In terms of a banishment order dated 21 July 1953, Maphuti Molatela Seopa and her two children were banished in October 1953 from Matlala's Location, Pietersburg District, Northern Transvaal,[now Polokwane and Limpopo Province] to Tabaans Location (Louis Trichardt [Makhado], Sibasa District, [Tshivhase], Northern Transvaal, for being ‘actively engaged in furthering’ Makwena Matlala’s ‘cause and in fomenting unrest and dissension in the tribe.’
Maphuti Molatela Seopa was the first-born daughter of Chief Sekgwari Matlala and Makwena Matlala. She was married to Frans Kgetoane Seopa, the ntona (headman) of Phetole settlement, who was also the brother of Makwena Matlala. Her children who were banished with her were Boy Seopa, aged 18, and Anna Mokete Mamolatelo Seopa, aged 14.
The family were to spend 11 years in banishment. Initially, they were ‘all lumped together into a small rondavel which did not have a door or window”¦This rondavel served as a bedroom, dining room, kitchen and bathroom at the same time.’ During the first few months, grocery vouchers were provided for the family ‘to obtain grocery on a monthly basis’ from shopkeepers between 60-80 kilometres from their dwellings – ‘mainly lekoko (25kg tin) of maize meal.’ Then, this ‘arrangement was stopped without any explanation to the family.’
Helen Joseph, visited the Seopa family in 1962, and described Maphuti Seopa as a woman who ‘bore herself with grace and dignity.’ She noted that the Seopa boys had built two additional huts, and that the children attended the Mission primary school.
The Seopa family was released from banishment in 1964, although their banishment orders were only formally withdrawn on 9 February 1966.
Contribution by Professor S. Badat, on Banishment, Rhodes University, 2012.