Barolong Farms

The baRolong farms were situated in the south of the Bechuanaland Protectorate bordering the Ratshidi baRolong in the south and the baNgwaketse in the north. In 1885 a dispute arose as to whom was the rightful owner of the farms. In 1892 following a government enquiry, the baRolong were given the easten portion, lying between Ramatlabama and Kgoro.  It was an anomalous situation as the Ratshidi were living in South Africa, the border having cut them off from land in they traditionally occupied in the Protectorate. The farms were also unusual in that they were held in indivudual title, by wealthy members of the chiefdom, and not communally. This had been initiated by Montshiwa as he believed it was the best way to prevent the land from being alienated and possessed by the Boers in the late c19th.   The territory that made up the farms, 432 square miles, was partitioned into  41 farms of approximately equal size; Montshiwa personally held four of these farms. Because of these land tenure arrangements, the farms were ever fully integrated into the political structure of the Ratshidi   Barolong.

The farms formed probably the most productive arable district in Bechuanaland/Botswana and earned the reputation of being the 'granary of Botswana' and have been presented as a case of successfull African peasant production in the first deades of the c20th. Lotlamoreng, who spent many of his later years in life on his personal farm at Good Hope. He built a community hall and school in the 1940s and installed his representative to attend to matters on the farms. Rudimentary baRolong adminstration was also imposed over the residents and workers on the 41 farms by Lotlamoreng during these years.     

However, the connection between the  Ratshidi in Mafikeng  and the Barolong Farms became increasingly tenuous over the ensuing three or four decades.  In 1966, when Botswna became independent, the new government asked Lotlamoreng's successor, Kebalepile,  to decide whether to reside on Good Hope and resign his position in Mafikeng, or if not, to relinquish his jurisdiction over the Barolng farms.  Kebalebile stayed in Mafikeng but sent his younger brother to run affairs in the Barolong Rarms.  



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

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