cotla, kgotlaShow more singularcotla, kgotla, khothla, khotla, kotla, lekgotla, lekhothla; singular and pluralmakgotla; pluralkgotlas, kotlas, makgotlas, makhotla, makhotlas.
usually makgotla or kgotlas.
Sotho, TswanaShow more Sotho and Tswana kgotla, lekgotla courtyard, place of assembly, council chamber or enclosure (plural makgotla). For an explanation of singular and plural forms, see le- and ma-prefix2
I. In the context of traditional (rural) Sotho and Tswana society:
1.A meeting place, especially an enclosure in a village used for villagers’ assemblies, court cases, and meetings of the village’s leaders.Cf. inkundla sense 2.
1840B. ShawMemorials 303Morokos Kotla had no attractions yesterday; we went and sat down in it, but we could not bear to remain.
1846H.H. MethuenLife in Wilderness 253We..reached the cotla, or place of assembly, set apart in all native tribes for the purpose of holding public meetings.
1857D. LivingstoneMissionary Trav. 15Near the centre of each circle of huts there is a spot called a ‘kotla’, with a fireplace; here they work, eat, or sit and gossip over the news of the day.
1871J. MackenzieTen Yrs N. of Orange Riverp.xxiiThe proceedings at which Mackenzie made his speech were not in church but in the khotla, or public courtyard.
1878P. GillmoreGreat Thirst Land 305At eight we breakfasted, and at nine went down to the kotla to visit the young King.
1895J. WiddicombeIn Lesuto 55All trials are held in public in the open Khothla, to which every full-grown man has access.
1923G.H. NichollsBayete! 98The Queen..began to enter the Lekhothla. The chiefs stared aghast at this breach of their customs...Were women to take part in their pitsos?
1930S.T. PlaatjeMhudi (1975) 95Unlike the rest of the crowd massed in the khotla, these three apparently had not not come from their homes.
1951H. DaviesGreat S. Afr. Christians 107Khama called the tribe together, told them that he disliked but would not prohibit heathen ceremonies, but they must not be performed in the kgotla or public courtyard.
1968A. FultonDark Side of Mercy 27The Chief had summoned the men of the clan to the Khotla and opened the pitso by telling those assembled that the season had been poor, the crops bad, the cattle infertile.
1984Sunday Times 1 Apr. 21The white Lady Khama, other members of the famous Khama family and chiefs met in an immensely moving, impressive ceremony in the enclosure of the dusty Kgotla — chief’s meeting place — beneath the towering rocks of the holy hill and royal graveyard in the traditional, picturesque village of Serowe.
1990City Press 17 June 17The next day, villagers assembled at the Kgotla to ask Lotlangtirang about the money.
1934Cape Argus 29 Jan. (Swart)A native who feels himself wrongly punished by a kgotla — a native court such as that recently was the origin of the Tshekedi trouble — may appeal.
1961M.A. WallDominee & Dom-Pas 22When the Dinokana men came from the Rand in two chartered buses the following Saturday (13th April), they held an illegal kgotla in the absence of the deposed Chief, where they ‘tried’ the ‘rebels’ who had denounced the Chief’s domestic misgovernment, and condemned them to death.
1974Sunday Express 30 June 20The accused is not allowed a defence when he appears before the makgotla, a tribal bush court.
1974Sunday Times 27 Oct. (Mag. Sect.) 2An indication of local concern with crime has been the re-emergence of the traditional legkotla, or tribal court.
c1976H. FlatherThaba Rau 215Meriama’s father Mashale had just finished presiding over the kgotla or tribal court.
1982Pace Apr. 35Speaking to villagers at Bapong, Pace discovered the strongroom has come to be accepted as the village jail, especially reserved for people who needed ‘softening’ up before they appear before the kgotla.
1958A. SampsonTreason Cage 46There was a slow and heavy ritual of formality, in keeping with the traditions of kgotlas, or tribal debates.
1970P. Becker inSABC Bulletin 23 Feb. 25But the kgotla serves another significant purpose: It gives all Bantu, even the very humblest among them, the right to bring their grievances to the notice of their superiors.
1978Daily Dispatch 24 Oct. 6Following the spate of lightning incidents, the villagers asked for a kgotla (meeting) to be held and summoned 30 traditional witchdoctors to cast their bones and find out who was responsible for the lightning.
1991Weekend Argus 26 Jan. 8Some of the crowd that attended the ‘Battle of the Okavango’ kgotla (village gathering).
1957A.A. MurrayBlanket 26Phiri turned to Lepotane. ‘Come into the khotla hut,’ he said.
1961M.A. WallDominee & Dom-Pas 21A complaint made against him years before, in 1952, by members of his own kgotla, was revived by the Native Affairs Department in 1956.
1974Drum 8 Apr. 10‘After this incident, we were not allowed to keep cattle on our land,’ says Mr. Simon Makodi, who is a khotla delegate.
1977Weekend World 13 Mar. B1The lekgotla is responsible to the Lebowa Government for the control of unauthorised influx of people into its area and for the prevention and detection of crime.
1981Sunday Times 14 June 3In an interview with the chief and Kgotla councillors at Saulspoort, one disillusioned councillor maintained that Sun City brought no advantages.
1987M. Holmes inLeadershipVol.6No.4, 49The inter-racial marriage was an event beyond the ken of the conservative tribal council, the kgotla. Yet by June 1949, most members of the kgotla had accepted it. Many in ‘enlightened’ Britain frowned on it.
1988E. MphahleleRenewal Time 168Madam and those who think like her also wanted my people who have been to school to choose those who must speak for them in the — I think she said it looks like a kgotla at home who rule the villages.
1974Drum 22 Aug. 7We formed the first lekgotla here in Naledi during December last year. There are now 20 makgotla in Soweto, each with its executive committee. More are being formed weekly.
1977P.C. VenterSoweto 156The measure dates back to the early forties, when strong-armed men ruled in the squatter camps and shanty towns; bloody floggings were inflicted, and the makgotla courts saw to it that the punishment fitted the crime.
1984Frontline Feb. 13The Ward Four lekgotla, started in 1977 after a local woman was assaulted by a man who although turned in to the police was released and not prosecuted.
b.A group or gang of vigilantes, often composed of members of a people’s court, which patrols a township, ostensibly to maintain law and order; a member of such a group or gang. Also attributive.
1976Scotsman inJ. SikakaneWindow on Soweto (1977) 30The Justice Minister..is considering giving legal status to tribal vigilante groups in the townships...These groups, known as makgotla, have operated unofficially in Soweto for several years. They work by tribal law and occasionally administer public floggings.
1982Reader Dec. 6A makgotla beats a young man in Soweto.
1982Reader Dec. 7The makgotla group is also trying to fight crime. But the way they fight crime makes some people worried. People say makgotla go in groups and carry dangerous weapons.
1983Argus 29 Dec. 13A newly elected Soweto councillor..has called for a halt to the makgotla (vigilante) activities in the townships.
1990R. MalanMy Traitor’s Heart 65Mrs Ramathlape claimed that the men behind the kidnapping were makgotla — members of a tribal vigilante movement that had recently been dispensing rough justice in the townships.
1982G. Mvubelo inFrontline Nov. 21The importance of death is shown by the Makhotlas, or Burial Societies. These, the real, traditional, makhotla, have nothing to do with the vigilante groups you see of in the newspapers. The real makhotla are supported by everyone...When death occurs among one of the members, they bury the deceased with all expenses arranged and paid.
A meeting place, especially an enclosure in a village used for villagers’ assemblies, court cases, and meetings of the village’s leaders.
A court of law composed usually of important people from a village or area.
An assembly of the people of a village or area, usually for the discussion of some important matter.
A council, usually one comprising a chief and the elders of his people and ruling over the people.
people’s court3. Also attributive.
A group or gang of vigilantes, often composed of members of a people’s court, which patrols a township, ostensibly to maintain law and order; a member of such a group or gang. Also attributive.
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