updated 9 nov 2016

Ganyisa comprises both a rural town and a district in the Vryburg district. It is situated abut 70 kilometres north-west of Vryburg, at the source of the Ganyesa spruit, which has now dried up. These are no perennial streams in the region, and most are small tributaries of the Molopo river.  Ganyisa is the main town of the Barolong boo Mariba. This faction of the Barolong split away from the larger Barolong community at Kuruman (Kudumane) in about 1765 under kgosi Motsware.  They are sometimes referred to as the western baRolong. They were able to live as pastoralists and hunters, but agricultural opportunities were limited. Being close to modern Botswana the Barolong boo Mariba participated in the long distance Kalahari trade, particularly in ostrich feathers.  This placed them in competition with Kora traders, and there was some friction between them in the latter decades of the nineteenth century.

Map showing Taung District & Vryburg District  

 When the British colonised  Bechuanaland in 1886, Ganyisa was designated a Native Reserve, and the Barolong boo Mariba had to pay taxes to the British authorities. In the late 1950s the extent of the Ganyesa reserve was estimated to be 12,858 sq, miles. They were able to avoid the harsher aspects of colonial rule as they were able to pursue "alternative economic opportunities of long distance trading and transport riding, and …to utilise the hunting and grazing grounds of the [Bechuanaland} Protectorate".[1]    
There are several villages close by, which were under the control of the traditional leaders based at Ganyesa. These include Phothle, Kgokole, Tlapeng, and Seopitse. The current population of Ganyesa district is about 15-20,000. In March 2009, Ganyisa was struck by protest action by the residents over poor service delivery. About 30 residents were arrested for blockading roads around the town.     

[1] K. Shillington, The Colonisation  of the Southern Tswana, 1870-1900, (Ravan Press, Johannesburg, 1985, p. 241.

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

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