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Former Homeland Politician, Lucas Mangope Is Dead

Former leader and President of Bophuthatswana, Kgosi Lucas Manyane Mangope died on January 18, at the age of 94. He is a controversial political figure that has a weight in South African politics for over four decades.


Lucas Mangope, a controversial figure

The news of Mangope’s death was received with mixed reactions as he was a controversial figure in the history of South Africa. He is seen as a hero by some and a villain by others.

His political supporters praise him for being a man of the people. United Christian Democratic Party leader, Sipho Mfundisi said “It is a great loss, he taught us a lot, he was a servant of the people. His work benefited the people including people in southern African region. We can see his work, he set standards that cannot be matched.”

However, he is known for being a pro-apartheid politician and the friend of white decision-makers. He was the President of Bophuthatswana -one of the self-governed homelands also known as Bantustans- from 1977 to 1994. He was appointed to this position by the apartheid government and ousted by South Africa’s anti-apartheid regime.


He insisted on the independence of Bophuthatswana but his rule came to an end in March 12, 1994. He was toppled few weeks prior to the first South African democratic election that brought Nelson Mandela to power. Mangope refused all negotiations with Mandela’s party, the African National Congress party (ANC). His refusal caused bloodshed and violence and it lead to the death of three AWB party members. According to the biography of former South African minister of foreign affairs, Pik Botha, Botha told him “You have lost control. You are not in control anymore. The time has come to ensure law and order.”

Mandela also wrote about Mangope in his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom” saying “I spoke to him (Mangope) on a number of occasions urging him to let his people decide, but he would not listen.”

According to Sunday Times, Mangope was also known for squandering state money on lavish mansions oversee. He is said to have bought a the Paris palace of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco, as well as a mansion in London’s Holland Park. His shopping sprees also including the acquisition of around 27 cars from BMWs to Buicks and a bulletproof Mercedes Benz.

Despite all the scandals surrounding him, Mangope stayed active in the political field and formed a right-wing party that he named the United Christian Democratic Party. His political ventures came to an end when during the 2014 elections his party did not win any seat in the parliament.


Written by How Africa

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