The Bataung ba Hlalele tribe in Maboloka, outside Brits in North West, is in mourning.
Their chief, Mohau David Lion, died on Wednesday, leaving the people he has led since 1984 in shock.
Chief Lion took over the reigns from his father, Solomon David Lion.
Born on January 4 1939, Chief Lion was a hard worker who always wanted economic development for his tribe.
Contrary to the perception that traditional leaders always opposed development in their areas, Lion was different.
He welcomed government development plans and projects because he recognised that this was done to benefit his people.
His relationship with all spheres of government was very good, especially the local municipality of Madibeng and the North West provincial government.
He worked diligently with local officials, attending meetings or events aimed at uplifting his people. This good working relationship between the tribal council and the government went a long way towards bringing development.
Chief Lion was a unifier in the tribe.
He always made it a point that whenever there were disputes, conflicts or differences between his people, these were solved amicably, with all the parties returning home happy.
He was a member of parliament in the former Bophuthatswana government.
Besides his quality leadership, he was known for his spiritual power to heal the sick as a church leader in the Zion Apostolic Faith Mission.
The chief is survived by his wife Mmakotela, a son Emmanuel and six daughters Dineo, Mosa, Palesa, Mmatumelo, Thapelo and Mmasechaba.
He will be buried on Sunday in Mmaboloka. The service starts at 7am at his home.