The traditions of the Batswana people point to a northward origin, and indicate that their southward movement was part of the great migrations of the Bantu-speaking iron-age peoples. Usually the theory asserts that the Sotho-Tswana separated from other Bantu-speaking peoples in the vicinity of the Great Lakes of East Africa, and that they proceeded downwards along the western part of present-day Zimbabwe.

Some scholars caution against this classification of ethnic groupings since Africans are not homogeneous peoples. Paul Maylam, stressed that there is a common tendency for the criteria used to label African groups "to overlap between 'different' societies so that it becomes virtually impossible to use all the major criteria at the same time to define nearly differing, self-contained entities."[1]

History

The traditions of the Barolong kingdoms indicate that at some time in the past they were all under the same rule of a line of kings who claimed descent from a common ancestor, Masilo. Following the death of Masilo there was a leadership crisis that resulted in the formation of the Hurutshe and Kwena clans. The Batlôkwa claim lineage from the Hurutshe clan and traced their early ancestry to Mokgatla, the founder of the BaKgatla and Tabane.[2]

Tabane fathered a son Matlaisane from his senior wife and five sons by his Junior Wife, Diale, KgetsiThe history of the Basotho and Batswana people is one of continual dissension and fission where disputes, sometimes over kingship ascendancy, resulted in a section of the clan breaking away from the main clan, under the leadership of a dissatisfied king's relative, and settling elsewhere. Often the name of the man who led the splinter group was taken as the new tribe's name.

The traditions of the Batswana people point to a northward origin, and indicate that their southward movement was part of the great migrations of the Bantu-speaking iron-age peoples. Usually the theory asserts that the Sotho-Tswana separated from other Bantu-speaking peoples in the vicinity of the Great Lakes of East Africa, and that they proceeded downwards along the western part of present-day Zimbabwe.

Some scholars caution against this classification of ethnic groupings since Africans are not homogeneous peoples. Paul Maylam, stressed that there is a common tendency for the criteria used to label African groups "to overlap between 'different' societies so that it becomes virtually impossible to use all the major criteria at the same time to define nearly differing, self-contained entities."[1]

The traditions of the Barolong kingdoms indicate that at some time in the past they were all under the same rule of a line of kings who claimed descent from a common ancestor, Masilo. Following the death of Masilo there was a leadership crisis that resulted in the formation of the Hurutshe and Kwena clans. The Batlôkwa claim lineage from the Hurutshe clan and traced their early ancestry to Mokgatla, the founder of the BaKgatla and Tabane.[2]

Tabane fathered a son Matlaisane from his senior wife and five sons by his Junior Wife, Diale, Kgetsi, Tabane fathered a son Matlaisane from his senior wife and five sons by his Junior Wife, Diale, Kgetsi, Kgwadi (Motlôkwa), Matsibolo, and Mosia. Each broke away to form Bapedi, Makgolokwe, Batlôkwa, Maphuthing and Basia respectively. Ten generations later, from Kgwadi, Montwedi, the son of Motonosi, fathered Mokotjo. Chief Mokotjo the father to Sekonyela died at an early age, so his mother, Manthatisi, was regent during his minority.

Kgosi-kgolo Tsotetsi (ca. 1735) was the paramount king of Batlokwa ba Mokgalong, which was a senior branch of Batlokwa. He took over the reins after his father, Kgosi Seboloka son of Mokgalo died and he also, like most of the earlier chiefs, died at an early age, however by then he had already bore 6 sons by his Kgosihadi 'Mamohlahlwe, namely Mohlahlwe (Lebaka), Tsibela, Selemane, Leloka, Sethati and Thai. At the time of his death, his successor Mohlahlwe was still a minor, and Batlokwa made a consensus that Queen Mamohlahlwe becomes regent for his son Lebaka. This, therefore, made her the first queen to act as a regent in the Batlokwa nation. Kgosihadi Mamohlahlwe was greatly assisted by her late husband's siblings, namely Kganye son of Thekiso and Motonosi son of Makoro. These chiefs assisted very well in the chieftainship of Batlokwa until Queen Mamohlahlwe gave way to his son Lebaka who then became the paramount king of Batlokwa.

Queen 'Manthatisi wife of Kgosi MokotjoIn South Africa, the Batlôkwa are found in significant numbers in the six of the mainland provinces, namely North West, Gauteng, Limpopo and the Free State, Kwazulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. Partially some are found in the Western Cape.

In the North West the Batlôkwa settled in the region called Tlôkwe near the Potchefstroom, We also do find Batlokwa at Molatedi Village ( Kgosi Matlapeng, Letlhakeng-Montsana Village ( Kgosi Sedumedi), Tlokweng Village (Kgosi Motsatsi). They are part of the Setswana language grouping portion of the Sotho–Tswana.

In the North West the Batlôkwa settled in the region called Tlôkwe near the Potchefstroom, We also do find Batlokwa at Molatedi Village ( Kgosi Matlapeng, Letlhakeng-Montsana Village ( Kgosi Sedumedi), Tlokweng Village (Kgosi Motsatsi). They are part of the Setswana language grouping portion of the Sotho–Tswana. They arrived in the area in the 1820s and are not part of the Batlôkwa who had been led by Chief Sekonyela, as they had seceded at an earlier period. There is also scattering of the Batlôkwa found all over the North-West province.

In the Limpopo province, they are found in a place called boTlôkwa, north of Polokwane. Here the Batlôkwa are part of the North-Sotho language grouping. They arrived in the region after separating from the Batlôkwa who had fled to the Tshwane region after the defeat of Sekonyela by Moshoeshoe. The main Tlôkwa clan in the area is the Batlôkwa Ba Ga Machaka and Ramokgopa. The two had separated in a quarrel for chieftaincy, with Ramokgopa ultimately residing in the eastern regions called Mokomene, in Limpopo. Another grouping under Kgosi Manthata was moved to Mohodi next to Senwabarwana in 1977 also as a result of chieftaincy quarrels with Batlôkwa ba Mphakane under Kgosi Machaka.

These areas produced important people such as:

In the Sesotho language grouping, the Batlôkwa are mainly found in the Eastern Free State region which is their area of jurisdiction with five distinct Batlôkwa branches in the area, namely

  • Batlôkwa ba Mokgalong (Tsotetsi)
  • Batlôkwa ba Mota
  • Batlôkwa ba Morakadu
  • Batlôkwa ba Makalakeng
  • Batlôkwa ba Nasatse Patso
  • Batlôkwa ba Lehana
  • Batlôkwa ba Masene

The above-mentioned branches of Batlôkwa still share similar cultural and linguistic

The above-mentioned branches of Batlôkwa still share similar cultural and linguistic elements in their respective areas. Batlokwa ba Mokgalong also known as Batlokwa ba Tsotetsi trace their descendency to Modungwane who was popularly known as Molefe who is the father of all the branches of Batlokwa. Batlokwa ba Mokgalong are recognised under the Free State House of Traditional Leaders, and are still struggling to acquire back their land which was stolen by the colonialists under the then Black Administration Act, to be latter returned in 1991, with the recognition of Paramount Chief. Lebaka David Tsotetsi. After the death of Chief Lebaka, his son Nkgahle Bert Tsotetsi took over, and mysteriously became recognised as a Senior Traditional Leader instead of his initial status of a Paramount Chief, in what seemed to be a political cover-up of the senior house of the Batlokwa nation.

In Kwazulu-Natal, Batlokwa are found in the Nqutu Municipal Area in a place called Maseseng, Mokgalong; which is named after Chief Lesesa who settled there in the late 1800s after the British requested assistance in the form of warriors fr

In Kwazulu-Natal, Batlokwa are found in the Nqutu Municipal Area in a place called Maseseng, Mokgalong; which is named after Chief Lesesa who settled there in the late 1800s after the British requested assistance in the form of warriors from King Leteka of the Batlokwa ba Mokgalong. Leteka in response sent through his junior brother, Prince Lesesa, with his warriors, who joined the Batlokwa ba Mota who had already settled in the Nqutu area with the Hlubi's, and together they succeeded in winning the battle and subsequently capturing King. Cetshwayo of the Zulu's. In return, the British signed a treaty with Batlokwa to reside in the area, however as it was custom for the senior house to rule, Lesesa was supposed to be the leader of Batlokwa in the area, however, he made an agreement with Mota to let him rule, as they had already been there before him and his people. Lesesa also played a pivotal role in the struggle to acquire land back from the colonialists, and in 1905 he was joined by Josiah Tshangana Gumede (ca. 1867-1946) and King Moloi of the Makgolokwe Tribe, who went to England in order to deliver a petition to the British Government, in order to try to acquire land back that was taken away from them before the Anglo=Boer War.

In the Eastern Cape, Batlokwa are found in the Herschel and Mount Fletcher area under Chief Kakudi and Lehana respectively.

In Lesotho the Batlôkwa are one of the three main Sotho-Tswana clans who speak Sesotho. Their current Leader being Kgosi Ntjaqetho Sekonyela of Tlokoeng Mokhotlong District.

BotswanaBatlôkwa arrived in Botswana in 1887, settling in Moshwaneng on the Notwane River, after being led by Kgosinkwe Gaborone from the Tshwane area in South Africa following the split with another Tlôkwa clan that went to settle in Batlôkwa north of Polokwane-Pietersburg. The land they settled in was given to them by Kgosi Sechele after they acknowledged the overlordship of the Bakwena. The capital of Botswana Gaborone is named after Kgosinkwe Gaborone.[8]

The Batlôkwa in Botswana are unique from the other Tlôkwa clans in that their totem is the thakadu (ant-bear). This totem was chosen after the Batlôkwa were in the wilderness and became thirsty and hungry. They found a catch of the daywater from the many holes dug by thakadu, which has been the totem

The Batlôkwa in Botswana are unique from the other Tlôkwa clans in that their totem is the thakadu (ant-bear). This totem was chosen after the Batlôkwa were in the wilderness and became thirsty and hungry. They found a catch of the daywater from the many holes dug by thakadu, which has been the totem since that time. Batlôkwa then started drinking from such holes and since then they decided that nobody should harm the ant bear and it must be protected at all costs.

During this time in the wilderness, Mmakgosi was expecting and after drinking water from one of the dugout holes, she gave birth to a son who was named Marakadu. He said that Marakadu was named after the thakadu - the saviour, adding that since then Batlôkwa agreed to change their totem from nkwe to thakadu and that is how they became dithakadu as they are known today. Marakadu then begot a son called Mosima, a hole dug by thakadu from which they obtained water. Mosima then begot a son called Motlhabane - who begot Mokgwa - a savanna shrub under which Mmakgosi delivered. Mokgwa then begot Taukobong. The name was chosen because there were no blankets and they opted for animal skins to keep warm. According to Kgosintwa, Taukobong had three sons from different wives named Makaba, Molefe, and Tshekiso. He said that this was the time when Batlôkwa were at Itlholanoga - the snake eye, near Rustenburg. While Makaba died without children, however he had engaged a woman called Nkae and to keep the royal lineage growing, Molefe from the second wife was called in to father children for Nkae. Molefe then bore three sons in the house of Makaba, namely Bogatsu, Phiri and Semele. Traditionally, the children were not his but his elder brothers Makaba. Molefe became the regent chief because Taukobong died while they were still young. However, when they had matured, Phiri suggested to his brother Bogatsu that they should take over the chieftainship from Molefe, this created enmity between the two with Phiri constantly plotting to kill Molefe. He said that sensing danger, Bogatsu then instructed Molefe to choose two of his favourite wards and ran away. In his determination to kill Molefe, he said, Phiri pursued and attacked Molefe but it was Phiri who was defeated and killed. Molefe did not return to Itlholanoga but continued with the journey until they arrived in Botswana where they asked for land to settle on from Kgosi Sechele of the Bakwena.

The Batlôkwa share similar customs and tradition as other Sotho-Tswana clans. Depending on the area that they live in the speak normally one three languages which are Setswana, Sesotho or Northern Sotho but mostly speak Setswana. Sesotho, Northern Sotho and Setswana are largely mutually intelligible. Like most Africans, the Batlôkwa are adapting to a rapidly urbanising population and culture. In rural areas, traditional culture remains an important force in daily life. Customary law still plays a vital role, and their unique culture of marrying their paternal cousins. In each region's urban areas, which are cosmopolitan, multi-racial and multi-cultural, western cultural norms are predominant.

Leboko la Batlokwa (Batlokwa Poem)