Tunatazama - Community Monitors

The Rasta’s Struggle against the Mines

Rastafarian movement in Chaneng

Colleen Raphata (Chaneng))

The movement started in 1985, was formed by Rasta Buti who was from Moletsane in Soweto.  He grouped young men in Chaneng to form the movement this was a way to stop the Bophuthatswana government. So he grouped up Rasta Mmope (chairperson), Lucas (vice chairperson), Steve (secretary) and many more. Their main aim was to be able to attend Lekgotla because young men were not allowed to attend, so they started smoking marijuana so that they can be called in to Kgotla and then they will be able to tell the elders want they really want to do.

They say at that time the Kgotla was ruling the whole village of Chaneng and didn’t like it a bit, and on the other side the Bophuthatswana government wanted to take over and rule the Bafokeng nation that was under the ruling of chief Lebone at that time, president Lucas Mangope wanted the chief dead. But there was a man called Malebana Metsing who was aware of all this so he formed an opposition party called Triple P.

The government realized that the Rastafarians were part of this party, called the police to stop this movement. They started hunting  the chairperson (Rasta Mmope) of the movement, while being hunted the other members of the movement protected him by giving away the wrong person for questioning (Rasta Lucas), he was questioned but the police couldn’t use any of the information because the man with the information was Rasta Mmope.

There was also Rasta Rasmahizel Ntan who told Rasta’s in Chaneng to go to Kgotla to find a piece of land to plant their herbs and that will restrict the mines to take that land, he believed that the mines had booms that they use underground that will kill them. So all Rasta’s and youth around Chaneng went to Kgotla to tell them they didn’t support the mining idea and ask for the piece of land, Kgotla took the issue to chief Lebone, and he took the matter to the parliament in Mafikeng and didn’t go well. President Mangope saw Rasta Rasmahizel as a troublemaker, tipped the police to get him killed so he ran to Botswana for his own safety.

And police were sent to come and beat up all the Rastas. All Rasta’s were part of a group called Dynamos, where by they all came together to talk, pray, they were found while together and were taken to Mogwase police station and were beaten up by policemen. Te man that the most wanted was Rasta Bathusi Molelekeng, they wanted him dead so he got seriously beaten up and died in later years. The triple P was ran by old men called Mokeriman and Mokgobe, they believed in the Rasta movement. The triple P was formed in Garona in Mafikeng by some people in the Bafokeng nation who were part of parliament, because people believe that Rastas are dirty, rapist and crazy bunch of people, but they saw revolution, future of tomorrow of young men in Chaneng.

“Rasta Mmope- ill never forget captain Tlhakane, he was the man who wanted to kill Bathusi and always took us to the police station”

Chaneng still has few Rastas but them not active and strong as those in the past years, but them still praying for revolution. They believe if you pray in the mountains your prayers will come true and that the war in Chaneng will end one day. “JAH RASTAFARI”

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