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IIn the north-eastern corner of the Pilanesberg, where the Big Five roam the plains and platinum sits in abundance under the soil, you’ll find the ancestral home of the Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela people.
Their tribal capital, the village of Moruleng, is a short three kilometres from Bakgatla Gate on the edge of the Pilanesberg National Park. The Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela have lived and worked there since the 1800s, when Kgosi Pilane settled his people at Mmasobudule on the Elands River, in the area known today as the Pilanesberg.
Life at that time wasn’t easy for the Tswana communities north of the Vaal River. They had to deal with cattle raids, inter-tribal battles, droughts, floods, locusts and disease. In 1836 the Voortrekkers (Boers) arrived in the area, looking to occupy land where they could graze their cattle and be free from British rule. The Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela and the Boers mostly lived peacefully side by side, but soon settler land claims encroached on the land occupied by the Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela and other African communities.