Home News Tributes pour in for Kgosi Jantjie

Tributes pour in for Kgosi Jantjie

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“He distinguished himself as a visionary and compassionate leader of the community”

Kgosi Jantjie died in Kimberley on Thursday evening after a short illness. Picture: Supplied

TRIBUTES have poured in following the death of Kgosi (Chief) Kgosienewang II Jantjie, Kgosi of the Batlhaping-Ba-Ga-Phuduhutswana in Manyeding, Kudumane for almost 48 years, who died in the Gariep Mediclinic Hospital in Kimberley on Thursday evening after a short illness.

Born on March 15, 1948, he was the great great grandson of Kgosi Luka Jantjie.

In a tribute to him, Sephai Mngqolo, who heads the Living History Department at the McGregor Museum, said it was hard to eulogise any man, and this was even more difficult when the person was of royalty.

Kgosi Jantjie was installed as Kgosi of Batlhaping on June 1, 1972 at the age of 24 years.

He served as chairperson of Seokama Dichaba Regional Authority in Kudumane from 1973 to 1977, after which he was appointed as Member of Parliament in Bophuthatswana from 1977 to 1989 where he served as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources until 1994.

He was then elected as a member of the Provincial Traditional House of Leaders in the North West.

He became the deputy chairperson of the Northern Cape Provincial House of Traditional Leaders and later served as a member of the National House of Traditional Leaders and later as deputy chairperson of Traditional Leaders until his death on Thursday.

The ANC in the Northern Cape also paid tribute to Jantjie on Friday, describing him as a great listener and a firm disciplinarian.

ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga said the party applauded the progressive role he played in the development of his community and for upholding the culture and traditions of Batlhaping ba ga Phuduhutswana.

“The passing of Kgosi Kgosienewang has robbed his community and the Province of a capable and considerate leader. He distinguished himself as a visionary and compassionate leader of the community. The people of Batlhaping Ba ga Phuduhutswana must find solace from the knowledge that their leader served them with dedication and commitment, and that the people of the Province share in their pain and this great loss.”

The ANC PEC in the Northern Cape thanked Jantjie for his generous spirit and for upholding the culture and teachings he offered to his people, humanity with so much compassion.

“We send our heartfelt condolences to the family of Kgosi and the people of Batlhaping Ba ga Phuduhutswana.”

Jantjie’s great great grandfather was Kgosi Luka Jantjie, who was chief of the Batlhaping ba Manyeding group of the Batswana in Kuruman.

Born in Kimberley in 1835 and the son of a Christian convert, Luka Jantjie spent most of his life protecting the rights to land of his people and is considered a struggle hero for his battle against British colonialism. He was the cousin of Kgosi Galeshewe.

“As part of my studies, I explored the role that Kgosi Luka Jantjie played during the wars of dispossession in 1896/7,” Mngqolo pointed out in his tribute.

“It was during these long sessions that he would nostalgically relate the stories that were told to him by his parents and elders of the brave Batlhaping and Batlharo men and women who fought the British during that war. Kgosi Luka Jantjie and his kith and kin kept the marauding British at bay during the Langeberg War that lasted for a gruelling eight months. Their audacious act of defending their people compelled the British to increase their manpower. The village in Langeberg was burned to the ground by rampaging British soldiers. The resistance was slowly disintegrated, Kgosi Luka Jantjie was killed and later beheaded. Eventually they captured Kgosi Galeshewe, Kgosi Toto and his son Robanyane of the Batlharo. The trio spent a humiliating period at the Breakwater Prison in Cape Town and Robben Island respectively. Six of their co-accused including Petlhu were sentenced to death, spelling a land loss jinx that was to befall the Batlhaping and Batlharo for ages. These events eventually led to the permanent displacement of the Batlhaping from their place of birth and relegated them to abject penury.

“I would see how deeply saddened Kgosi Jantjie was whenever we touched on the issue of land. His wish has always been to see his people getting their land back. Most importantly, it was during our informal conversations that I realised how, incredibly, he was full of good humour even mischief despite the heavy burdens he carried as a Kgosi.

“Today I pay my own tributes to an extraordinary leader who could at times be incredibly formidable in any argument yet kind in private.”