Marathodi was a baTlokwa capital occupied between about 1810 and 1827. It was one of the largest Tswana Iron Age towns,  possibly consisting of 15, 000 people, known for its extensive manufacture and trade in copper and extensive use of construction in stone.  Marathodi was built on a plain between the Pilwe and Matlapeng hills near the Pilanesberg, and is unusual in this respect becaue usually such Tswana towns were built on hills for fortification. This has suggested to archeologists that the baTlokwa were in a commanding political and economic position in the Pilanesberg by this period. The cattle kraals of the  dikgosi (chiefs) at Marathodi were very large as compared with those of the commoners, suggesting a greater degree of political centralisation and  concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the ruling factions.  Marathodi was evacuated by the baTlokwa  during the difaqane but was discovered by archaeologists in the late 1990s.

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

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