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Kgosi Galeshewe to be honoured

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Chief of the Batlhaping tribe of Tswana-speaking people, Galeshewe was to become one of the heroic figures who fought colonialism

NATIONAL Remembrance Day will be commemorated on Sunday at the Kimberley War Memorial (Cenotaph) in Du Toitspan Road at 10.45am.

The event is traditionally hosted by the Office of the Executive Mayor and this year tribute will be made to those who lost their lives in the sinking of the Mendi, the Battle of Squarehill and the liberation struggle.

Municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, said yesterday that the opportunity would also be used to honour Kgosi Galeshewe.

It was recently announced that the Air Defence Artillery Regiment, Vaal Rivier, would be named the Kgosi Galeshewe Anti-Aircraft Regiment (GAAR) in honour of the military tradition and history of indigenous African military formation and the liberation armies involved in the freedom struggle.

Kgosi Galeshewe is among the names of traditional leaders who stood their ground and marshalled their subjects as they laid the foundation for freedom and the struggle for the liberation of South Africa.

Chief of the Batlhaping tribe of Tswana-speaking people, Galeshewe was to become one of the heroic figures who fought colonialism.

As part of his struggles with the colonialists, he had his fair share of problems with the then government when they captured him in 1878 following an attack on Cornforth Hill near Taung. This followed the attacks he co-mounted on isolated traders and farmers in retribution against laws that disadvantaged the economic activities of the Batswana people.

Rebellion

As a result, he was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. Together with Lika Jantjies he led another uprising 19 years later, which became commonly known as the Phokwane Rebellion. Subsequently, Jantjies was killed and Galeshewe recaptured, bringing distress to his people as the Batlhaping lost their land, with some of the people executed for participating in the rebellion.

This time around though, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In particular, this arrest showed that Galeshewe was viewed as an enemy by the oppressor, especially for his ability to stand up and fight for the rights of his people.

As the then government rejoiced over his arrest, his own people saw him as a hero who risked his life for their good. He remained a champion who believed in the economic emancipation of his people and who always believed in their potential to use the land for their own development.

Galeshewe died in Magogong outside Hartswater in 1927.

The South African Navy also named one of its ships after this respected fallen hero. Galeshewe also posthumously received the Order of Mendi for Bravery in Gold for “his bravery in leading a rebellion against repressive laws of the colonialist government and for economic emancipation of his people”.

Matsie said yesterday that contact had been made with Galeshewe’s descendants and family representatives, who would lay a wreath during the ceremony.

Various military units, as well as the fire department, the SAPS, and the traffic department, will also be in attendance.

Members of the public are advised that the road in front of the Cenotaph will be closed for the event.