The late Patriarch of the Shimange Clan, Nkukwana, was the head of the Baloyi Tribe of the Shangaan – Tsonga nation which settled on the farm Vudyodyodyo (known today as Syferfontein) in 1846.
To Patriarch Nkukwana a son was born in 1850 named Shimange. He took over the leadership of the tribe while his father was still alive.
In 1895 the Shimange tribe was expropriated from their land when Seargent Tom Kelly gave the land as a wedding present to his son-in-law, Schoeman.
During the Anglo Boer War Shimange was appointed as Induna (leader or headsman) of Syferfontein.
After the war the farm was sold twice to other owners.
From 1936 the Shimange Tribe on Syferfontein were turned into labour tenants and subjected to forced labour in exchange to stay on the farm.
Between 1965 and 1972 the community was removed without compensation from Syferfontein to the Homelands of Venda and Gazankulu and the area was declared a whites only area. In 1976 the farm was purchased by the South African Government and given to the Venda Homeland.
A land claim was lodged at the Department of Land Affairs on 13 June 1998 by the Shimange Tribe to reclaim Syferfontein.
On 2 March 2002 Syferfontein was returned to the Shimange Tribe.
Twelve years after the claim I met Eddy Baloye, a member of the Shimange Tribal Community and he told me although the land was returned to the community there is still a lot of problems they are facing. One of the problems is that they are still waiting for R1.8 million from the government for infrastructure upgrades so that they can maintain the farm. At the moment the farm is failing because they are not getting the support they were promised by the government.
Eddy Baloye also spoke to me about the value of the farm Syferfontein to the Shimange Tribe.