Mogale Mogale

Title Chief (Kgosi)
Other Names
Date of Birth 1810-00-00
Date of Death 1869-00-00



Updated 17 Oct 2016


Mogale, kgosi of the BaPô, is commemorated by the names of the Magaliesberg range of mountains, the Magalies River, Magaliesburg town, and Mogale City, the large municipal administrative structure that includes Krugersdorp. When Maleleku, brother of the BaPedi paramount  Sekwati, led a devastating raid into the Magaliesberg against the BaPô in 1823, the young heir was spared only because his grandparents hid him in a kloof above the village of Tlhogokgolo (Wolhuterskop). The BaPô were destitute after the Pedi raid and in order to survive they turned upon their weaker rivals and Mogale's young life began in a spate of violence during which raid was followed by counter raid.

During this period known as the Mfecane, many of the Tswana groups fled to the south and either became consolidated into the rising power of Moshoeshoe or found protection among the Sotho along the Caledon River.
Those who remained in the Magaliesberg area found themselves caught up in  a a second, more devastating invasion by Mzilikazi, chief of the Ndabele. Mzikilazi destroyed what was left of  Tswana occupation in the eastern North West, turning those who survived into his vassals, laying waste to villages and fields and killing many thousands of people. During this period the young Mogale was captured by Mzikilazi's forces but a group of his people rescued him and Mogale led them to safely south of the Vaal River.

After the Voortrekkers had taken possession of parts of North West, Mogale and the BaPô allied themselves with the Boers and helped to drive Mzikilazi and his Ndebele out of the region in 1840 and 1841. Four years later Gert Kruger, a brother of Paul Kruger, was appointed Commandant of the 'Magaliesberg district' – this is the first record of Mogale's name being applied to the district that developed as an outpost of the Potchefstroom (Mooi River) Republic.
The new Boer settlers did not allow the BaPô to return to the area with their wives and cattle; instead they appropriated the land for themselves and suffered an African presence only as labourers. This was deeply resented by the BaPô. Although they had fought alongside the Boers to regain their country, the BaPô were put to work digging irrigation furrows and otherwise assisting the Boers to prosper.

It was in these circumstances that in 1847 the Boers suspected Mogale of gun-running and of conspiring with Mankopane, one of the bitterest enemies of the Boers. Mogale was summoned top appear before Gert Kruger but, suspicious of what would happen to him, Mogale refused to be questioned and fled with many of his followers to the safety to Moshoeshoe.
There he remained for about fifteen years, and in 1855 in Mogale's absence, Kruger sold the almost one thousand head of cattle that Mogale had left behind. The following year Kruger began negotiations to allow Mogale's elderly mother to visit her son at Moshoeshoe's providing she try to persuade him to return to the Transvaal. According to the oral traditions recorded by ethnologist P.-L. Breutz, Martinus Pretorius, now President of the Transvaal had promised that if Mogale returned, all his possessions would be restored to him. Apparently, however, Mogale could not read the letter and thus did not respond. Mogale was in fact anxious to return to his ancestral home and paid a short visit to Gert Kruger and sent a placatory gift of four horses to him. But – for reasons unknown, perhaps out of fear of reprisals – Mogale remained only one night in the cattle kraal at 'Hekpoort' before returning to Moshoeshoe for another three years. Pretorius again tried to tempt Mogale to return with a promise of land but Mogale insisted on residing where his ancestors were buried and in due course around 1862 purchased the farm 'Boschfontein' (near Wolhuterskop) from a Mr Orsmond for 499 head of cattle. Mogale died on his farm in 1869.

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

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