This is the warrior King Matsebe Sekhukhune, king of the Marota (today known as the Bapedi nation)
King Sekhukhune formed the Marota people using military might and early forms of African consciousness to unite and build his kingdom. This kingdom was made out of the modern-day Bapedi, Basotho, Tswana,!Xam and San nations and he settled between the Vaal and Limpopo rivers.
He defended this kingdom from all foreign invaders (the whites). The Boers, Dutch and British wanted him to submit to them, yet he never gave in to their demands. Instead, he sent Marota men to work the mines and armed his nation with Portuguese guns and bought more livestock which made the Marota kingdom very strong and wealthy. In 1876, the Boers tried to take his land but they failed dismally.
He defeated the Boers again AND their hired mercenaries. He even defeated the British three times.
Eventually, attack after attack, the British, Boers AND the 10 000 Swati warriors they hired, defeated him and he was imprisoned. He was murdered by his half-brother in 1882.
After King Sekhukhune died, the Marota kingdom broke off into many different pieces. In December 1879, he made a prophecy that after him, no other chief will be able to stand up against Pretoria (the Whites). Let’s remember King Sekhukhune and his resistance to protect African land!
Illustrator: Dav Andrew