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Xhosa Royalty of Southern Africa

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  • Katye (deceased)
    Mostert, Noel: ‘Frontiers’. 1992, Jonathan Cape, London
  • Ntomboxolo kaMxolisi Sandile (deceased)
    When Chief Mkhanya ka-Namba died, his younger brother and right-hand man Dyosini ka-Namba succeeded him. He had two sons, Rhamnwana and Nompempe through his wife Nontozimbi Rhatsha of Giqwa-clan. Their...
  • Mxolisi Sandile, King of Rharhabe-Xhosa (deceased)
    When Chief Mkhanya ka-Namba died, his younger brother and right-hand man Dyosini ka-Namba succeeded him. He had two sons, Rhamnwana and Nompempe through his wife Nontozimbi Rhatsha of Giqwa-clan. Their...
  • Nondumiso kaPetros Namba of the Tshawe clan (deceased)
    When Chief Mkhanya ka-Namba died, his younger brother and right-hand man Dyosini ka-Namba succeeded him. He had two sons, Rhamnwana and Nompempe through his wife Nontozimbi Rhatsha of Giqwa-clan. Their...

Birth numbering only approximate; confounded by dearth of dates and polygamous practices meaning that numbers of mothers can all birth half-siblings within the same time span; and by the occasional tendency to position the heir - son of the Great Wife - as the first son, when he is often amongst the youngest.

Descent line from Tshawe

a Tshawe b c1675

b Ngcwangu

c Sikhomo

d Togu

e1 Ngconde

e1f1 Thshiwo

e1f1g1 Phalo d1775 (see below)

e1f1g2 Gwali

e1f2 Mdange

e1f3 Hleke

e2 Ziko ‘Gandowentshaba’

e3 Ntinde

Descent line from Phalo fl 1736 - d1775 through his Great House son, Gcaleka d1778

g1 Phalo d1775

h1 Gcaleka d 1778

h1i1 Khawuta

h1i1j1 Hintsa 1789-1835

h1i1j1k1 Sarhili 1809-1892

h1i1j1k2 Ncaphayi

h1i1j1k3 Manxiwa d1911

h1i1j2 Bhurhu 1785-1857

h1i1j3 Malashe d1834

h1i2 Velelo

h1i3 Nqoko fl 1794

h2 Rharhabe d 1782

see below

h3 Langa d1793

h3i1 Thole

h3i2 Nqeno d1846

h3i2j1 Stokwe

h3i2j2 Sonto

h4 Lutshaba

Descent line from Phalo fl 1736 - d1775 through his Right Hand House son, Rharhabe d 1782

h2 Rharhabe d 1782

i1 Mlawu d1782

i1j1 Ngqika 1778-1829

i1j1k1 Sandile d1820-1879

i1j1k2 Maqoma 1798-1873

i1j1k3 Tyhali d1842

i1j1k4 Anta fl1815-1878

i1j1k5 Xhoxhofl 1810-1869

i1j1k6 Matwa fl 1810-1869

i1j1k7 Dondashe b 1828

i1j1k8 Tente d1842

i1j2 Ntimbo no issue

i2 Ndlambe d1828

i2j1 Mdushane d1829

i2j1k1 Siwana

i2j1k2 Qasana

i2j1k3 Siyolo

i2j2 Mqhayi d 1854

i2j2k1 Jali d 1878

i2j3 Mhala d 1875

i2j3k1 Makinana

i2j3k2 Smith

i2j3k3 Kondile

i2j4 Mxhamli d1846

i2j5 Dyani d 1846

i2j6 Zethu d 1846

i3 Cebo no issue

i4 Ntsusa - female d1826

i5 Nukwa d1856

i5j1 Bika

i5j2 Gasela d 1845

i6 Mnyaluza d1838

i7 Nzwane ‘Danster’

i8 Sigcawu d1830

i9 Hlahla fl 1780-1850

The Story of the House of Phalo

The sons of Phalo were

Through their rivalry they would lead to the split of the Xhosa nation and set the stage for one of the dramas of Southern Africa.

Langa (1705 –1794) - AmaMbalu:

Langa was the founder of the amaMbalu sub-group of the Xhosa nation and reigned as chief from 1740 until his death. Langa is known to have had two sons

Gcaleka (1730-1792) - AmaGcaleka :

Gcaleka became paramount in 1775. Gcaleka tried to usurp his farther’s rule and interclan war broke out resulting in the Xhosa tribe splitting into two major sub-groups, the Rharhabe and the Gcaleka . He had 3 known sons

Khawuta 1761-1804

was the second Chief of the Gcaleka people, a sub-group of the Xhosa nation. Khawuta was the eldest son. He became paramount chief of the Xhosas in 1792. Not much else is known about Khawuta other than peace reigned during his regime. Kwawuta died in 1804 near what is now Kentani in the Eastern Cape,other sources record 1794 and 1820 as the years of death. Khawuta had 3 known sons,

Nqoko 1730-1792

Nqoko was a regent and 3rd paramont chief of the Gcaleka. He was the third son of Gcaleka and took over the Gcaleka when his oldest brother Chief >>Khawuta died in 1804. He served until 1820 when his nephew Hintsa took over. Nqoko died in 1792

Rharhabe ka Phalo (about 1722-1782) - AmaRharhabe

Rharhabe was the founder of Rharhabe sub-group of the Xhosa nation. And the 2nd son of Phalo. Rharhabe died near present day Dohne in the Eastern Cape Province. He is known to have had at least two wives. He had 8 sons from his first wife:

and a daughter

and from his second wife, Nojoli kaNdungwana of the Thembu he had two sons:

Mlawu d1782

Ngqika 1778-1829

Although Gcaleka was the rightful heir to Phalo’s kingdom, Rharhabe developed a reputation (and a large following) as a fearless warrior. Eventually, rivalry between the two brothers resulted in civil war. Rharhabe was defeated and forced to flee west of the Kei River. There, he established a kingdom among the Xhosa currently living there. Unfortunately, this region was heavily populated and Rharhabe’s arrival caused quite a bit of turmoil. Smaller clans defeated in battle were forced to settle elsewhere as Rharhabe sought to consolidate his power. Rharhabe and his heir, Mlawu, were both killed during this period, and control of the clan transferred to Mlawu’s son, Ngqika.

Although the clan took Ngqika’s name, he was too young to rule. As with Xhosa tradition, Rharhabe’s other son, Ndlambe, served as ruler until Ngqika matured. As second son, Ndlambe had title, but no real authority–as soon as he was old enough, Ngqika would take over. Nevertheless, he supervised a major expansion in the size and power of the clan (now called the Ngqika). By the late 1700s, this expansion resulted in the inevitable contact with the European settlers in Cape Colony. Both the Africans and Europeans depended on cattle as the fundamental economic asset. Thus, both groups competed for the prime grazing lands located west of the Great Kei river. In addition to fighting over grazing lands, raiding parties on both sides stole cattle and other livestock. The number and severity of the conflicts increased rapidly. By 1779, the situation had deteriorated beyond repair. Over the next 25 years, three Xhosa wars broke out. While these were mainly border skirmishes, they did cause more distrust between the Xhosa and Europeans. One noteworthy development during this period was the short-term alliances between Ndlambe and the Dutch settler (or Boers). In 1793, Ndlambe sought to defeat the remaining Xhosa clans west of the Kei River. This would make the Ngqika clan the paramount clan in the region and a major threat to their Gcaleka cousins to the east. This Second Frontier War was not much of a war at all. The Boers, eager to stop constant cattle raids, mounted a concerted attack and drove several smaller clans out of the lands west of the Groot-Vis River. There, Ndlambe waited with his armies and routed his fleeing cousins. The border situation might have died down, but for the fact that young Ngqika was now eighteen, and ready to assume the throne. Ndlambe, of course, was not so willing to give up power, so he appealed to the clan. When this didn’t work, he and his followers sought assistance from the Gcaleka , west of the Kei River. The Gcaleka , fearing the new Chief Ngqika would seek to rekindle and old rivalry, decided to support Ndlambe, and sent a small detachment to assist him and his followers. In a legendary battle, Ngqika defeated the force and took Ndlambe prisoner. The plot thickened in 1795, when the British took control of the cape. Now an undisputed world power, the British colonial empire spread from South America to East India. They viewed their South African possessions the same way they viewed their other possessions–a resource to be mined. When the local population interfered with this endeavor, the population was unseated. They took this attitude to Ngqika with a suggestion that the Xhosa clans west of the Groot-Vis River relocate east to help resolve the border disputes. Ngqika happily agreed, knowing full well he had no authority over these groups...


Born in 1820, he was the Great House Son of Ngqika, King of the Rharhabe division of the Xhosa nation. He was a Chief of the Ngqika and Paramount-Chief of the Rharhabe. A dynamic and charismatic chief, he led the Xhosa armies in several of the Cape-Xhosa Frontier Wars. Having recently been equipped with modern fire-armsSandile 's forces successfully inflicted losses on their enemies that led to Sandile gaining a reputation as a Xhosa hero. He was captured during the War of the Axe in 1847, but on his release he was granted land in "British Kaffraria" for his people. He later supported Sarhili(Kreli), Paramount-Chief of the Gcaleka, in a war against the Cape Colony and the Fingo tribe, and he was killed in 1878 in a shootout with Fingo soldiers


Born in 1798, he was the Right Hand Son of Ngqika, King of the Rharhabe division of the Xhosa nation. Implacably opposed to his father’s ceding of the land between the Fish and Keiskamma Rivers to the Cape Colony, Maqoma became committed to regaining his ancestral home. Moving west from Ngqika’s kraals, he slipped back into the so-called Neutral Zone in 1822 to found a new chiefdom on the banks of the Kat River. Despite taking every effort to placate the Whites from his position, Maqoma was hounded continually by colonial raids and expelled from his territory in 1829, the year Ngqika died. In 1834, faced with increased military pressure from the colony, Maqoma and Tyali (his half-brother) had no alternative but to take up arms in an attempt to prevent further dispossession. Although conquered by colonial invasion in 1835, Maqoma remained the most powerful Rharhabe chief and by 1837 a cost-conscious colonial office had ordered British troops to withdraw from Xhosaland. A quiet period follows 1840, when Ngqika’s Great Son Sandile’s transition to manhood is fulfilled, symbolising his installation as the Rharhabe ruler. Maqoma re-emerges in 1847 when Sandile surrendered to the imposition of colonial rule over the Rharhabe. British Kaffraria was born. When accommodation and diplomacy failed, resulting in the ‘War of Mlanjeni’ (1850-53), Maqoma used his skills as general and tactician to lead a guerrilla campaign in the forested mountains and valleys of the Waterkloof that frustrated the most skilled British officers. Evidence suggests that Maqoma made covert attempts to undermine the millenarian Cattle-Killing prophecies of 1856-57 – reinterpreted in the light of recent research as a movement of frustrated Xhosa commoners seeking to oust their discredited aristocracy – which finally brought devastation on the nation. Imprisoned on Robben Island for 12 years, Maqoma was paroled in 1869. When he attempted to resettle on his stolen land, however, he was rebanished to the infamous island prison, where he died under mysterious circumstances in 1873. And yet his name lives on. Oral traditions and colonial and missionary documents reveal a man of considerable intellect and eloquence, striving to maintain traditional social structures and the power of Xhosa aristocracy in the face of colonial depredations and dispossession. Maqoma is remembered for his extraordinary tenacity, flexibility and political and martial skills, who tragically became the victim of an advancing colonial juggernaut.”

taken from combined with Peires, JB: ‘The House of Phalo’. 1981, Raven Press, Johannesburg, SA

amaGqunukhwebe (Xhosa and Khoi mixed blood chiefdom. Xhosa by adoption during reign of Tshiwo)

Khwane c1700?


Tshaka d1793

Chungwa d 1812

The Gqunukwebe were a group of Xhosas who had inter-married with the Khoi. By the 1830s, they occupied most of the coastal area from the Chalumna to the Kwelera Rivers under their chief, Phatho.


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