Tau was born in about 1700 and was killed in battle in about 1760. He is remembered in oral traditions as the man who united the different baRolong factions in the middle decades of the eighteenth century. He is credited with being the founding figure of the baRolong. The baRolong under Tau, who had a reputation as a fearsome warrior, then dominated most of the territory south and east of the Molopo river. One writer has referred to him as the "Barolong Shaka" a reference to the reputed (but probably exaggerated) military prowess of the former amaZulu king. In the middle of the century he expanded his kingdom to include much of what became the northern Cape and south-western regions of the Transvaal, stretching up to the southern fringes of the Kalahari desert.
He began to threaten the Kora people living along the Orange River from about the late 1750s. In retaliation the Kora allied with the baTlhaping, whom the baRolong had previously defeated and dominated. He was allegedly killed in an engagement against his opponents in 1760. The baRolong then fled northwards to the region of modern Setlagole, where they broke up into five segments, each owing allegiance to Tau's sons_Ratlou, Tshidi, Seleka, Magetla and Rapulana. The Taung area is named after him.