The discovery, in the early 20th century, of rich platinum reserves on Royal Bafokeng land and the investment of royalties received from platinum mining have not only ensured the economic security of the community into the post-platinum future, but offers an opportunity for the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) to expand even further on Kgosi Lebone Molotlegi’s vision. In 2009 the RBN, through its Research & Knowledge Management Department, commissioned Totem to conduct research into all aspects of Bafokeng history and cultural development in preparation for hosting the 2010 World Cup in Phokeng. The Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng was the only community-owned stadium to host the FIFA World Cup.

Two of the outcomes of this process were a film, Playing the Game the Bafokeng Way, and a book, Mining the Future, that provided the content for the Bafokeng’s strategic media partnerships during the FIFA World Cup. These have also been used to engage the community in a conversation around Bafokeng identity. The third was a detailed concept document proposing the establishment of the Bafokeng People’s Centre, an exhibition of RBN history, culture and current plans and developments.

Totem’s documentary film Playing the Game the Bafokeng Way explores how this extraordinary situation came to be. The ten minute version is attached above. 

Mining the Future — The Bafokeng Story

“You might ask, ‘What exactly can a Bafokeng model offer communities that do not have access to the same kind of wealth?’ We do recognise that we are not like anyone else. We have unusual resources. But the model we offer others is not just about money. It is about the way we have committed ourselves to a long view of the future. It is also about the way we deliberately embrace tradition as a medium for managing conflict and change. Some say we are lucky. But it is what we do with our luck that counts.”


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