Media Statements

Bakoena Ba Mopeli Book Launch a Milestone for Traditional Leadership in South Africa

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Des van Rooyen will officially hand over the book on Customary Law of Succession and Genealogy of the Bakoena Ba Mopeli to the Royal Family on 25 September 2017. The Bakoena Ba Mopeli will also on the same day (25 September 2017) launch this important book and thus making it public.

The event to officially launch this important book will be attended by dignitaries within and outside South Africa. These dignitaries who will be joining Minister van Rooyen, include the Free State Provincial leadership, the leadership of both the Thabo Mofutsanyane District and Maluti a Phofung Local Municipality. In addition, this event will also be graced by the presence of His Majesty, King Letsie III from the Kingdom of Lesotho.


For a long time, all kinds of myths and prejudices concealed the true history of traditional leadership in South Africa. The historical discourse on traditional leadership has raised important issues looking at the marginalization of this important institution as the previously documented histories of many South African traditional communities (which included those of traditional leadership) were distorted by Europeans. This challenge led to the historical information pertaining to the institution of traditional leadership being inaccurately documented and misrepresenting many communities across the country.

In view of this distortions the Department of Traditional Affairs conceptualized a project which saw the beginning of a process to document the customary laws of succession and genealogies for all 13 Kingships/Queenships and Principal Traditional Communities across the country.

Conceptualizing this project required reflection on the challenges encountered by various stakeholders, such as royal families, government, commissions dealing with traditional leadership disputes and claims, courts of law and lawyers when dealing with matters of disputes and claims within the institution of Traditional Leadership.

This process supported by the DTA saw Royal Families of Kingships/Queenships and Principal Traditional Communities documenting their own “living” customary laws of succession and genealogies. For the first time, various communities in the country took charge and documented their true history, instead of the one that was forced on them by the oppressive apartheid regime.

For the Bakoena Ba Mopeli in the Free State Province, in Qwaqwa, this important and historical process led to a book titled “Bakoena Ba Mopeli Customary Law of Succession and Genealogy”. Of Importance, is that this valuable book on the “living” customary law of succession and the genealogy of the Bakoena Ba Mopeli Kingship is the product of Bakoena themselves and this process will ultimately restore their dignity.


The book aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To provide guidelines on how one becomes a traditional leader among the Bakoena Ba Mopeli Kingship;
  2. To promote the understanding and adherence to customary law of succession by Royal Family;
  3. To assist the Royal Family to understand their history, heritage, relations and lineage;
  4. To assist with the identification of core royal houses, and individuals involved in identifying an heir;
  5. To provide a guiding document that will assist the Bakoena Ba Mopeli Royal Family and any other authority to deal with disputes that may arise within the Kingship;
  6. To unify members of the Royal Family;
  7. To create awareness on how the Bakoena Ba Mopeli customary law of succession operates as well as publicize the photographs of members of the Royal Family;
  8. To assist the Bakoena Ba Mopeli Kingship as well as future generations to know and understand their heritage;
  9. To supplement traditional means of transmission of customary law of succession and lastly,
  10. To dispel historically inaccurate narratives about succession matters for the Kingship.

“As CoGTA and the country we are encouraged by this extraordinary commitment and work that led to such an important document which will go a long way to educate people about the history of Bakoena”, said Minister van Rooyen.

As we congratulate Bakoena Ba Mopeli for such an important achievement, we urge and encourage other Kingships/Queenships across our country to work hard on bringing their own processes of documenting their history to fruition.


Legadima Leso

CoGTA Communications

Cell: 083 378 9495