Dikgafela Stage 1 Stage2

© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

In the local kgotlas the married men from each household group gather in their usual meeting place by the cattle kraal, sitting on their kgotla chairs.  They lead in the married women from their sub kgotlas who each carry a traditional basket filled with sorghum, on their heads. Every married person must take part or the sub kgotla is fined a cow. The women are all attired according to the strict dress code  for visiting the Chief’s Kgotla – a lightweight blanket around their shoulders and a head scarf. The men all wear jackets and hats. The women sit on the ground. As they assemble sub kgotla by sub kgotla, they sing Dikgafela songs to help bring the rain for the new ploughing season. One of the headmen’s men keeps a tally as they arrive in a notebook.

Dikgafela in the Bangwaketse area 1977-83

This is a harvest festival to give thanks for the last harvest and also to help bring the Rains for the new growing season. It is also used to collect a store of sorghum  that can be distributed to the needy in the  case of food shortages or famine.

It is not held every year, only following successful harvests. During 1977-83 it was only able to be held 3 times due to the failure of rains and the resultant shortage of sorghum.

In Kanye the tribal capital of the Bangwaketse tribe, it is organised as follows:

Early in the morning, before dawn, one of the Chief’s officials calls from the top of the hill announcing Dikgafela and “commanding” people to bring sorghum. He calls “Dikgafela, tseo a ditle” - Bring Dikgafela. This call is shouted from one local kgotla to another all round the village these calls to Dikgafela competing with the cocks crowing! This is the first stage of Dikgafela.

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