African Cosmic Knowledge and Bacholoko

By Zulumathabo Zulu © 2017

I am sharing with you a radio interview that took place on Sunday June 28, 2017 on North West FM with the radio great Sir Max on his Sunday show. Our discussion centered on the African knowledge of the cosmos using the Basotho as a reference.


Sir Max of North West FM

Let me first give you some background.

In the book The Sacred Knowledge of the Desert: African Philosophical Transcendence in the segment The Genesis we describe the cosmology of the Basotho. An excerpt from the book reads thus:

“The Basotho, like other Africans, trace their genesis to the cosmos. They originate from Mokgubu wa Kganare (The Galactic Core). One of their most valued stars is Tosamasiu (Sirius) which is regarded as a ternary star system. They refer to the orbiting star of Tosamasiu known as Peo Ya Makgakga. Makgakga is not visible to the naked eye. Another star Mabeleha is not visible to a naked eye”.

The Basotho ancients relied on the Bacholoko for their knowledge of the cosmos. The Bacholoko are the doctoral practitioners with specialization in the knowledge of the cosmos. Let’s give you the real meaning of Mocholoko (Bacholoko being the plural form).

The word Mocholoko has two meanings namely (1) a doctoral student of medicine and (2) a doctoral practitioner of cosmology, the system of geomancy (a derivative of cosmology) and philosophy. Herein, we go by description two.

The Sesotho cannonical construct Cholo describes a system of knowledge or epistemological methods of knowing. When applied to a person, like Mocholoko, it describes the one who is pursuing or practicing the doctoral knowledge of medicine, cosmology, philosophy and various forms of logic.

The majority of the axioms, philosophical constructs, cosmic knowledge and numerical logic among the Basotho comes to us via the Bacholoko who lived long time ago. Today such cosmologists are pretty much extinct.

As you read these lines, you must count yourself privileged to be receiving the writings of the modern Mocholoko namely Zulumathabo Zulu wa Matamong wherein The Battle of Greenkop took place during the second Anglo-Boer of 1899-1902. The Afrikaners were commanded by Christiaan de Wet at Matamong and they dispossessed us of our ancestral land.

The Basotho doctoral practitioners (medicine men / medicine women) relied on the Bacholoko for specialized consultative knowledge in the domains of diagnostics, aetiology, cosmology, numerical logic and philosophical constructs.

Through their knowledge of the cosmos, the Bacholoko added metascientific and numerical dimension to the indigenous knowledge systems of the Basotho. I have already written about the Numerical Logic of the Basotho drawing from the doctoral knowledge of the Bacholoko.

It is also noteworthy that the concept of Cholo is also attributed to the great creator as in Tlhatlhamacholo. There are two parts in the name of the creator namely (1) Tlhatlha and (2) Macholo. Tlhatlha refers to a water plant that was used by the Basotho ancients as a religious garment and Macholo refers to the goddess of the knowledge of the cosmos or the goddess of transcendental knowledge. Cosmic knowledge is usually regarded as Lewa meaning strategic knowledge. There is a person who is very much feared among the Basotho known as Mocholocholo or Lecholocholo meaning the one with transcendental or superhuman knowledge. Bocholocholo is feared because it is the knowledge that transcends human knowledge. It is a mystery as to how the construct of Cholo came to be construed in this way.

I think I have done enough digressing. The purpose of this posting was to share with you the radio interview podcast and not really get into the litany of the taxonomical descriptions of knowledge systems of the Basotho. We can always do that another time.


The Sacred Knowledge of the Desert: African Philosophical Transcendence

To read more about Basotho cosmology and philosophy, get your copy of The Sacred Knowledge of the Desert: African Philosophical Transcendence as follows:

Madisebo University College Press
010 003 7769

You can also get the book at Rhema Church Bookshop on Hans Schoeman at Randburg.

Without further ado, here is the podcast:

7 thoughts on “African Cosmic Knowledge and Bacholoko

  1. Re leboha ho menahane ka sengolwa sena, mohlomphehi Zulumathabo. I must also mention that the word “tlhatlha” may also mean to educate someone, to guide, to groom or direct them. Lesedi!!!


    1. Dear Mpho,

      Diteboho diya ananelwa ka mona! Holeboha rona ha sengolwa sena sefinyellaka ka makgalo a fapaneng le hotshela dinoka; matsha le mawatle. Thokoza Makhosi!

      Jwale okenya ntlha ya hore “Tlhatlha” hape eka bolela horuta; hotataisa le hotsamaisa. Ketshisinyo entle eo. Ebe tshisinyo ena eitshetleha mabakeng afeng puwong ena entle ya Sesotho?

      Ke botsa tje ka baka la hore lentswe le sebediswang la Sesotho mabapi le horuta; hotataisa le ho tsamaisa ke lentswe la “Hohlahlela” jwale ka mehlala ena eka tlase:

      Ere ke mohlahlele.
      Banna! Reyahlahlelwa mona, ka borupulli bo boemong bo phahameng!

      Ebe tshisinyo ya hao etsamaelana le mehlala ena eka hodimo? Naba habatsi ka taba ena.



  2. Leseli le re atele rona bana ba Nkhaulise e mots’oana👏👏👏
    Thuto ke leseli ho ea ratang.
    Haebe Qamako👏👏👏


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