Village Profile _5

Village Profile

The story of Kabete, also known as Koedoespoort, starts with eight families that needed to farmland and grazing
land for their livestock. We interviewed the son of one of the first families to occupy the land, Mr. April Maile
Rakoena who gladly shared insights with us.


Maubane Matlhatsi
maubanemm@thevillagemag.co.za

23 August 2020

KABETE: ITS ORIGINS AND DESCENDANTS

The first settlers of Kabete came from all over, it is estimated that the Rakoena’s arrived between the years 1937 – 1939 from Ga-Matlala, Lehwelereng village. Eight farmers came together to buy what is now known as Kabete private farm. They came to the land initially as workers for the farms that were owned by white people during the apartheid regime. The land was split into two sections, the privately owned farms and the Trust land that was owned by the Apartheid government (the sections of Kabete are still named Private and Trest). The families that worked on the Trust land were the Matshika, Nchabeleng, and the Kgoratles.

Between 1937 and 1939, when the deed sale of the private farm was announced the eight families that worked on the land for years joined efforts in order to purchase the land. The reasons for the eight families, namely Rakoena, Matlala, Babili, Mahlangu, Lebotse, Bapela, Bahula, Masemola, and Masela, to purchase the land were that they had livestock and the soil in the village they had previously occupied was not as fertile as the soil at Kabete. The second reason is that the government wanted to build a dam along the Elands River between Kabete private farm Mmakometsane, which was later named Mkhombo dam. Ntate Rakoena recalls that they had a few small plots that they used to farm on in order to send food back to their family that remained in Ga-Matlala.

When the Rakoena’s arrived in Kabete, they knew the land to be under the jurisdiction of Marapyane i.e. Bakgatla ba Mocha tribal office. This all changed because of political reasons and some part of the village was then declared a Ndebele village.  To date the village has two herd men who were appointed and report to two different royal houses; Richard Ranko Lepule representing the Manala Tribal Authority and Ntokolo Pro Maubane who represents the Bakgatla Ba Mocha.

The village is predominantly Sepedi speaking but the name of the high school is in isiNdebele; “the then Kabete Primary School principal Mr. Mabena who was Ndebele saw a need for a high school to be built within the community as such he facilitated the process of having the only high school built in the area, hence the name” said Nkodi Masemola, one of the vocal community member who grew up in the village. Upon completion the school was named Sithenjisiwe Senior Secondary School.

The first school was Kabete Primary, which did not have good infrastructure that would be conducive for learning. Like many schools in the region, it started under a tree and then the community decided to build a structure, government later built a proper structure.

With every village having its own rich culture, Kabete had a very unconventional way of praying for rain during drought seasons.

There is a natural dam near Kabete village that they call Rakomiki which has freshwater, the elders of Kabete along with the young children would go to the dam to pray for rain. During the ceremony, the children would call out for rain and the elders of the village would kneel down at the bank with teacups to draw water from the well and pray for rain as the collect the water from the well hence the name Rakomiki (komiki is an African term used for a cup).

During the apartheid regime, the occupants of Kabete used to pay for license for almost everything in their possession; ownership of properties such as bicycles required owners to have license disks. The regulations in terms of transportation did not end there; the villagers were not allowed to have donkeys. If donkeys were found in the village, they would be killed. There were also laws put in place to regulate dogs and there was a fee that had to be paid for owning a dog. The dogs also had to have a form of ID or tag that would help the apartheid police identify to whom the dogs belonged.

Although Kabete is a small village, it has a lot of history, which shows the resilience and unity of the eight families that built the village. There is a lot that our generation can learn from the history of Kabete, that if we work together we can prosper and secure a good future of many generations.