OpenAfrica_Kaditshwene

Declared National Heritage site in September 2011

This large Iron Age settlement near Zeerust is historically considered to be the capital of the Bahurutse nation and the largest BaTswana settlement in Southern Africa.

Occupied between the 1600s and 1800s, the large number of preserved furnaces are evidence of a thriving metal working industry based on complex indigenous technologies of mining and smelting iron and copper. Trade in the resulting worked metal and successful farming generated substantial wealth for the Bahurutse.

The population of Kaditshwene was estimated to have been between 16 000 and 20 000 in the early 1800s, equal to, if not larger, than the population of Cape Town at the time. This large population is evident from both the extensive settlement remains and historical accounts by early missionaries in the area.

Sophisticated indigenous building techniques are also evident through the ruins of the stone walls and circular dwellings. These techniques appear similar to techniques still used today in nearby villages and indicate the ongoing transmission of the construction technique which underpins the historical achievements of the Bahurutse.