About Ngangelizwe Qeya kaMtikrakra, 6th & last independent Paramount Chief / King of the abaThembu
c1840-84 Last independent Thembu paramount chief (1863-84) Ngangelizwe’s father died in 1849 and a regent ruled until the son was old enough to become chief in 1863. Through his reign he fought a desultory war with the neighbouring Gcaleka Xhosa and increasingly turned to the British for support. He took as his chief wife Novili, the daughter of the Gcaleka chief Sarili (1866), but treated her so badly that she fled back to her father (1870). This episode strained relations between the Thembu and the Gcaleka, already embroiled in disputes over land and cattle. Ngangelizwe fought several unsuccessful engagements against the Gcaleka during the early 1870s and then appealed to the Cape Colony govt for ‘protection.’ In 1875 they granted his request on condition that he abdicate.His technical deposition proved unworkable so he was officially reinstated the following year. Thereafter he supported t colonial govt’s forces in several actions against his neighbours. Shortly before he died he accepted the temporal leadership of Nehemiah Tile’s independent church. He was succeeded by his son, Dalindyebo. Dictionary of African Historical Biography
By Mark R. Lipschutz
The Story of Ngangelizwe the abaThembu wife-beater & his father-in-law, Sarhili of the Gcaleka Xhosa, & how he came to cede his territory to the British
Sarhili’s daughter, Novili, was Ngangelizwe’s Great wife and his brutal behaviour towards her caused a war, after she had fled to her father covered in wounds. The incident was viewed as an insult to the Xhosa as a whole and Sarhili (King of the Gcaleka Xhosa) began preparing for war against the abaThembu. Ngangelizwe hurriedly approached the British for help, but they advised him to pay cattle as compensation. Sarhili was not satisfied and invaded Thembuland. Ngangelizwe dressed his soldiers in western clothing, and, not to be outdone, so did Sarhili. (Despite having said previously “I can’t stand the smell of the dressed native’ – as he felt they seldom washed their clothes and became unbearably stinky.) Within 3 weeks every trading store in his territory was sold out! Sarhili’s forces totally routed the Thembu, winning not only the style war but also the military one: ‘Babaleka barazuka imisintsila,’ the Xhosa said of their enemies: ‘They ran so hard they broke their coccyx.’ Ngangelizwe himself reportedly fled in the most undignified manner, tearing off his trousers so that he could run faster. He sought sanctuary at Clarkebury mission, where he hid out in the kitchen, and offered to cede his whole territory unconditionally to the British in exchange for their protection, but, at the vehement objection of his counsellors, settled for a truce instead. It was probably in remembrance of this affair that Sarhili named one of his sons, Bulukwe (‘Trousers’).
Ngangelizwe had married Novili in May 1866, a year after her father, Sarhili’s, return from exile in Bomvanaland, where he had fled following the cattle-killing. Ngangelizwe had been circumcised 3 years before, and had only recently become king. Unusual as it was to take a Great Wife so early, this may have been necessitated by the recent political hot potato of a failed marriage arrangement between Ngangelizwe and Emma, the daughter of Sandile. A Christian schooled in Cape Town, she expected the marriage to be monogamous – which Ngangelizwe’s people wouldn’t let him agree to, despite his protests. On the surface, Ngangelizwe was a very attractive man – 6 feet tall, with a beautiful body, a smooth pleasant countenance, and a sweet, charming voice. Usually mild mannered, he was, however, subject to fits of ungovernable rage, linked to his alcoholism. He is said to have ordered regular killings, and is remembered as a man of ‘savage disposition’ – something his wives appear to have borne the brunt of. In May 1875, he beat one so badly that she was forced to take refuge with her brother, Daliso, where she subsequently died of her wounds. His assault in 1870 on his Great Wife, Novili, had left her with severe injuries; a British official who met her shortly afterwards said ‘pieces of bone were coming away through a wound in her injured leg.” But she was more concerned about her children than herself, ‘her greatest grief was that, according to the law she cannot see her children who are bound to reside with their father.’ Because of this, Novili returned to her despotic and violent husband. She had a total of 5 children with him, including Dalindyebo, who, as the eldest son of the Great Wife, was heir to the throne.
A few years after the assault that precipitated the war, Ngangelizwe caused another crisis by assaulting one of his concubines, Nongxokozela, who suffered serious injuries, and was killed, on his orders, a few days later. Unfortunately for him, she was a niece of Sarhili, and secret information about what had happened to her soon reached the Xhosa king. Another war seemed imminent; but the British came to his assistance again, and deployed a strong colonial police force to maintain the peace. Consequently Ngangelizwe reopened negotiations with them – and despite his counsellors’ objections – ceded his territory to them in Dec 1875.
• Paraphrase of the longer and very recommended version by: Crampton, Hazel. ‘The Sunburnt Queen’. Johannesburg: Jacana. 2004. Print. p251-254 Contact Sharon Doubell
"Sihele tells us that when Mtirara felt his end approaching, he warned his people to return to the Mbashe so as to avoid further trouble with the Whites. 72 The Great House under his brother, Joyi, heeded this advice, taking with them the child-heir, Qeya. Most members of the Right Hand House remained behind. Mtirara died in 1848."http://eprints.ru.ac.za/2980/1/WAGENAAR-PhD-TR89-73.pdf
- Crampton, Hazel. ‘The Sunburnt Queen’. Johannesburg: Jacana. 2004. Print. Contact Sharon Doubell
The Ancestry of the abaThembu Kings
During the 16th century Nxeko led his people from Dedesi to the Msana river (where he lies buried), a tributary of the Mbashe River in Mthatha district. At Msana, his Great Place, Nxeko accommodated, merged and assimilated various fragments from communities such as amaBomvana, amaVundle, amaMpondomise and amaMfengu to build his kingship. Although some of the communities had their own recognised traditional leaders, they acknowledged Nxeko as their principal traditional leader and shared abaThembu custom and culture. Nxeko can thus be regarded as the first king of abaThembu.
Nxeko fathered amongst others, two sons, Hlanga from the Great House and Dlomo from the right hand house. Nxeko died and was buried at Msana, in the district of Mthatha. After the death of Nxeko a succession struggle ensued between Hlanga and Dlomo which led to a battle at Msana. Hlanga, the heir apparent, was defeated by Dlomo and the traditional leadership shifted to the lineage of Dlomo. Hlanga left to establish his own separate community which was subordinate to the community led by Dlomo of the abaThembu kingship.
Ngubengcuka ruled from 1800 to 1830. He fathered Mtirara. At his death, Mtirara, his successor, was still a minor and Joyi became regent. Ngubengcuka consolidated abaThembu kingship. He merged with abaThembu fugitives from the wars of turmoil such as amaHlubi, amaTshangase, imiZizi and amaBhele. He successfully defended the kingship against amaQwathi, amaNgwane and amaVundle. Ngubengcuka established a unified Thembuland which stretched from Mthatha to the present day Queenstown. In 1827, during the reign of Ngubengcuka , Matiwane, a Ngwane chief, invaded abaThembu. This was to have a profound impact on the unity of Abathembu, as it forced minor communities like amaTshatshu and others to trek to Queenstown. Matiwane and his followers were defeated by abaThembu with the assistance of the British and amaGcaleka.
When Mtirara came of age he took his rightful place as king of abaThembu. Mtirara fathered three sons: Ngangelizwe, from the Great House, Matanzima from the right hand house and Mfanta from a minor house. Ngangelizwe, was succeeded by Dalindyebo, Jongilizwe (Sampu), Jonguhlanga Sabata, and Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo respectively. Jonguhlanga Sabata was appointed paramount chief of abaThembu as a whole, including Emigrant Thembuland and Bomvanaland with effect from 1 July 1954.
abaThembu Descent line
Possible YDNA Haplogroup E1b1a (aka E-M2)
- Zondwa (d c1756) and Dlawu
- Ndaba (d c1800) Ntlazi ; Xuluma ; Bawana and Bhejula
- Ngubengcuka Vusani (c1790 -1830); Fadana, Regent; Jumba; Nkosiyane; Mni; Mphasa and Nene
- Mtikrakra (1819 - 1839) Great House Son, King of the abaThembu; Simakade; Mandela Left Hand House Son, Chief of Mveso; Joyi, Regent; Ngonyama; Mgudlwa; Viva; Mqanqeni; Gungubele; Qhwesha; Nohuthe; Ncapayi; & Shweni
- Ngangelizwe Qeya (c1846 - 1884), King of the abaThembu; Matanzima Raxoti Right Hand House Son; Mbambonduna; Sigunagathi & Mfanta
- Dalindyebo Alava, (1865-1920) King of the abaThembu; Namnawe; Mrazuli; Landile; Silimela, Regent; Ndumiso, Chief at Mpeko, Umtata; Twatikhulu & Mpondlombini
- Jongilizwe Sampu, (1902 - 1928) King of the abaThembu; Jongintaba David, Regent; Melingqili; Mpondombini; Melithafa & Norrie
- Sabata Jonguhlanga Dalindyebo (1928 - 1986), King of the abaThembu; Melithafa; Bambilanga Albert Mtirara Dalindyebo & Nxeko
- Jongisizwe, Buyelekhaya Zwelinbanzi (1964- ), King of the abaThembu, Ndileka & Baka
-Njanye and Bhomoyi's dates taken from: Sihele, E G. (Councillor of the Thembu King of Roda). ‘Who Are The Abathembu; Where Do They Come From?’ Handtyped Manuscript c1933 http://www.ru.ac.za/media/rhodesuniversity/content/corylibrary/documents/MS18534.pdf
- The dispute over Kingship between the Matanzima and Dalindyebo descendants was resolved in favour of Dalindyebo http://www.sahistory.org.za/sites/default/files/Determination%20on%20Matanzima%20And%20Dalindyebo%20Paramountcies.pdf ).
See abaThembu Descent Line Project for references and previous generations.
Ngangelizwe Qeya kaMtikrakra, 6th & last independent Paramount Chief / King of the abaThembu's Timeline
December 31, 1884