Moruleng Cultural Precinct

Kgosi Nyalala Pilane, leader of the BBKTA
The Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela community launched the Moruleng Cultural Precinct to advance technology in the area.

While the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela (BBK) community in Moruleng, a densely populated rural area in Pilanesberg, North West, may still be considered disadvantaged, it has over the last four years begun to take real strides towards development, which include the launch of the Moruleng Mall, Moruleng City and recently the Moruleng Cultural Precinct. This progress is being driven by a master plan developed by Kgosi Nyalala Pilane, who leads the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Traditional Authority (BBKTA) and whose vision it is to empower and uplift the BBK community.

Pilane has expressed the need for BBK to preserve and celebrate their heritage, job creation through the empowerment of local entrepreneurs, artists, crafters, community development and exploring the potential of the tourism sector as part of kgatleng’s economic development. To this end, the BBKTA together with Totem Media embarked on a scoping process to redevelop the Mphebatho Museum in Moruleng, South Africa, and the Phuthadikobo Museum in Mochudi, Botswana.

“Moruleng Cultural Precinct will integrate technology in a way that will not only help to preserve information but also one which allows visitors to become part of the critical conversations about the ways in which memory, identity and knowledge change”, explains Pilane.

The entire project was rolled out with two phases. Phase One of the project was completed in 2010 and included initial research and consultation, the early stages of planning of the physical environs and their integration with urban planning and all the associated budgetary requirements.  Development of the broad narrative content of the museums and cultural precincts was explored including early ideas on exhibition concepts, exhibition devices and interactive technology.

The Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela Traditional Administration now wish to proceed with Phase Two of the project, the implementation stage which focuses on the establishment of the Moruleng Cultural Precinct. Included in this stage is:

  • Development and establishment of the archive
  • Detailed development of the overall narrative
  • Complete detailed design of buildings and exhibitions
  • Construction, restoration or renovation of buildings
  • Exhibition build and installation
  • Installation of an iron age settlement pattern
  • A Lekgotla that can seat up to 200 people
  • Way finding and external information panels at selected places of interest
  • The development of a local artisans merchandising programme and museum shop policy document
  • Heritage workshops, archive and website training

The construction of the Precinct has been aligned with the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Dutch Reformed Church. The Church will also be conserved as a heritage building. The new development comprises of the Mphebatho Cultural Museum, a brand new digital archive and a library. This unprecedented traditional community project is set to become a hub for cultural activities and serve as a model for other Traditional communities.

The Moruleng Cultural Precinct will serve as a cultural centre not only for the 350 000 people residing in 32 BBK villages but for all South Africans and International tourists. The museum will be a source of inspiration for generations to come, concludes Pilane.

Bafihlile Mokoena

Kgosi Nyalala Pilane, leader of the BBKTA


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Issue 68