Kenneth Mopeli

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Tsiame Kenneth Mopeli (born 20 September 1930) was the former Chief Minister of the South African bantustan of QwaQwa.

Born in Namahadi, Mopeli gained a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) at the University of South Africa in 1954 and worked as a teacher and radio announcer for the South African Broadcasting Corporation before being nominated for membership of the QwaQwa Territorial Authority.

Dr TK Mopeli built 350 schools in Qwa Qwa, 3 teachers' colleges. The colleges were' Tshiya College of education ', 'Monnafeela College of Education' which is now called 'Bonamelo College of Education', and ' Lere la Tshepe College of Education'. He also had the University of Qwa Qwa built which is now called the University of Free State, Qwa Qwa campus. Sentinel Primary School which is the first English Medium school in QwaQwa was one of the schools that were built.

The soccer stadium ' Charles Mopeli Stadium' and the 'Setsing Shopping Complex' were also developed by him. The beautiful Golden Gates route was also constructed under his leadership. The district hospital 'Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli Hospital' was built and opened during his time in office. He led to the opening of 'Thiboloha' a school for the deaf and dumb which serves and served communities even beyond QwaQwa. These are amongst a few of the efforts at uplifting Qwa Qwa that he made during his tenure,

Mopeli founded and led the Dikwankwetla Party to victory at the 19 May 1975 QwaQwa elections and subsequently become Chief Minister of QwaQwa. He spent much of his time as Chief Minister confronting the South African government over various issues, most significantly over demands for more territory to be annexed to QwaQwa, and could boast of South Africa acquiescing to his demands, with some adjoining land (albeit small) added to the bantustan.

Described as "rotund, avuncular and unbending" by one observer, Mopeli ruled QwaQwa until 26 April 1994 when the bantustan was reintegrated into South Africa.

Dr Mopeli died at the age of 84 on the 1st of October, 2014, at Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli Hospital after a long struggle with cancer. He will forever be remembered by the people of QwaQwa.


  • Family Histories and ‘Household’ Livelihoods: Qwaqwa, 1970s to 1990s, C. Murray [1]