Mohlaletse – As part of gearing for 2021, the year of Bapedi Greatness, His Majesty King Thulare Victor Thulare III set the tone by declaring and decreeing yellow arum lily species that is endemic to Mohlake on the summit of Leolo Mountain as the Bapedi Ancestral flower. The renaming ceremony of the flower took place along the blessings of rain and courtesy visit by the royal houses of Baroka ba Mokgolobotho, Baroka ba Mantšana and Bakgaga ba Mothapo on Sunday 11 October 2020.  

In his address to the Bapedi nation and the visiting royal houses King Thulare III explained that Bapedi heritage had long been shunned because of those who feared its greatness. And that his rule as Bapedi King will be about restoring and dignifying Bogoši. The elated Bapedi King said the heritage resources such as the Bapedi history, language, minerals, trees and all manner of knowledge should be celebrated in their deserved acclaim.

“After years of being jammed by delays and disruptions the Bapedi ancestors are fed up and they want their machine to work again. And I am ‘the operator’ of this big machine that the Bapedi heritage is. We are starting this afternoon by declaring the genome of yellow arum lily that grows wild in Mohlake as the Bapedi Ancestral flower, and I decree the flower as such” said King Thulare III

King Thulare III further clarified that the flower is referred to as ancestral because in 1651 when Bapedi reached Mohlake valley, they found so much beauty, bounty and the solemn signifier of their fate – the porcupine quill. While yellow arum lilies are poisonous to other animals and humans, they are staple food for porcupines which explains the presence of porcupines in the Mohlake valley. And that to this day yellow arum lilies with botanical name ‘Zantedeschia jucunda’ are documented as exclusively endemic to Mohlake on the summit of Leolo Mountain.

His Majesty showcased the sample of the Bapedi Ancestral Flower to the audience including the visiting royal houses of Baroka ba Mokgolobotho represented by Mr Joseph Mokgolobotho, Baroka ba Mantšana represented by Kgoši Mantšana and Bakgaga ba Mothapo represented by Mohumagadi Moremadi Mothapo. He jested by saying the naming of the yellow arum lily into Bapedi Ancestral Flower is nothing new in Bapedi heritage, “Motho ge a bowa go laiwa o fiwa leina la bogolo (when a person completes initiation rites he or she is accorded a name to mark the phase of their life). King Thulare III said for 370 years Bapedi were loyal to their totem of Noko (porcupine) but neglected the flower that sustained their spirit animal.  

As part of signifying the official declaration of the Bapedi Ancestral Flower His Majesty King Thulare III officiated the planting of the Bapedi Ancestral Flower and he committed to plant the flower in all the royal houses that he is going to visit, including the return visit to the royal houses of Mokgolobotho, Mantšana and Mothapo. The Bapedi Ancestral Flower was planted in the royal rockery at the entrance of the royal headquarters in Tšate III Great Place on the King Sekhukhune Road.

“Henceforth I will make sure that in every royal visit the Bapedi Ancestral Flower is planted because the friendships we have other nations and communities stems from ancestral friendships engineered by great Kings of Bapedi that came before me. This legacy of building friendships will be strengthened by planting Bapedi Ancestral Flower so that the beauty that my ancestors encountered in Mohlake in 1651 could be sustained for eternity. We will support all efforts to restore and conserve the Bapedi Ancestral Flower in Mohlake valley to its former glory” concluded King Thulare III.

For more information on the Bapedi Ancestral Flower and the conservation effort contact Sekhukhune Development Agency 076 360 2091.         

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