Solomon David Lion’s father, Edward Lion, was expelled from Basutoland to the Union after his religious sect was banned. The Sechaba-sa-Batung community settled in the Hammanskraal, Pretoria District, Transvaal [now Gauteng] area in 1941 and Solomon and others purchased a portion of the farm Klipgat for communal farming. Solomon allegedly involved himself in corruption, disregarded co-purchasers wishes, committed crimes and was feared by the community. He was banished to Mount Fletcher, Eastern Province [now Eastern Cape] on 9 February 1953.

On 15 July 1953, Lion’s recognition as head of the Sechaba-sa-Batung community was withdrawn “as he [was] no longer considered to be a fit and proper person to be the head.” These orders again banished Lion to Thokoane Location, Mount Fletcher.

It was reported that upon arrival at Thokoane Location he quickly gathered a following, which caused “a good deal of concern to the authorities.”  His prestige grew and “being a Mosotho amongst Sotho speaking people, [he] [had] free rein to exercise his powers over them in their mother tongue.”

It was alleged that he kept continuous contact with his Hammanskraal followers since “motor vehicles [were] constantly passing between the Transvaal and his kraal in the district of Mount Fletcher.”  His continued presence, it was argued, was “likely to cause unrest and possibly disturbances in a community which[had] all along been loyal and law-abiding.”  His banishment was  proposed  to an area where he did not speak the same language as the locals and where he could be kept under close surveillance. He was banished on 26 May 1958 to Ingwavuma, [Natal, now KwaZulu-Natal]. 

At some point, he made his way to Lesotho and became a Lesotho resident.  Due to this fact, his order was withdrawn on 15 August 1973.


• Contribution by Professor S. Badat, Rhodes University, 2012. From the book, Forgotten People - Political Banishment under Apartheid by Professor S. Badat

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