In celebration of heritage month, Kgoshi Letsiri Phaahla, from Ga Phaahla area narrates the history of unknown tree, believed to be planted by the late 1st chief Makadikwe Phaahla in around 1610.
According to Letsiri, the late chief Makadikwe Phaahla had an abnormal protruding belly and he was terrorised and tormented by his community at Madibong village back in the days until he got angry and secretly decided to leave his tribe, headed north to seek assistance from any community he could come across.
Letsiri said the late Makadikwe wanted to be assisted to wipe all Phaahla men because they were unfairly terrorised him.
“The late Makadikwe walked for months without meeting any community until he crossed Limpopo River in Zimbabwe where he met Karanga tribe. On his arrival, Makadikwe explained his situation to Karanga tribe.
“He promised Karanga tribe livestocks owned by Phaahla tribe only if they could assist him in Killing men who tormented and terrorised him for years. They agreed to assist him and gave him a stick of unknown tree to plant at his area on his arrival.
“They also gave him specific orders on how he could communicate with that tree and for all his desire using two mutis which only known by successive chiefs of Ga Phaahla only.
“During his arrival, he planted the tree, which is the only tree of its own kind in the country. He later, after the emerging of the first leaves, using the muti as directed, asked it to make all men to feel tired and useless so that they could be easy prey to Karanga men. It happened that way and ordered all men to assemble in a donga, where the Karanga tribe killed them all,” Kgoshi Letsiri narrated.
Letsiri said the late Makadikwe, went back and installed himself and became powerful as whatever he asked the tree to perform materialised.
“The tree has supernatural powers and anything that sleeps on it or under it won’t see next day and die during the night. Literally any species or human being sleeps on the tree dies. If person can collect its firewood, or inhale the smoke of it, the person also dies instantly,” said Letsiri
“If one can collect live branch from it, they must cut all the nails and hair and ask Kgoshi Phaahla to sacrifices those nails and hair at the tree trunk. If not, the entire household where the branch entered shall be wiped out and die all of them,” he adds.
“Every September, the current chief of Phaahla tribe visits the tree to beg for peace among Phaahla communities,”
Letsiri said even himself still doing that, saying if not, endless chaos and turmoil becomes the order of the day within all communities under Phaahla.
He said it has become a norm for Phaahla chiefs to visit the tree and plea for peace.
“And all to quell any chaos chief must visit and plead with it if he missed the September date, and order returns instantly.
“it is called unknown tree it has no family tree to be associated with but lately we traced its origin while searching for the history of Phaahla,” he said
Chief Letsiri previously wrote a book titled “Fologa o di gape Mohlwantsweng” which is in line of unknown tree.
“The origin and habitat of the tree is around Victoria Fort in Zimbabwe and the Shona speaking calls it Musosoriondo.
But we still engage Botany department of University of the Limpopo (North) to assist in truly identifying the tree to known its family and Latin name, not to mention its properties and characteristics,” concludes narrating.
Chief Letsiri deems is very crucial for the Sekhukhune community and the entire world to know about the tree.