Chief Mogale

The young heir to the Po chiefdom of the Batswana gave his name to Mogale City, once the seat of his kingdom.

CHIEF Mogale is believed to have ruled over a kingdom of miners and traders of gold, who had an influence in far-reaching markets. Their cross-border trade was said to extend as far north as Egypt, on the Mediterranean tip of the continent.

Chief Mogale wa Mogale gave his name to the municipality
Chief Mogale wa Mogale gave his name to the municipality
Po tribal land covered a large, rich area, from the Magaliesberg in the west to Northcliff Ridge in the east; from the Vaal River in the southwest to Hartbeespoort Dam in the northwest.

But towards the end of the 1820s, the stability the tribe - one of the first in the region - had known was disrupted by the invasion of Mzilikazi ka Mashobane. A general under the Zulu king Shaka, Mzilikazi and a group of his followers had fled across the Drakensberg and into the Highveld, where they set about establishing their own kingdom.

His warriors easily overwhelmed the Po, killed their chief and took the young heir, Mogale wa Mogale, captive. In time, Mogale – meaning “the brave one” in Setswana – would play a major role in the history of the area.

The Po had fled and hidden from Mzilikazi’s men, but a party ventured out of their hideout to rescue their young chief. They took Mogale wa Mogale to safety south of the Vaal River. But because he had driven out the original inhabitants, Mzilikazi was able to claim a sizeable kingdom for himself, with the Magaliesberg at its centre.

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It was short-lived; by 1830 the Voortrekkers, dissatisfied with life under British administration in the Cape Colony, began to migrate northwards, in search of their own land. It was Mzilikazi’s turn to be driven out of the area, this time by the Voortrekkers under the leader Paul Kruger, who named the area after himself.

With Mzilikazi gone, the original residents could return to their ancestral lands. But it was not a peaceful time for the Batswana ba Po. The land had been occupied and was being farmed by the Boers. The Po people, once the rulers, were relegated menial tasks such as digging irrigation furrows from the river that was also named after their young chief.

The earliest recorded use of Chief Mogale wa Mogale’s name for the district was in 1841, despite Chief Mogale not holding the power in the area.

Today, however, a true son of Africa has had his name rightfully honoured in Mogale City – the name of the municipality encompassing Krugersdorp, Azaadville, Munsieville, Kagiso, Tarlton, Hekpoort and surrounds, stretching into the beautiful, ancient Magaliesberg.

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Emergencies: 011 010 1500
Municipal number:
011 951 2000
Police: 10111
Call centre: 086 166 4253