Mhala kaNdlambe

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Mhala kaNdlambe

Death: 1875
Immediate Family:

Son of Ndlambe ka Rarabe, Regent of the Rharabe; Chief of the Ndlambe and NN (mother of Mhala)
Father of Makinana kaMhala; Smith kaMhala and Kondile kaMhala
Half brother of Zethu kaNdlambe; Dyani kaNdlambe; Mdushane aNdlambe, Chief of imiDushane kaNdlambe; Mqhayi kaNdlambe, Regent and Mxhamli kaNdlambe

Managed by: Sharon Lee Doubell
Last Updated:

About Mhala kaNdlambe

  • Peires, JB: ‘The House of Phalo’. 1981, Raven Press, Johannesburg, SA
  • Mostert, Noel: ‘Frontiers’. 1992, Jonathan Cape, London

Ndlambe died on 10 Feb 1828, at ninety or more years old – ‘ the perfect specimen of a powerful chief of the olden times before intercourse with the colonists’. When he was born the whites had scarcely moved beyond the Cape, although they had already encountered Xhosa on their cattle-bartering journeys to the east. He had been witness to the great schism in the Xhosa nation between his father, Rarabe, and his uncle, Gcaleka, and had been regarded, unfairly, as the principal committed enemy of the Cape Colony. He had seen more of the early formative history of South Africa than any other man; he died at the very moment it began to enter the most decisive stage of that evolution. But he took with him the formidable power of the Ndlambe, his people, for he left them no clearly designated heir. His rightful heir had died in battle against the colony, possibly at the Battle of Grahamstown, where he had lost 3 sons. The logical successor was his son, Mdushane, who, in his father’s old age, had taken over many of Ndlambe’s powers. But Mdushane himself died just over a year after his father. Mdushane was, William Shaw said, ‘a native of no ordinary mind’, and the missionary rightly predicted that the Ndlambe would go into a decline without an efficient leader. There was noone else of any stature. What they got was a minor son of Ndlambe named Mhala, who was said to have usurped the chieftancy by dispossessing the better-placed heir through a false accusation of witchcraft. [Mostert, p608-9]