Updated 17 Oct 2016

Makgobistad, also known as Phitsane, lies about 40 kilometres slightly north-west of Mafikeng, on the border with Botswana. It is the capital village of the Barolong-boo-Ratlou-boo-Mariba. This branch of the Ratlou separated from several other factions during the rule of Motshware, in the late eighteenth century. The chiefdom was resident in today's Vryburg district at the time. Possibly Motshware moved to Makgobistad from the Vryburg area before his death in c.1830, but there is no consensus regarding this fact. One account is that Makgobi, Mothshware's son, only moved to the Magkobistad vicinity in 1872-1875.

A Captain Harris, sent by Sir Bartle Frere, the High Commissioner for South Africa to investigate a suitable system of administration for this part of the country, found Makgobi living there with 2,500 followers in a "seemingly prosperous state". They were theoretically subjects of the Tshidi-Barolong but did not accept this situation willingly.

Motseakhumo, who succeeded Makgobi, in 1884, strongly rejected Barolong supremacy. Makgobistad was subsequently recognised as an independent village by the Land Commission Report of the colonial government of British Bechuanaland in 1886. It then fell under what was called the Molopo Reserve. Motseakhumo died in 1909.
His successor, Tshipitota Motseakhumo, faced an internalrevolt by his subjects in the village of Lopurung in 1950. He ordered them to move from Lopurung in terms of the government  proclaimed Betterment Scheme, but they refused to leave and, led by a local headman, Mosii, they sought legal advice and  tried, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to prevent their removal.  

The institutions of chieftainship and community survived quite well in Makgobistad until kgosi (chief) Tshipitota died in 1975. He was succeeded by Sandyland Motseakhumo. However as the latter was a minor, the latter was only installed in 1997. He was accused, by a widely supported Community Committee, of depriving people of their rights to arable and grazing rights, without approval of the community, and was charged with fraud for embezzling the tribal accounts. Further discord in Mokgobistad was caused by a land claim (registered under the provisions of the Land Restitution Act), to an adjacent farm, Mayayane. When the claim was upheld Sandyland attempted to claim it on behalf of his family. This in turn led the residents to become part of a joint legal action against the controversial Communal Land Rights Act, which handed over control of communally owned land to traditional leaders.    

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

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