The Royal Bafokeng Nation’s Queen Mother, Semane Molotlegi will be laid to rest in Phokeng village, outside Rustenburg, North West, on Saturday morning.

The mother of the Bafokeng King Kgosi Leruo Moletlegi died last weekend at the age of 77 after a long illness. Molotlegi was also the paternal aunt of former Botswana President, Ian Khama.

Amongst those expected to pay their last respect to the Queen Mother are government dignitaries from here in the country and the neighbouring Botswana.

Only a few people will be allowed inside the Bafokeng Conference Centre, where the funeral service will take place. There are also eight viewing points in villages of the Bafokeng Nation, with a capacity of 200 people each, where community members will be watching the funeral proceedings.

This is in line with COVID-19 protocols and restrictions.

Pioneering development in Phokeng village

Molotlegi has been praised for her instrumental role in the pioneering of infrastructural development in Phokeng village, outside Rustenburg.

Through the help of Molotlegi, with billions of rand in royalties earned from platinum mines operating on their land, Phokeng has been transformed into one of the most developed traditional communities in Africa.

Mmemogolo, as the Queen Mother is affectionately known, played a significant role in local development.

The CEO of Royal Bafokeng Platinum Steve Phiri says, “She looked after orphans, she educated the young and the adults alike, she provided health care, she provided better living conditions to the indigent. The best way to pay tribute to Mmemogolo is not to let her projects like Thuto thebe and others die.”

Memorial service for the late Bafokeng Queen Mother: 

Royal Bafokeng Nation

Royal Bafokeng Nation is regarded as one of the wealthiest traditional communities in Africa. The Bafokeng settled on the land, north of Rustenburg, at the end of the 17th century.

Their story is traced back to the foresight of Kgosi Mokgatle who ruled Bafokeng from 1834-1891. This visionary leader sent out a contingent of men to Kimberley to work on diamond mines.

The motive was to raise funds to buy the land, which we now know as Phokeng. In 1921, platinum was discovered on the land. The journey was always honoured by late Bafokeng Nation Queen Mother Semane Molotlegi.

Those who worked closely with her, like Mme Mmabolawana Mngadi, are always reminded of the struggles encountered in purchasing this platinum-rich land.

“We went to Kimberley with her. She was the first person to take us there. We were going to lay wreaths in honor of our forefathers. On another trip, we went to Beijing in 1995. We left Phokeng and we arrived in Hong Kong, and we were shown where our diamonds from this land are refined.”