Home to some 150,000 members living in some 29 villages, the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) is in many ways a typical South African community. However, RBN has the benefit of mineral resources and a strong vision for the future under the leadership of Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi.

RBN is located in the North West province of South Africa. The administrative capital, Phokeng is near the town of Rustenburg, around 150km from the major hub of Johannesburg.

RBN has a financial asset value of $4 billion. This includes a majority shareholding in a platinum mining and refining company, Royal Bafokeng Platinum, and in on- and off-shore investments in the financial services, telecoms, property, infrastructure and transport sectors. Through the income from the Trust, the Royal Bafokeng Administration implements development programmes to improve the living conditions of Bafokeng, employs around 400 people and invests in roads, utilities, schools, clinics and other public amenities in the last decade.

Maintaining independence

Since the 1800s, RBN has staved off repeated attempts to take away rights over its land and its resources. In addition to dealing with a discriminatory apartheid government, the Nation has had to hold its 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, industrial and commercial economy, and onward to a sustainable society. Our exposure to mining has brought substantial income to our community, but it has also led to environmental degradation of our land and fundamental changes to the structure of our community.

Sustainable and productive social change

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 blueprints for our future include Plan 35 (an evolution of Vision 2020) for the Nation’s overall economic and social development, and a Masterplan for the built environment which extends beyond RBN to the wider Bojanala district.

Holistic education reform is the bedrock underpinning all aspects of these long-term strategies.