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Royal Bafokeng Nation

A relevant and innovative traditional community in a changing world. The Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) is a traditionally governed community of 150 000 people living in 29 villages and owning 1200 km2 of land in the North West Province of South Africa, below which lies part of the world’s largest platinum reserves. Today the Royal Bafokeng Nation has a financial asset value of USD 4 billion. This includes a 13% shareholding in Impala Platinum, a majority shareholding in our own platinum mining and refining company, Royal Bafokeng Platinum, and shareholding in the financial services, telecoms, property and transport sectors.

All RBN resources are held in a Trust on behalf of the Nation as a whole and our investments are managed through a wholly owned investment company, Royal Bafokeng Holdings, possibly the most successful community-owned investment company in the world. This means that no individual has decision-making power in how our collective resources are used, as we follow all the institutional, legal and auditing requirements for trusts and corporate management. Finally, and most importantly, the Royal Bafokeng Administration, which implements the development programmes to improve the living conditions of Bafokeng, employs around 400 people and has spent over USD 700 million on roads, utilities, schools, clinics and other public amenities in the last decade.

Since the 1800s, the RBN has staved off repeated attempts by successive governments, including a black ‘puppet’ government of Bophuthatswana, to take away our rights over our land and its resources. In addition to dealing with a discriminatory Apartheid government, we have had to hold our ground in relation to some of the world's most powerful corporations. Even since the advent of democracy, the rights of local communities to truly own and control their land and its mineral resources has been challenged by some government policies.

The struggle to retain control over our land continues today alongside the challenge of transitioning from an agrarian to a mining society, and onward to a sustainable post-industrial society. Our exposure to mining has indeed brought substantial income to our community, but it has also led to environmental degradation of our land, high levels of labour migration into our area and fundamental changes to the structure of our community so much so that today one third of those living in the RBN are not Bafokeng. We recognise that change is inevitable and so seek to adapt and innovate our social practices, while not losing our core values or our collective identity.

We believe that the key to enabling sustainable and productive social change lies in long-term and evidence-based planning. Strategic blue-prints for our future include PLAN 35 for the Nation's overall economic and social development, and a Masterplan for the built environment which extends beyond the RBN to the wider Platinum Belt. Holistic education reform is the bedrock underpinning all aspects of these long-term strategies.

Our governance structures reflect both long-term continuity and adaptive innovation. They combine hereditary traditional leadership with elected village and regional representation and direct community consultation at many levels, all aimed at generating a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable rural community true to its African heritage and traditions.





Fast Facts

Capital:                                    Phokeng

Population:                              150 000

Area:                                       1200km2

Governance Structure:            Traditionally-governed, subject to laws and structures of South        

                                    African government

Languages:                             Setswana and English

Geography:                             Rolling bushveld plains broken by small hills

GPS:                                       -25.578 (S); 27.160 (E)

Industries:                               Mining and Agriculture

Climate:                                   Hot summers and cool winters

Altitude:                                   1300 m above sea level

Exports:                                   Base and precious metals


Royal Bafokeng Nation boasts the following institutions:

Royal Bafokeng Administration (RBA)

RBA is a fully-fledged administration that is housed at the Capital Region to oversee and offer community-based projects and programmes. It provides infrastructure and social services to the community.

Royal Bafokeng Institute (RBI)

The RBI was established in 2007 with the main task of raising the standard of education in the Bafokeng community. RBI services forty six (46) schools in the Bafokeng Region

Royal Bafokeng Sports (RBS)

The RBS is responsible for managing the development of young talent through the academy, sports in schools and Platinum Starts FC. Sporting codes that are prioritised by the RBS are athletics, soccer, rugby, basketball and karate.

Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH)

RBH is tasked with managing the Bafokeng investment portfolio. It invests RBN assets to create an income stream for the Nation.


The Totemic Tradition

The Bafokeng totem is the crocodile. The Bafokeng crocodile appears with its mouth closed, and the expression “a e wele metsing” (“let peace reign in the Bafokeng Nation”) is associated with the totem and the peaceful diplomatic nature of the Bafokeng.

The crocodile is also recognised for having withstood the test of time; for its strength and resilience during hardship; and for its reputation as a caring, nurturing parent.

RBN websites: 

Royal Bafokeng Nation
RBN Operations Room
The RBN Operations room website is a bespoke project and programme management and
performance monitoring system, enabling the administration to create, budget for, plan, track and
report on all projects and programmes through one easily accessible platform. Openly accessible
online, this management information is accessible to all stakeholders, creating transparency and
accountability towards Morafe (RBN citizens) and other partners.

Royal Bafokeng Holdings
Royal Bafokeng Holdings (Pty) Limited is responsible for the management and development of the
commercial assets of the RBN, with the overall business objective of maximising returns to enable
the RBN to deliver sustainable benefits to the community.

Royal Bafokeng Institute
The Royal Bafokeng Institute is the RBN institution responsible for the Nation’s highest priority,
namely the radical transformation of education from early childhood development through
schooling, vocational training and continuous professional development.

Bafokeng Digital Archive
The digital archive of Bafokeng history & heritage in text, pictures, audio and video

+27 (0) 14 566 1200


Section: About Us
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