Platinum Stars were officially formed into the entity they are today when Joseph ‘Tycoon’ Mapfulagasha changed the name of the Second Division club he owned, Khakhu Fast XI, into Mapate Silver Stars in 1998.
Mapfulagasha’s first foray into football had been with a side called Benfica, which he formed in the late 1970s, and over the years this turned into Khakhu Fast XI.
He then joined forces with Larry Brookestone, who owned the Highlands Park club, in 2000 to form HP Silver Stars, which also marked the start of the second reign of Owen da Gama as coach.
Mapfulagasha had initially persuaded Da Gama, who had once played for Moroka Swallows and Dynamos, as well as in Ireland and Belgium, to lead the team in the Second Division in the 1998/99 season.
Da Gama was an instant hit and won the side promotion, before leaving the club to tend to his IT business in Pretoria, which is where he met Brookstone.
The team finished safely in mid-table that year, but it was not enough to satisfy the ambition of the new owners and they persuaded Da Gama to make a return to the club for the start of the 2000/01 campaign. The mandate was clear, build a squad capable of winning promotion to the top flight of South African football.
Da Gama’s first season back was one of consolidation and the side finished 10th in the First Division Inland Stream. There would be a big improvement in the 2002/03 campaign, however, as the side just failed to win promotion, finishing second, four points behind eventually champions Dynamos.
But that year had laid the foundation for what was to follow. The following season they won the Inland Stream title and were promoted to the Premiership. The likes of Surprise Moriri, Sailor Tshabalala, Oscar Ntwagae and Stanley Kgatla were driving the team on to success.
That was also the year they also made their debut in one of the ‘Big Three’ cup competitions in South African football as they entered the Absa Cup (now Nedbank Cup) proper.
And they proved they had what it takes to beat the best in the Premiership when they defeated Orlando Pirates 2-0 in the second round thanks to goals from Moriri and Koketso Mmotong.
Pirates would go on to be crowned League champions that year, making the feat all the more remarkable. Stars would eventually lose 2-1 to Jomo Cosmos in the quarterfinals, but they had made their mark on South African football and in the eyes of fans across the country, would be a team not to be taken lightly.
Their first season in the top-flight, 2003/04, would always be one of consolidation and so it proved. They finished 11th, but did have the satisfaction of matching the likes of Kaizer Chiefs, who failed to beat them in two attempts.
But having gained a season of valuable Premiership experience, the next year would see a big improvement. The team finished seventh, despite a slow start to the campaign, and won themselves a first-ever appearance in the SAA Supa8 the following year.
That adventure would end with a first round exit at the hands of Pirates, but the League campaign would be highly successful, with Da Gama steering his charges to fifth place. And the next season would bring a first piece of silverware to the club.
An excellent League campaign would see them finish runners-up behind Mamelodi Sundowns, but history was made in the Telkom Knockout Cup when a hat-trick from Hareaipha ‘Simba’ Marumo saw the side run out 3-1 winners over Ajax Cape Town at the Super Stadium in Pretoria.
And it was no easy ride to the final, along they way they had beaten Bloemfontein Celtic, Kaizer Chiefs and Santos, proving once more the side was amongst the country’s elite. They also made the semifinals of the Absa Cup before going down on penalties to Mamelodi Sundowns.
It was at this time that Royal Bafokeng Sports Holdings bought 51% of the club, which led to its renaming as Platinum Stars, as well as a shift to the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace as home venue in Phokeng, near Rustenburg in the North West Province.
Da Gama eventually left the club in September 2007 to join Pirates after more than seven successful years in charge, to be replaced by the coaching duo of Thierry Mulonzo and Allan Freese, who would guide the club until the arrival of Argentine Miguel Gamondi in December of that year.
The club took a while to adapt to the departure of Da Gama, but a strong finish to the season meant they finished 10th, and also had a successful time their maiden foray into African club competition.
Stars entered the 2008 CAF Champions League in the first round, easing past Lesotho Correctional Services 4-1 on aggregate. They then overcame Stade Tamponnaise of Reunion 2-1 over the two legs, before coming within a whisker of upsetting African giants Al Ahly.
They won the first leg at home 2-1, inflicting a rare defeat on the Egyptian side, but went down 2-0 in Cairo to drop out 3-2 on aggregate. The result meant they dropped to the CAF Confederation Cup, but were unlucky to be drawn against Tunisian side CS Sfaxien, who would go on to win the competition.
Royal Bafokeng Sports Holdings completed their majority buyout of the remaining shares held by Brookstone and Mapfulagasha in November 2008, meaning they would become 100% owners of the football club we see today.
Steve Komphela took over the coaching reins of the side ahead of the 2009/10 Premier League season and began the process of building a squad that could challenge for honours. He introduced promising youngsters such as Mamadimo Masenya, Coldrin Coetzee, Joseph Molangoane, Lehlogonolo Maselesa, Mzikayise Mashaba and Sibusiso Msomi, providing an excellent future platform for the side.
The club switched home bases midway through the 2009/10 campaign, moving from the Modderfontein home to Rustenburg, where they took up residence at the brand-new state-of-the-art Bafokeng Sports Campus after the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The facility was used by England during the tournament.
The team unveiled a new nickname during the 2010/11 season, ‘Dikwena’, which means ‘crocodiles’ in seTswana, and also welcomed back coach Owen da Gama for another stint in charge of the side as he replaced Komphela.
They completed their move from Johannesburg to the North West Province, which involved all of the administrative and backroom staff as well, and makes Dikwena the only top-flight team in the province.
After Das Gama left the side for a second time in March 2012, the Head of Youth Cavin Johnson took charge of the team in a caretaker capacity. He led the club away from the relegation zone for the remainder of the campaign and so impressed everybody at the club that he was handed the reins on a permanent basis for 2012/13.
It would turn out to be a wonderful campaign for the side, who were in the title race right up until the final weeks of the season, eventually finishing second, just a single point behind champions Kaizer Chiefs.
The team also reached the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup, where they were unlucky to lose 3-2 after extra time to SuperSport United.
Johnson was lured to SuperSport at the end of that campaign as a replacement for Gavin Hunt, and although Dikwena were reluctant to let him go, a compromise was eventually reached.
The club then appointed Allan Freese as head coach for the 2013/14 season, after he played a vital role as Johnson’s assistant, also coming into the job after acting as head of youth at the club, showing Stars’ preference for promoting within.