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Authority record

Ballinger family

  • Family
  • 1894-1980

Margaret Livingstone Ballinger (1894-1980) lecturer in history at Wits University, parliamentarian and wife of William George Ballinger (1894-1974) trade unionist and Senator.

Molema and Plaatje families

  • Family
  • 19th - 20th century

The Molema Family

Helena, the younger brother of Montshiwa, converted to Christianity in about 1840, which caused a rift between him and Montshiwa. Molema founded Mafikeng (Mafeking) in 1857, and Montshiwa settled at Sehuba. In 1882 Montshiwa's territory was threatened by the desire of the Transvaal Boers to expand westwards. He was attacked by the pro-Boer Tswanas chiefs Moshwete and Mntlaba, and eventually he had to take refuge in Mafeking. Molema gave him supremacy over the town on the condition that he would not interfere with the spread of Christian teachings.

Molema's sons, Joshua and Silas, feature prominently in the history of the Tshidi Rolong. Joshua, the elder son, acted as regent to John (Bakolopang) from 1915-1917. His papers cover the years of his chieftainship from 1896 until his death in August 1910.

Silas Thelensho Molema was born in Bechuanaland circa 1852-1855. He received his education at Healdtown, obtaining a teaching certificate in 1877. Thus, on his return to Mafeking in 1878 he established a school for the Rolong, probably the first in Bechuanaland. When the Royal Commission was out in 1881 at the end of the first South African War and marked out the western boundary of the Transvaal, Molema served as one of Montshiwa's counsellors, protecting against the encroachment of the new convention line. He was appointed private secretary to the Paramount Chief in1808. He served the British during the South African War, and commanded a Rolong detachment under Baden-Powell during the siege of Mafeking 1900-1901. He was a landowner and trader.

In 1901 he gave financial support to Solomon T Plaatje, whom he regarded as a son, to publish a Tswana newspaper, Koranta ea Becoana.

Molema supported the formation of the South African Native National Congress (later the African National Congress) and helped the delegations of 1914 and 1919 which went to Great Britain to got the Native Land Act (1913) repealed. Before his death in September 1927 he successfully led a deputation to General Hertzog in Cope Town, to protest against certain provisions of the Native Administration Act (1927).

Seetsele Modiri Molema was Silas Molema's oldest son. He was born in 1892 in Mafeking and received his education at Healdtown and Lovedale. He matriculated in 1912 and taught at the Lyndhurst Road Public School until his departure for Great Britain in March 1914. He studied medicine at Glasgow University, graduating in 1919. While in Scotland he wrote and published The Bantu, past and present (Edinburgh: Green, 1920). After graduating he continued his studies and worked for a time in Dublin and Glasgow, before returning to South Africa early in 1921.

On his return to Mafeking he opened up a surgery for the Indian and Coloured population. Subsequently he opened up a nursing home for all races but due to difficulties had to close down the home. He was an active member of the Rolong tribe, always supporting the Bechuanaland government, and served as a member of the Native Advisory Council. He also served as Treasurer-General of the African National Congress. S M Molema was also an active church member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

He married c1927 Anna Moshoela, the daughter of Rev M J Moshoela of Klerksdorp, one-time secretary and friend of Chief Montshiwa. His second wife Lucretia is still living in Mafeking. He died on August 13 1965.

His published works include Chief Moroka: his life, his times, his country and his people (Cape Town: Methodist Publishing House,1951) and Montshiwa 1815-1896: Barolong chief and patriot (Cape Town: Struik,1966).

Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje

Sol. T. Plaatje was born on the farm Doornfontein in the Boshof district on October 9 1876. He was educated at Pniel at the mission school established by the Berlin Missionary Society, from 1884 to 1890. In 1894 he worked as a postman in Kimberley, while studying for the Cape Civil Service Certificate. He moved to Mafeking where he became a court interpreter and magistrate's clerk, having at his command a knowledge of about ten languages. He rendered valuable service as an interpreter to the British during the South African War.

In 1901, backed financially by Chief Silas Molema, he begun editing the Koranta ea Becoana, the first Tswana-English weekly newspaper. In 1910 he moved to Kimberley where he edited the Tsala ea Becoana which changed its name to Tsala ea Batho in 1912. The newspaper ceased publication in 1915 because of Plaatje's presence in Britain.

Plaatje was not only an interpreter, journalist and an author but also a politician. When the South African Native National Congress was formed in 1912, Plaatje became General Corresponding Secretary. When the question of native land arose in 1913 Plaatje became a member of the delegation which went to Britain in 1914 to petition the British government. Despite the outbreak of World War I, which prevented the delegation from achieving its mission, Plaatje remained in England. During this time he wrote Native life in South Africa, before and since the European war and the Boer rebellion (London,1916), arguing the cause of the deputation and the land issue. Returning to Kimberley, he then established The Diamond Fields Men's Own Brotherhood, a body which propagated racial harmony. He returned to Europe in 1919 heading the African National Congress delegation, which attempted to get the Native Land Act discussed at the Peace Conference at Versailles. Subsequently he visited the United States and Canada in 1921.

Plaatje wrote extensively, contributing articles to English and Black newspapers, as well as producing literary works such as Mhudi: an epic of South African native life a hundred years ago (Lovedale,1930), as well as translating some of Shakespeare's works, The Comedy of Errors and Julius Caesar, into Tswana.

In 1898 he married Elizabeth Mbelle, the sister of I Bud Mbelle, an important court interpreter and one time general secretary of the African National Congress. They had four sons, St Leger, Richard, Halley and Johann Gutenberg, and two daughters, Olive and Violet. Plaatje died on June 19 1932, while on a visit to Johannesburg and was buried at Kimberley.

The Rolong (Tshidi branch)

The Rolong are a Tswana tribe. About 1775 a split occurred within the tribe resulting in four branches, the Ratlou, Tshidi, Seleka and Rapulana, the Tshidi forming the largest branch.

The Molema-Plaatje papers include the records of the Tshidi Rolong from the later years of Chief Montishwa's rule. Montshiwa became chief in 1849 on the death of his father Tawana. The tribe had traditionally settled at Lotlhakane but were constantly on the move because of threatened attacks. Mafeking was established as a settlement by his brother Molema, and Montshiwa finally joined him there after losing his land at Dithakong in a dispute with the Rapulana Rolong of Polfontein.

As a result of the threat of the Boers, the freebooters and the loss of their land when the Republics of Stellaland and Goshen were established, the Tahidi Rolong eagerly accepted John Mackenzie's offer to declare the territory a British protectorate. Thus in 1904 with the signing of the London Convention, Bechuanaland came under British protection. However the freebooters launched another attack on the Rolong at Mafeking, and the Transvaal broke the convention by annexing the Rolong territory. Subsequently the Warren expedition of 1885 ensured the Rolong of British protection.

In 1895 the territory came under the administration of the British South Africa Company. After the Jameson Raid which was launched from the Rolong's country, British Bechuanaland was annexed to the Cape. Montshiwa retained his headquarters at Mafeking although many Rolong living north of Ramathlabama Spruit came under the administration of the Bechuanaland Protectorate. Thus the country of the Rolong was divided.

Barolong chiefs (Tsidi branch)

Montshiwa 1849-1896

Wessels (Besele) 1896-1903

Badirile 1903-1911

Lekoko 1911-1915

Joshua 1915-1917

John (Bakolopang) 1917-1919

Lotlamoreng 1919-1954

Roux family

  • Family

Edward (Eddie) Roux was born 24.4.1903 in Johannesburg. He died on 2.3.1966. Eddie was a plant physiologist, chemist and political agitator. He was the eldest of 6 children born to Phillip R. Roux, a pharmacist and wife, Edith May Wilson.

Roux went to Jeppe High. He went onto Wits University where he obtained a B.S.c in botany and zoology in 1924. It was during 1929 that he obtained a Ph. D. at Cambridge. It was at this time that he became involved in communist activities. He began to organize Black workers in Durban, when Oswald Pirow, (Minister of Justice) banned him from the city.

In 1936 he resigned from the Communist Party. In 1946 he became senior lecturer in plant physiology at Wits. In 1957 he joined the Liberal Party, he was already chairman of the South African Rationalist Association. In 1962 he was promoted to Prof of botany.

In 1964 he was banned from entering or lecturing at any educational institution or publish any papers. His most important works are: "Rebel Pity", "Time longer than rope", "A history of the black man's struggle for freedom in S.A.", "Harvest & health in Africa", "The how & why of science". He also wrote numerous scientific papers.

Schoch family

  • Family

Herman Eugene Schoch (1862-1947)

Born on 10 September 1862 at Herisau, Switzerland. His parents were Wilhelm August Schoch (1834-1910) and Ida Schiess. His father was a clerk in an import-export firm in England and later set up his own business at Herisau, importing English cloth. A very religious man, he felt a call from God to go to Africa and set sail with his family on the s.s. Asia, arriving in Cape Town on 4 May 1868.

From 1868-1873 the Schoch family lived at Wellington in the Cape, farming, but religious feelings compelled them to move again and after a journey lasting from 17 October 1873 to 9 March 1874 they settled at the farm Boschdal in Rustenburg. Life was very spartan and Herman was taught at home by his father and aunt. In November 1878 Herman left the Transvaal to be apprenticed to Mr. Schunke, Land Surveyor in the Cape and from 1878-1883 worked in this capacity. His formal education took place at Neuchatel Gymnasium in Switzerland and Edinburgh University from 1884-1887. In 1888 he attended surveying clauses at St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown, coming first in his examinations for Cape Colony.

From 1892-1899 he worked as a Surveyor in the Transvaal in partnership with George Greathead. In 1895 he went out with the Rustenburg commando to intercept Jameson's column and in 1899 was called up for service with the Boer forces. He served with the Rustenburg commando which besieged Mafeking 1899-1900 but when Mafeking was relieved he handed in his weapons and swore allegiance to the British crown. In 1900 he worked in a temporary capacity in the mapping section of the Surveyor General's Office in Pretoria. In 1908 he became a member of the Institute of Land Surveyors of the Transvaal and in 1912 gained the Mine Surveyor's Certificate of competency. His career advanced steadily and he ended as Surveyor General of the Transvaal, retiring in 1922 at the age of 60. He was a member of the Angola South West Africa Boundary Commission of 1920 which delimited the boundary between the two countries. In 1923 he worked in a temporary capacity helping to survey what is now the Kruger National Park. He married Elizabeth du Plessis and had a son, Walter, and a daughter, Eileen. He died on 12th October 1947.

Struben Family

  • Family
  • 1800s-1900s

The Struben Brothers, Hendrik William Struben (Harry), 1840-1915, and Frederick Pine Theophilus (Fred), 1851-1931, claimed to be the original discoverers of the Witwatersrand gold-fields