On Tuesday 13 September, The South African National Parks (SANParks) along with the Chief Tongogara’s descendants were pleased to officially unveil the Mount Tshikumbu to the public.

As what is described by the SANParks as “Mahala week” for travellers and tourists to come explore the Kruger National Park for free, members of the media and the families of chief’s tribe were invited to officially launch and perform traditional rituals known as “Mophaso” in Pedi next to the chief’s grave that is at the top of the mountain.

Mount Tshikumbu is situated In Kruger National Park via Phalaborwa gate. And one of the places where Chiefs Tongogara and his descendants lived and also practiced their traditional rituals.

Mount Tshikumbu officially unveiled
Mount Tshikumbu officially unveiled

Mount Tshikumbu unveiled

Chief Tongogara had seven who were named: Malesa, Nogara, Phure, Ramalepe, Ramuthwa, Tshumeni and Molewa.

In attendance, the family’s spokesperson Mr Samson Mokgalaka who plead that the government should give the land to the owners. “We know that this land belongs to the government, let them hand it over to the owners which are Bakgalaka so that when we come here indeed, we know we coming to our land”. Said Mr Mokgalaka.

One of the chief’s great-nieces’ knowns as kgadi (aunt) to the Bakgalaka Mme Motlatso Flora Mokgalaka demonstrated how the Chiefs and his people used to perform their traditional rituals.

Also, in attendance, Ms Helen Mmethi who’s the General Manager of Socio Economic Transformation. Mr Gerhard Kotze who represents Honorary Rangers Highveld. Mr Chris Patton who is also the manager for visitor services content and Mr Derick Mashale
regional ranger of Nxanatseni North.


According to the researchers and information gathered from his family. When Chief Tongogara passed away, his body was laid to rest on Mount Tshikumbu. As per the tradition, a sacred drum, called vane, was empowered by his daughter, Tshumeni, through the use of traditional customs and medicine (mut). This information is also written on the information board for travellers who visit the chief’s grace site and the mountain.

It is said that the traditional customs and medicine was the powers of the drum that would ward off any enemies and have the ability to summon rain, to help people reap crops in
dance and receive plentiful blessings.

Members of the family also thanked the SANParks for acknowledging their ancestors historical area. Also honouring the lives of the Chiefs and his descendants.

Innocent Matsemela – Limpopo Chronicle

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