Batlokwa - Ba Tlokwa- Batlokoa
Wild Cats in Sesotho, are one of the many Sotho-Tswana clans
who reside in Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa. They are also referred to
as Ba Tlokwa, Batlokwa and Batlokoa. The clan was scattered over a vast
area and are of historic significance to the Sotho-Tswana clans.
1960 - Barbara Tyrrell - Peter Jurgens
Recorded history of the Ba Tlokoa, is
centered around the Mfecane, Lifaqane or Difaqane, which occurred during
the early 19th century.
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Mfecane - Lifaqane - Difaqane
During the Mfecane, stories were
told of a Ba Tlokoa leader named Mantatisi "Mma-Ntatisi" and the horde
she led. It was said she was a terrifying one-eyed woman who suckled her
troops at her breast. Regent for her son Sikonyela, Mantatisi fought to
keep the Ba Tlokoa intact.
Following Hlubi attacks on her people,
Mantatisi marched west from Natal. Her mob of 50,000 people crossed the
Drakensberg mountains, into present day Lesotho, leaving a path of
destruction. They continued to the Orange River, which was in flood
stage. Unable to cross, they travelled north and again besieged the
Mantatisi drove Moshoeshoe from his
fortress near the Caledon River. He found safety at Thaba Bosiu. While
Moshoeshoe lead his people to this new home, Tlokoa cannibals among her
army ate many stragglers.
Because of Mantatisi's notoriety, all
Tswana-Sotho raiders became known as "boo-Mma-Ntatisi", or "Mantatee
Horde" by the English. Known also as the "Destroyer of Nations",
she was only stopped from entering the Cape colony by British forces
near Aliwal North. Eventually
Mantatisi settled her people on Marabeng Mountain.
Mantatese was succeeded by her son
Sikonyela. It is said that when he became chief,
Mantatese lived a lonely, drunken life.
Murder Murder Murder
Sikonyela pillaged for another
twenty years and in the process, accumulated large herds of stolen Zulu
cattle. Shaka had been murdered by
his two half brothers Dingane and Mhlangana. Dingane became King.
In 1837, under threat of war and without
a fight, Sekonyela succumbed to Piet Retief, by returning Dingane's
cattle to the voortrekkers. Retief took the cattle to Dingane, in
exchange for a promised land grant in Natal. Retief and his men entered
the kings kraal unarmed, where they were captured, taken up a hill and
The reverend J.C. Bryant reports the
tale of Motsholi, who had reached Sikonyela after fleeing from Zululand.
In his eagerness, Sikonyela chopped off Motsholi’s head so as to possess
the mans neck ring.
Basotho and Batlokwa Battle Axes - 19th
As the century drew to a close, a group
of Ba Tlokwa aligned themselves with the British. During the 1870's,
they were rewarded with land in Natal’s Vryheid district between Dundee
and Nquthu at Witsieshoek, as were the Kwena. In 1926 the Orange Free
State government placed the Tlokwa under the authority of the Kwena. In
1930 each group was given it's own regional authority.
Once settled, area specific beadwork
developed, unique to the location. Beaded fashion differed to that of
typical Basotho apparel. In relative isolation, Tlokwa preserved their
cultural fashions far longer than most Basotho clans.