‘We want the bread, not the crumbs’: Challenging traditional authority in the platinum belt

  • Boitumelo Matlala University of Cape Town
Keywords: Traditional authority, Platinum belt, South Africa, traditional leaders, accountability


Members of the Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela traditional community have attempted to hold their traditional leader to account for decisions affecting the community. This article describes the interactions between some community members, traditional leaders, the state and courts, as members of the community have sought to challenge unilateral action by the traditional leader with regard to how community assets and revenue are managed and accounted for. The article examines the various actions groups and individuals have resorted to in an effort to confront traditional leadership and appeal to politicians, officials and the North West provincial government.

Author Biography

Boitumelo Matlala, University of Cape Town
Rural Women’s Action Research Programme at the Centre for Law and Society (CLS)
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