A lo­cal tra­di­tional leader in an area of Greater Tu­batse is rel­ish­ing the thought of hav­ing a com­mu­nity

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stand­ing up and de­mand­ing what was due to them.”

In what some would in­ter­pret as a sign of mod­esty, the kgoshi­gadi, who could eas­ily have called any of the big hit­ters to pri­ori­tise her needs, is in­stead wait­ing for all the com­mu­nity’s houses to be elec­tri­fied be­fore hav­ing her own of­fice con­nected. More than a month since the sem­i­nal elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the house­holds in her chief­dom be­gan (along with those on the other side of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Mako­taseng), her tra­di­tional affairs of­fices – a build­ing near her home – still stands in to­tal dark­ness. Sit­ting out­side her cream house on a swel­ter­ing Fri­day night, Dinkwenyane points to­wards the build­ing a few me­tres away.

In line with the ac­tions of the kgoshi­gadi, Le­bo­eng vil­lage’s head­man, Frans Mo­tu­batse – who cred­its elec­tri­fi­ca­tion in part for im­proved re­la­tions with govern­ment – says “knowl­edge is power”, adding that if ev­ery­one has ac­cess to it then the com­mu­nity, and so­ci­ety, ought to pros­per.

That res­onates with Jack­son Tjatji, chair­per­son of the SA Na­tional Civic Or­gan­i­sa­tion in Tu­batse. The forth­right leader, clad in an ANC T-shirt, in­sists knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion should be shared by all.

There is no rea­son to fear an in­formed pop­u­lace or cit­i­zenry, he says. Af­ter all, he asks half rhetor­i­cally, who ben­e­fits from keep­ing peo­ple in the dark?

He then rushes to liken the con­tin­ued lack of power in many ru­ral parts of Greater Tu­batse, Sekhukhuneland and be­yond to deny­ing peo­ple growth op­por­tu­ni­ties. Madiba would have agreed.

For Mo­tu­batse, it starts with school­child­ren, who will now be able to study at night and, in the process, learn more, which should in turn em­power so­ci­ety at large. His spe­cial ap­peal to his fel­low vil­lagers is that they need to use elec­tric­ity wisely and pro­tect pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture.

With re­gret, he notes how ca­ble thieves have made their mark even in the sleepy Le­bo­eng. To com­bat this, he urges con­stant vig­i­lance.

CAR­ING Kgoshi­gadi Dinkwenyane

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