Page 1

Setlogo Sa Batau The History of Batau Masemola, Phaahla, Marishane, Mphanama, Mogashoa, Bapedi, Seloane

The History and Origin of Batau people is very complex but in this 5 page Report by Dr Chris Kanyane, Ph.D (History) this history of Batau is made so clear and so interesting. Learn about the origin and genesis – the history of Masemola village, ga Phaahla village, Malatane, Byldrift, Marishane village and Mphanama. Learn about the fall of Batau and how they were assimilated into Bapedi and now only recognized as Bapedi

Dr Chris Kanyane has Ph.D (History) obtained from Central Western University, Arlington, Texas (US). E-mail: Website:

Copyright material You are welcome to share this material with as many other people as possible, only if you do not interfere with this document and that you keep it intact and unmodified


Setlogo Sa Batau Kgoshi Kgolo Matlebjane Ruled between 1350 AD - 1410 AD?

Kgoshi Mokwena Ruled between 1410-1450 AD?

Kgoshi Matlebjane II No exact estimation can be provided but his rule begun about 1450 AD. After him his sons plunged Batau into a bloody civil dividing Batau after themselves






first son of Matlebjane II

second son

third son

fourth son

fifth and last son

Father of Masemola villages

No significant following because it is him who killed his father Matlebjane II with a spear

Father of Malatane/Byldrift



The Origin and Genesis of Batau The Batau when they broke away from mainline Swazis in Swaziland, during the first century AD they were a small group of people. But this small group became a larger group as other people from surrounding nations started to be assimilated into Batau. Another factor to take into consideration and the factor that unified the Batau through their wanderings is that they had a King and system of rules and code of behavior that made them to be a tight neat disciplined people throughout. 2|Page

From mainline Swazi, Batau settled at Wakkerstroom and then Seokodibeng, a place that is now called Lake Chrissie. Now let us follow them as they live Lake Chrissie (Seokodibeng) going to Mokwena River (which today is called Crocodile River). Batau arrived at Mokwena River around 1250 A.D. This happened after wanderings and brushups with Bakgaditsi (Batswana). They passed the areas around Mapulaneng under the rule of Matlebjane until they arrived at Mokwena River, right near Dullstroom Mountains (around Belfast). While there, Matlebjane gave birth to Mokwena. After the death of Matlebjane, Mokwena ruled and gave birth to Matlebjane II who ruled after his father's death. Matlebjane II lived long until he was beyond ninety years old. Because of his long life his sons were impatient of him continuing to live and rule on and on. We shall come back to this story of the sons of Matlebjane II later on. Batau at Mokwena River were settled on a fertile plain that could support a relatively dense population with its much maize, vegetable and fruit. Matlebjane II was truly one of the greatest outstanding African kings of all times. A megalomaniac of genius. He sought greatness in everything he did. He was more than a hero to his people - he was a god. Under his rule Batau were compact and enjoyed relative peace and stability. He instilled within Batau a culture of discipline and seriousness of purpose and was on the verge of conquering all the known areas around. Matlebjane II was well known for calling all men in the village into his royal kraal to share with them his tough minded conservative outlook. The virtues Matlebjane II admired were all related to discipline and self discipline. He believed in people respecting authority and traditions. He believed in every person being true to his responsibilities – not running away from them. Above all Matlebjane II believed in the sober seriousness that marks a real man. As for women Matlebjane II never thought much of them or about them. One gets the clear impression that there was no kidding around with Matlebjane II. He disliked disorder and wealth, which is having excess. He had vast powers over his people even the power of putting someone to death. But in most cases he never even once did that as he was constrained by custom and his believe of the sacredness of human life. Matlebjane's excellent leadership proved so successful that his story amongst the consciousness and hearts of Batau endured more 500 years even to our times – today. The moral of the story about Matlebjane II's leadership is that serious things should not be taken lightly. Being a man means you are sober and serious when you make tough decisions, not shy away from your responsibilities. But like all other mortals Matlebjane II finally died. But he died a violent death in his old age. The Death of Matlebjane II the great King of Batau happened as follows: 3|Page

Matlebjane II had five sons. The first son was Seloane, second Mogashoa, third Phaahla, fourth Masemola and lastly Photo. Seloane, Mogashoa, Phaahla and Masemola, got worried that the king’s gifts (dibego) were continuously being taken to the younger king's wife (the mother to Photo). They then all agreed to murder the king, but were worried about what people will say. So they conceived a plan, since Photo was still a teenager, they somehow convinced him that all of them including him Photo should kill the king at night with their spears. But there was a plan Seloane, Mogashoa, Phaahla and Masemola cooked which Photo was not privy to (continue reading to discover this plan). During that night all the brothers got into the king's resting place and all with their spears stabbed the king and the king died. During the morning Photo discovered that he has been fooled by his brothers. During the stabbing last night Photo discovered that his brother's spears were turned deliberately at the sharp tip and he had killed the king alone. So only his spear had blood while his brother's spears did not have blood as the spears were deliberately blunted. Photo's brothers then cried aloud hysterically with painful voices, that Photo has killed their father. From then on Photo was despised and rejected by the people for having killed his father. The killing of Matlebjane II by his sons is the reason we have these idioms today: Matlebjane o bolaile ke tswala. Ka hlagolela leokane la re go gola la ntlhaba? The Batau lived at the Mokwena River for a period spanning 200 years. This was a time of relative peace and stability. Some people believe that their ruins and remains are still visible there in Mokwena (Crocodile) River.

The Fall of Batau After the death of Matlebjane II around 1450 AD, there was a contest for the throne by the king's sons, each claiming the right of rule. This contest and commotion was fierce and divided the people until it was clear to everybody that the days of Batau as a united people, united by one king are numbered. So from then onwards the seamless rope of Batau was wrecked. From then on men stood divided after the king's sons. Notable within the king's sons was Masemola. Masemola was indeed a bloody ruthless man. He wanted a war in every turn within the slightest of provocations for his own glory and personal interests. He was ill discipline and determined to succeed on everything for his own personal glory. He dragged, pulled, punched, kicked and pushed people around at random and as he wished. He was an outstanding wild man. His unruly behavior further dealt a terrible blow to the unity of Batau.

On the other hand you have the colorful Mogashoa, the other son. Mogashoa just enjoyed eating more than anything else. He had built himself a place he could vomit on. He will eat and 4|Page

drink and when his stomach is very full that he cannot continue eating, he will go to this place to vomit to make room in his stomach so that he can go back to eat and drink another meal again and again. It is hard to imagine how a person can enjoy eating and drinking like Mogashoa. So you can see here by the conduct of Masemola and Mogashoa that the virtues of Matlejane II were declining. Honor and modesty – all laws, human and divine, were disregarded in a spirit of recklessness, intemperance and self congratulations. The division and the conflict led Batau eventually living Mokwena River as a divided people each amongst the king's sons Seloane, Mogashoa, Phaahla and Masemola. Photo did not have followers; he was dispersed by people because he killed his father. Moving northeastward and finally settled around a river called Lepelle. Seloane being the first born son caused and commotion and eruption and wanted to rule the people, but Mogashoa, Phaahla, Masemola – his brothers and their followers rejected this citing that her mother comes from Batswako tribe. This friction and commotion got worse until it erupted into a bloody civil war. Powerful sons of King Matlebjane II Seloane, Mogashoa, Phaahla and Masemola and their private armies fought for the control of Batau but no one stood victories, and it was clear that each son should established his own kingdom for peace's sake. So Seloane, Phaahla, Masemola and Mogashoa each became absolute masters in their own right. And from then on Batau were never to be organized under one king. This resulted in them being ruled and controlled by Bapedi. Even today they are referred to as Bapedi. They have been swallowed up. But let us return to the political issues that let to this diminishing of Batau. Because of the politics and friction amongst King Matlebjane's sons after his death, Seloane, (the first son) fled with his followers, crossing Ngwaritsi River moving northwestward he settled with the Lekala tribe in now what is presently called Malatane around the year 1510 AD. Seloane took a wife from the Lekala tribe. It is not known how it happened that Seloane became Chief of Lekala tribe. What is known is that chieftainship of Lekala tribe was taken over by him. I asked several old people at Malatane and looking at all the answers I got from them were unconvincing, all just amounted to speculations. But here is my observation: Remember Seloane was the first born, (right?). Then that means he will have a lot of following compared to Mogashoa, Phaahla and Masemola. (right?). Then it will mean when he flee to associate with Lekala he came with many followers (right?). Then I come to this logical conclusion: with this large following and the fact that he comes from a royal family, the temptation was so great to overpower Lekala and made himself chief. But that is just a guess. And perhaps my guess is as good as yours.


The Origin, The History and The Genesis of Batau  
The Origin, The History and The Genesis of Batau  

Learn about the origin and genesis – the history of Ga-Masemola village, ga Phaahla village, Malatane, Byldrift, Marishane village, Ga-Mogas...