Pretoria - Their great-grandfather’s statue stands outside the Pretoria City Hall, while the metro is named after him – now the descendants of King Tshwane want land to go along with these honours.
The descendants of Tshwane have laid claim to land covering the heart of the nation’s capital, stretching from Fountains Valley to Wonderboom. The land includes the Union Buildings, Arcadia and the entire Pretoria city centre and is valued at billions.
They are not impressed with Chief Velaphi Victor Lekhuleni’s land claim covering north and east of the city, and have also disputed his royal credentials.
The office of the Regional Land Claims Commission will host a stakeholders meeting on the Lekhuleni claim this Saturday from 10am at St Georges Hotel south of the city, which is expected to draw a large crowd. This week, members of the Tshwane Royal House contacted the Pretoria News, saying they would object to Lekhuleni’s claim and state their own case at the meeting. The secretary-general of the Tshwane Royal House, Levy Mokone, said they were consulted by the government when the statue was put up and during the deliberations regarding the name change.
He was accompanied by Molebogeng Naomi Tshwane, deputy leader of the Tshwane Royal House. Leader Phistos Makhudu Tshwane died and was buried last week in Hammanskraal.
They said King Tshwane settled in the city about 100 years before the arrival of the Voortrekkers. Mokone said the king ordered six of his sons to take their families and move away from what is now the Pretoria city centre to prevent genocide by the plundering Voortrekkers who were moving into the interior of the country.
“The history starts with King Mushi, a Ndebele king who led his people from Maponong to what later became known as Transvaal, settling first east of the city at the origin of Moretele River,” Mokone said.
They later moved to what is today known as Pretoria on the banks of a river named Tshwane (or Apies), also the name of Mushi’s eldest son and successor.
The tribe then moved from Fountains to Sefateng Sa Phitsane or Wonderboompoort. Tshwane died and was buried there, while his sons moved to other parts of the country where they became kings.
Mokone said they would never have become kings if they were not royalty. When they left, their father instructed them to use their first names in order to disguise their origins.
Letshoale established himself east of the modern-day Polokwane, while Moletlane, alias Kekana, also went north and founded the Sebetiela tribe.
Mopo settled at Bosfontein in Rustenburg and found the Bapo tribe, from which the Tlhako tribe originated.
The fourth son, whose descendants live in Botswana, was Malete. Manala, also known as Mabhena, founded the Manala section of Ndebele, from which Tsutsa or Ndzundza broke off.
Modimakwane, the eldest son, moved to Ga-Reletsoku or Klipdrift, and was the succession of the Bahwaduba chiefs.
Those who remained in Pretoria were scattered across the city, with no land to call their own, Molebogeng Tshwane said.
“Our claim was lodged many years ago.
“When they renamed the municipality and put up the statue, they knew where to find us, but they are ignoring our land claim because they know we have a case; Pretoria between Fountains and Wonderboom belongs to us. The government knows this,” Tshwane said.
The office of the Regional Land Claims Commissioner acknowledged the Tshwane claim. It said it was still under investigation by an independent researcher.