The Barolong National Council

Founded Date

The Barolong National Council (BNC) was formed in 1915. It was created at the hight of a contest for political authority between the two major factions of the Barolong, the Rapulana and Ratshidi factions. The contest for dominance was focussed on the ownership of the precious water source of Lotlhakane. The first President of the BNC  was the Rev. S.E. Sehumo, a memebr of the Rapulana ruling elite, and a Minister in the African Catholic church, a breakaway denomination from the Roman Catholic Church of South Africa. The stated aim of the BNC was to unify the fueding Barolong, but the underlying  intention was to undermine and dilute the influence of the Ratshidi, in particular by advancing the claim that The Rapulana kgosi, Moshete, a founding figure in the Rapulana chieftainship, was  paramount of the Barolong.   

Not surprisingly, the Ratshidi faction had very little to do with the BNC and saw it as a front to advance the interests of the Rapulana in the region. In 1920, the ruling Rapulana kgosi, E.M. Matlaba (who had a well-known prediliction for liquor)  and the Rev. Sehumo were found guilty of embezzlement from the BNC and the organisation  collapsed internally; by 1920 it was a spent force.     

South Africa's North-West province: A Guide to its History and Heritage. © 2017

With special thanks to our sponsors