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Tshomankane Pilane


Title Kgosi (Chief)
Other Names
Date of Birth 1815-00-00
Date of Death 1885-00-00
Tshomankane Pilane
Born c. 1810, died 1885. He was a young estranged brother of Kgamanyane of the baKgatla in the Pilanesberg district. (See also Kgamanyane). He was from the third royal house and closest in age Kgamanyane. From the late 1850s, Tshomankane was settled at Bopitikwe (or Bopitikelo), today the Sun City area. Tshomanakane had a close association with the early missionary in the area, Henri Gonin,and later Pieter Brink who actually came to live in Bopitikwe between 1872 and 1877. After the departure of Kgosi Kgamanyane and half of the baKgatla for Mochidi in April 1870, Tshomankane (also known as England) became the leader of the Pilanesberg baKgatla. He was assisted by another brother, Bafshwe. During the baKgatla-baKwena War of 1874 - 1883, Tshomankane supported his nephew, Linchwe, the successor kgosi in Mochudi. During that war, Tshomankane safeguarded cattle the baKgatla stole from the baKwena.
In effect, Tshomankane acted as a surrogate ruler, on behalf of the more senior baKgatla leaders, across the border in Setshele's country.  In particular, he was responsible for overseeing cattle belonging to Kgamanyane and his son Linchwe, which were retained in the South African Republic. Nevertheless he played a significant role in anchoring the baKgatla in South Africa during a difficult period for them, and stamped his authority over the divided chiefdom.  During the rule of Kgamanyane's son, Linchwe, in the late 1870s and early 1880s, the baKgatla were engaged in a prolonged war with the baKwena, to cast off their control over the baKgatla. Tshomankane assisted his people across the border, by sending men under his command to fight in the various engagements, and by safeguarding (on the South African side of the border) cattle stolen by the baKwena. Tshomankane personally participated in combat in that war and suffered a bullet wound in the process. He organised and delivered regiments to Bechuanaland to assist Linchwe's forces in the war. He also earned the gratitude of the British by raising men to fight in the war against the baPedi under Sekukhune in 1877, during the period of first British occupation of the Transvaal. For this he was recognised as resident kgosi of the baKgatla. He also raised money to purchase the farm Kruidfontein, adjacent to Saulspoort, where his son and heir, Ditlhake, moved in 1888.  


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

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