NWU professor documents resilient history of royal Bakwena ba Mogopa tribe

Issued by
Johannesburg, Mar 15, 2017

Prof Freddy Samuel Khunou, an associate professor on the Mafikeng Campus of the North-West University (NWU), recently published a book: "Mountains of Spirit", on the history and culture of the Bakwena ba Mogopa tribe.

The book, published by Rainbird (a division of Bookstorm Publishers), gives an insight into traditional leadership and provides a detailed account of the rich history and resilience of the Bakwena ba Mogopa tribe, one of the most important traditional communities in South Africa.

This work depicts the scope of social, political and economic change of the community, from its earliest beginnings as the Kwena tribe migrating from East Africa to southern Africa.

It focuses on the birth of the tribe as a distinct and independent lineage in the 1600s, the impact of land dispossession of the Boer settlers as they advanced from the Cape Colony to the interior, the impact of Christianity, the racist and oppressive attitudes and policies of colonial governments, through to the hardships endured under the Union government and apartheid.

"Mountains of Spirit" captures the role the traditional leaders of the Bakwena ba Mogopa played in shaping the community and responding to challenges of the modern economy and constitutional democracy of South Africa. It is an important study of the tribal structures, the social, cultural and traditional practices, and the questions of land, minerals and mining rights of the Bakwena ba Mogopa.

This is a story that spans migrations, wars, land dispossession and restitution, intratribal rivalry, unrest, cultural disintegration, forced removals, pain and suffering and reintegration.

Prof Khunou is an associate professor in the School of Postgraduate Studies of Research in the Law Faculty on the Mafikeng Campus. He has published a considerable number of articles in both national and international accredited journals. In addition, Prof Khunou recently qualified as an advocate of the High Court of South Africa and is a member of the Polokwane Society of Advocates.