Ditlhokwe is the official geographic name of the village as per records within the Statistics SA but the village as per the local municipality’s resolutions is called Ga-Maria. This is the village chosen to be profiled for this month’s issue, The Village Mag had a conversation with Mr. Jorome Bokaba who is one of the descendants of the first people to arrive here.
The village is located within the Dr. JS Moroka Local Municipality within the Mpumalanga Province, it is on the borderline of Sipitspunt which is in the Limpopo Province. As of 2011 the village had a total population size of just under 2200 of course the numbers has increased since then, but when did life start in this particular place and how was it that the name came about? These are some of the questions we will try to answer.
According to Mr. J Bokaba, the name came from the difficulties in pronouncing the name Marius the farmworkers used to experience. The area used to be mixed farm, it was during the height of apartheid at the time. The workers used to call the farm Ga-Maria due to the reason stated above. It had a barbed wire fence which had limited gates for access control one of which was located along the fence of Ga-Maria clinic, the fence started at the bottle store adjacent to the sportsground of one of the most popular amateur soccer team Ga-Maria Barcelona FC.
“The family of Bokaba came from Malebitsa and were the first to occupy permanent residency on the farm” he said, they were later followed by the Kekana family. As time went by the land changed from a farm to a trust, initially the village had a herd man who reported to Bakgatla Ba Mocha Traditional Council in Marapyane but after some legal tussles the village (trust) is headed by Mr. M Kekana (herd man) now reports to the Kwa-Manala Traditional Council in Klipfontein headed by Chief E Mabena.
Much like other villages in modern day South Africa had and still has a serious infrastructure backlog and it is because of the above that the community has built some of the monuments we see today. Ditlhokwe Primary School is one typical example of such, the only primary school in Ga-Maria, it opened its doors for admissions in 1974.
Although the village is relatively small in size, approximately 1.13 km2, to date the area has grown immensely both socially and economically. As per the 2011 Census, the study found that 55.6% of households are headed by females and the village has a dependency ratio of about 85%. Unfortunately with huge unemployment rate still on the rise, the future looks bleak for many some are optimistic that this will all change soon.
There are similarities in some of the old practices the people of this village used; one of which was to pray for rain. To date the village has amenities such two community sports ground, a clinic, schools, spaza shops and the likes. Development is going at a very slow pace but it is nice seeing that all is not lost and that the people are loving and growing this wonderful village.
Mr. Jorome Bokaba is the third born of the late Paulinah Bokaba and Rapetsoa Tleane, born in 1964 and bred in this village, he grew up herding cows.