The month of October marks 140 years since an anti-colonial revolutionary Kgosi Galeshewe was sentenced to 12-years imprisonment.
He served his time on Robben Island for leading a rebellion against the British invasion.
Galeshewe, who was a chief of the Batlhaping people, orchestrated rebellions against the Cape Colony government.
He died in 1927, but his name is immortalised and through the naming of the Galeshewe Township in Kimberley.
Historians describe Kgosi Galeshewe as one of the very important political figures in the history of South Africa.
Galeshewe was born in 1835 near Taung and grew up to be one of the heroic first freedom fighters, but ended up incarcerated on Robben Island. This was after he led a rebellion against the British colonialists in 1878.
The unrest started, after settlers moved into the interior during the diamond rush, and came into a direct conflict with the indigenous people living there.
This is what led Galeshewe to stand up and fight for his people’s land.
“Kgosi Galeshewe and his people or his followers took a stand, and hence one could see with the imprisonments or prison sentences that he received. The first sentence he was sentenced to 12 years fighting for the land, and then the second one was the Langeberg war that took place in Oliphantshoek where he was sentenced to 12 years. We cannot ignore Galeshewe’s history,” say Historian Macgreggor Museum, Sephai Mngqolo.
As part of honouring Kgosi Galeshewe a Galeshewe Memorial Project was founded in 2015.
“The project was formed to commemorate the liberation struggle in Galeshewe. To commemorate such people as Kgosi Galeshewe, as we know that Kimberley the township is named after Kgosi Galeshewe, to commemorate such people to keep their memories alive,” says Galeshewe Memorial Project’s Joe Kers.
The Sol Plaatje Municipality says a lot has been done to honour Kgosi Galeshewe, including the unveiling of his statue in Olifantshoek.
“We are also happy. We are pleased that the national defence force has actually honoured him again through the renaming of Vaal river anti-aircraft regiment after him, and it’s now going to be called Kgosi Galeshewe anti-aircraft regiment. It is really pleasing and we are quite excited,” says Sol Plaatje Municipality Spokesperson, Sello Matsie.
The Galeshewe Memorial Project managers have highlighted that they are facing challenges in continuing with the vision of the project, due to lack of funding.
Kgosi Galeshewe will be among heroes and heroines to be honoured on National Remembrance Day in November.
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