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abaThembu Descent Line

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The Ancestry of the abaThembu Kings

The earliest known ancestor of the abaThembu was Mbulali, whose grandson, Thembu, led his people from the present kwaZulu-Natal area to Dedesi in the present day Eastern cape.

Eight generations later, 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 and the AbaThembu emerged as a fairly closely knit community from the reign of Nxeko.

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.

Dlomo was the father of Hala, (fl mid 1600s) ancestor of all later Kings. Hala was succeeded by Madiba, Tato, Zondwa, Ndaba and Ngubengcuka - also known as Vusani.

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 were first affected by the Mfecane wars when they were invaded by amaBhaca and amaNgwane in the 1820s. Some of the minor houses, notably amaTshatshu, were pushed westward towards Queenstown. 176. In 1830 the Great House under Ngubengcuka continued to experience political instability. This resulted in the abrupt departure of Nonesi, the widowed great wife of Ngubengcuka, and her sons Mtirara and Matanzima from the Mgwali Great Place; which then fell under the chieftainship of Joyi. About 1838 they settled around Rhodana in the present district of Lady Frere. Around 1840 Mtirara, the eldest son of Ngubengcuka, was installed as the king of abaThembu. His Great Place was at Rhodana. He died in 1855, leaving his minor son Ngangelizwe.

After the death of Mtirara, Nonesi again became regent of abaThembu. Around 1860, Ngangelizwe returned to Mgwali and was installed as king of abaThembu at Mgwali. Nonesi remained at Gqebenya with Raxoti Matanzima, even after Ngangelizwe had returned to Mgwali. Shortly thereafter, the land around St Marks (the present-day Cofimvaba) was vacated by amaGcaleka due to the Nongqawuse cattle-killing 18episode. In 1865, the Colonial government offered this land to the residents of Lady Frere (formely known as “Tambookie Location”). This offer was accepted by four of the chiefs, namely Matanzima of amaHala, Ndarala of amaNdungwana, Gecelo of amaGcina and Stokwe of amaVundle. Nonesi, however, refused to move from Lady Frere and was consequently banished to Libode by the Colonial Government.

Matanzima soon became recognised as the leader of the four chiefs who had settled in the former Gcaleka territory, which then became known as Emigrant Thembuland. Emigrant Thembuland consisted of the two present districts of Cofimvaba and Xhalanga. Lady Frere remained part of the Cape Colony and, when the homeland system was introduced, it became part of the Ciskei independent state in 1976 and it was then included in the Regional Authority of Western Thembuland in the 1980s.

Matanzima was succeeded by Mhlobo and Mvuzo respectively. Mvuzo died and was succeeded by his son Kaizer Daliwonga Matanzima, as chief of amaHala. With the introduction of the Black Authorities Act, 68 of 1951 Emigrant Thembuland became a regional authority. Kaizer Daliwonga Matanzima was appointed chairman of the said regional authority. The Republic of Transkei Constitution Act 15 of 1976 constituted the Republic of Transkei. Emigrant Thembuland came to be called Western Thembuland, and Kaizer Daliwonga Matanzima was officially recognised as paramount chief in 1966. He died June in 2003 and was succeeded by his grandson, Zwelenkosi Matanzima, the son of Mtheto Matanzima who had predeceased his father. 206.2 The history as narrated above is mostly common cause. However, there are conflicting versions with regard to the status of Matanzima and his successors following the Mfecane Wars.

abaThembu Descent line

Possible YDNA Haplogroup E1b1a (aka E-M2)

  • Zwide is the earliest known leader of the abaThembu who ruled round about 1080. One his most notable descendants was
  • Mbulali the father of
  • Njanye, (fl c1307?) who fathered
  • Thembu (who led his people out of KwaZulu–Natal to Dedesi in the present day Eastern Cape) and who in turn fathered
  • Ndilo & Mvelase (who remained with his followers in the present day KwaZulu-Natal. Following the rise of Shaka to power, they became part of the greater amaZulu nation) and
  • Ntongakazi (Dumakazi),
  • Bhomoyi, (fl c1517)
  • Cedume,
  • Mnguti,
  • Ntoyi,
  • Ntande and
  • Nxeko (b c late 1500s) 1st abaThembu king, whose two sons fought over the succession:
  • Dlomo & Hlanga (defeated, & left to establish his own separate community which was subordinate to the community led by his brother)
  • Hala, ancestor of all later kings; Mawose (Right Hand House son, ancestor of te AmaTshatshu. See below for descent line)
  • Madiba
  • Tato
  • Zondwa (d c1756) and Dlawu
  • Ntlazi; Ndaba (d c1800); 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
  • Azenathi Dalindyebo Acting King of the abaThembu while his father is in jail.

-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

- The dispute over Kingship between the Matanzima and Dalindyebo descendants was resolved in favour of Dalindyebo ).

AmaTshatshu Descent line

AmaTshatshu are a clan name for the section of the Thembu nation of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. The clan is also known as the Tambookies, a name that stems from their residence among the San people in the Tsomo River Basin. They are the first Bantu inhabitants of the land now known as Western Thembuland which includes the towns of Tarkastad, Whittlesea, Cathcart and Queenstown. The most prominent of the chiefs of amaTshatshu are Tshatshu, Bawana, Maphasa and Gungubele. These are all chiefs that were directly involved in the frontier wars with the British and they ruled Western Thembuland from around 1800 to present day....

Xhoba, the head of the right-hand house of the late King Dlomo, led his descendants out of royal district of Mqanduli and trekked eastwards. He settled on the eastern banks of the Tsomo River, north of the present town of Tsomo. Xhoba was followed by a few other Thembu clans, inter alia, amaNdungwane amd amaGcina. The demise of Xhoba occured not long after he had settled at the Tsomo River Basin and his senior son and heir, Mvangxeni, ascended the chieftainship. Mvangxeni was an ambitious young chief, courageous and a good warrior. Above all he had the zest for power and history has recorded that he established a chieftainship much, much stronger than the Thembu kingdom. His praise name was uTshatsh'olithafa! The clan was thenceforth known as amaTshatshu after Mvangxeni's praise name Tshatshu. Tshatshu was known as a wise and intelligent man and most kings and chiefs went and married his daughters. Among these were King Khawuta of the amaGcaleka and Ngqika of amaRarabe. Both Kings Hintza and Sandile are kings born of Tshatshu princesses, daughters of Tshatshu....

Bawana decided to trek further to the west and settled at the foot of the Lukhanji Mountain north of present-day Queenstown. He later trekked south and settled along the Klipllaat River, this was in 1823. In the meantime, Bawana's senior son and heir, Maphasa, ensured that the newly acquired land of his father, from the western banks of the Indwe River to the banks of Zwart kei River from its source in the Winterberg Mountains along a stretch of land to the eastern banks of the Klass Smit River to its source in the Stormberg Mountains. The land was bounded by the Stormberg Mountains in the north and the Winterberg and AmaThole Mountains in the south. Maphasa established his homestead just south of present-day Queenstown, about 10 kilometres.

AmaNdungwane followed amaTshatshu and arrived in the new area around 1827. They were shortly followed by amaGcina and all three Thembu clans recognised Bawana as the Principal Chief. AmaNdungwane were under their Chief Qwesha while amaGcina were under Mtyhalela. Further south of the Tshatshu land lived Maqoma, the ikunene son of King Ngqika. Maqoma later married Bawana's daughter, Tini Maqoma's mother. The relations between the abaThembu and amaXhosa were cordial until Bawana realised rebellion in Mtyhalela. The amaGcina were routed by Maqoma and their cattle driven away. Mtyhalela suspected Bawana's complicity in his being attacked by Maqoma and for this reason Bawana was stabbed to death by a relative of Mtyhalela, one Batsa. This was in 1828.

Maphasa returned from the north to find his father murdered by amaGcina. He had a first attempt at attacking Mtyhalela but was defeated in 1929 along the Kliplaat River. He then went into alliance with Chief Bhuru, a Xhosa chief who had also married a daughter of Tshatshu. Mtyhalela was attacked and he fled the country and settled in the area now known as Cala. Maphasa went about to reinforce his chieftaincy. This was not easy as the British and the Boer Burghers were advancing from Cradock. In addition, the German Moravian Missionaries were admitted to establish a mission station by his father, Bawana. The mission station, Shiloh, proved to be a thorn on the side of Maphasa for the entirety of his reign as four forts were built around it and it became a springboard for British attacks on amaTshatshu and a centre fopr British intelligence.

AmaTshatshu are the right-hand house, indlu yasekunene, of the King Dlomo, the son of King Nxeko.


As it is with most African communities, customary succession among abaThembu is governed by the principle of male primogeniture. A king normally has five to seven wives, matching the structure of the houses in a royal isiThembu household. The lobola of the great wife is derived from contributions made by the community. Upon marriage, each wife is assigned status by being allocated a house. The status of a wife within a polygamous marriage determines succession to kingship. The structure of the “houses” is as follows:-

(i) The Great House (indlunkulu)

(ii) The right hand house (indlu yasekunene)

(iii) Iqadi of the Great House (iqadi lendlunkulu)

(iv) Iqadi of the right hand house (iqadi lekunene)

(v) The seed - bearer house (ixhiba)

(vi) Umsengi of the Great House (umsengi wendlunkulu)

(vii) Umtshayelo of the Great House (umtshayelo)

The most important of these houses, are the great house and the right hand house. Additional wives (each belonging to iqadi) are regarded as support for these two houses. The seed-bearer house is independent of the main houses. The last two houses (umsengi and umtshayelo) are minor and provide “domestic services” to the Great House.

The first born son of the great house succeeds his father, whereas the first born son of the right hand house may establish a separate community. Such community would be semi-independent of the great house, but not of equal status to the great house. The son of a seed - bearer (ixhiba) succeeds his father if there is no son of the great wife, and ranks before the sons of the qadi houses. If, however, there are sons of the great wife, whether born before or after the seed - bearer was introduced into the house, the seed – bearer’s sons, are regarded as brothers of lower rank.

A successor is only eligible to ascend the throne after he has been initiated.


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

The Story of Nonesi as Regent of the abaThembu

"For the Colonial Government which had, for some time , been thinking along the lines of a divisive policy of regionalism as a solution to frontier problems, the golden opportunity had now arrived. Among the Thembu who remained behind with the Right Hand House, was a remarkable woman , Nonesi , Mtirara 's foster mother. Like Mtirara, she had close relations with J.C. Warner, whose advice on Thembu matters was well received by the Government. Warner used his considerable influence and in an unprecedented move, two regents were appointed: Nonesi to rule over the western Thembu and Joyi over the Mbashe section. As Sihele points out, two people could not be regent for one person. He maintains that if Nonesi was regent, then Joyi was to be an ordinary chief. Not only was this an unusual situation, but it was unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of the Thembu. By 1850, then, the Thembu seemed to have been subjected to the vagaries of fortune. They were territorially, as well as politically, divided amongst themselves, and were jostled on the one front by white farmers, and on the other by the Gcaleka. The annexations of 1848 had weakened the influence of those chiefs who had traditionally been friendly to the Colony, and many young malcontents were waiting with Maphasa, as frontier tension was once again mounting, to join a war against the Colony. The eighth frontier war, the War of Mlanjeni, broke out in December 1850. Maphasa, after some hesitation, joined the Ngqika, thereby bringing into the war, not only his own people, but many young activists from Nonesi 's people whom he seemed to have attracted like a magnet. It was reckoned by frontier farmers that, at the commencement of the war, Maphasa was more influential than Ngqika himself. Not only did Maphasa's participation strengthen the numbers of t he warring tribes tremendously,78 but the whole area of confl ict was extended. In some parts, his men resorted to a devastating type of guerilla warfare, in others they joined in concerted movements with the Ngqika and Gcaleka to attack strategic points. The attitude of the Hala was, as in 1846-1847, uncertain. Nonesi earned for herself the title "Nonesi the faithful", and proved her loyalty by moving with her clan to the border of the Cradock district so as to protect this part of the frontier. Her example was followed by Quesha and some other chiefs who were supplied with arms. The fact, however, remained that Nonesi 's control over her people was not absolute, and the Colony could not count on the neutrality of her whole clan. The excitement of war, backed by the Mlanjeni promises was contagious to young men who had probably never accepted Nonesi 's regency. An incident which took place in January 1851 would certainly have estranged a number of Colonial supporters. A commando under Gideon Joubert claimed that they were attacked by a section of Nonesi 's people under her Chief Councillor. In revenge, Joubert fell upon Nonesi 's people, dispersed them completely and then demanded a war tribute of 2,000 head of cattle and 150 horses. Nonesi was further ordered to retreat beyond the Mbashe. 79 The fact that Nonesi complied with this demand indicated either an admission of guilt or her realization that she lacked control over her people and that it would be safer to remove them from the danger zone. The turning point in the war came in 1852 brought about, amongst other factors, by the unexpected death of Maphasa while on his way to the Klaas Smits river to join in a combined attack on Turvey's Post. The fighting spirit of his people was now temporarily paralysed, not only because they lacked leadership, but also because disputed claims to leadership led to internal discord and suspicion. Meanwhile, military success finally seemed to have come within Sir Harry Smith's grasp , but the British Prime Minist er, Lord John Russell as well as the Colonial Secretary, Earl Grey , had convinced themselves that Smith had prolonged the war through his leniency to Khoi-khoi rebels and inadequate vigour against the enemy. He was recalled, and on 31 March 1852 , Sir George Cathcart arrived as new Governor and High Commissioner.

Cathcart found the tribes semi-starved and weary of war but by no means subdued. Determined to bring the war to a speedy end, he acted swiftly, conducted successful operations in the Amatola and Waterkloof mountains and then appointed a commission to discuss the possibility of peace with the Thembu. Despite strong protests from the farmers who believed that they had been robbed of complete victory over their enemy, Cathcart was convinced that the time had come to put an end to hostilities, and, after having dealt with the Gcaleka chief Sarhili, he granted pardon to the rebellious Thembu chiefs who were now prepared to surrender arms. The peace terms which Cathcart dictated were largely aimed at the relocation of rebellious tribes beyond the Cape Colonial boundary and the resettlement of forfeited Thembu territories by European settlers. As he was of the opinion that Maphasa had surpassed all the other chiefs in guilt, this chief's lands were forfeited and the name and independence of his tribe were to cease. The remnants of the tribe were allowed to place themselves under a "responsible" Thembu chief.81 The other tribes, living on the lands formerly annexed by Smith, were to be resettled in locations. Nonesi and her followers were invited to return from the Mbashe and to occupy the location west of the Indwe river - the so-called Tambookie Location which later became the district of Glen Grey - where J.C. Warner was placed as a government representative. For the Thembu the war of 1853 was in many respects decisive. Some tribes emerged stronger after the war (Nonesi 's people); others lost all their lands, while others remained behind at the Mbashe under the regency of Joyi. The question now remained as to whether tribal cohesion would stand the strain of the enforced peace and the political division.

...To add to the confusion, there was Nonesi . Her position had always been something of an enigma. It is not possible to ascertain to what extent she was accepted by the Thembu as regent in 1849. It could be that some ambitious chiefs approved of her appointment as they might have felt that the division of power and the appointment of a woman would lessen the chances of usurpation by a young regent. After all, tribal chiefs wanted the central monarchy to be weak. It is equally possible that many of the young activists of the Mlanjeni War rejected her authority. The Cape Government's reasons for having appointed her are obvious. After the death of Mtirara a ruler was desperately needed to control the large number of Thembu on the frontier, and Joyi had no intention of leaving his Mbashe abode. No better person could be found t han Nonesi . She proved her loyalty during the Mlanjeni war by removing her people to the Mbashe river, but her presence between the Mbashe and Umgwali rivers, where she took up abode, annoyed the Gcaleka. They were determined not to make room for her. She therefore welcomed the Cape Government's invitation, after the war, to return to her former lands where she was offered the paramountcy over the newly-created Location. This appointment turned out to be a thorny issue. The term paramount would seem to imply permenancy and absolute authority, but it is doubtful whether either the Government or the Location dwellers themselves viewed it in this light. Nonesi soon experienced the problem that arose from what could be termed agovernment appointment not supported by traditional claims. Given the Thembu concept of one nation under the paramountcy of Joyi, it is understandable that they would not unanimously and willingly have accepted the diversion of the monarchy. Rival claims were soon set up, the most formidable being that of the ex-regent Fadana, who retained much of the support he had held at the time of his regency after the death of Ngubengcuka. Furthermore , Nonesi had to reckon with the Tshatshu and their allies of 1853, who resented the dismantling of their traditional tribal leadership and their land losses in terms of the Cathcart settlements. This meant that after the proclamation of the Location there were within the boundaries of the Cape Colony some 30,000 people, a large number of whom were of dubious loyalty, ruled by chiefs whose powers had never been defined, and subjected to a regent who had no traditional claims to her position. As long as matters were fairly stable, Nonesi could exercise some semblance of authority; but the tranquility of the Location rested precariously upon the stability of her Kaffrarian neighbours, her own ability to appease disgruntled groups, and the unwavering support of the Thembu Agent. The CattleKilling episode was to show how weak these foundations were."

The Story of Joyi as Regent "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. ...After the death of Mtirara a ruler was desperately needed to control the large number of Thembu on the frontier, and Joyi had no intention of leaving his Mbashe abode. No better person could be found t han Nonesi. …Given the Thembu concept of one nation under the paramountcy of Joyi, it is understandable that they would not unanimously and willingly have accepted the diversion of the monarchy. …The Mbashe Thembu found themselves on the horns of a dilemma. Hitherto they had experienced none of the socio-political changes that had had such a disruptive effect upon the Kaffrarian tribes. Participation in a destructive movement would have had little meaning. 33 On the other hand overt neutrality could have been risky in the extreme. Rumours were rife that Sarhili had been trying, either by persuasion or by threats, to win the Thembu over to his side. In 1856 a certain Fabu - a rather shadowy figure, though described in official sources as an influential chief - returned to Thembuland after having visited Gcalekaland allegedly on the invitation of Sarhili who promised to show him the people who had arisen from the dead. He brought with hima message from the Paramount which promised victory over the "white things" (the English) as soon as all cattle were slaughtered, and called for the peaceful unification of all the black tribes. 34 From other sources came news of an alliance between Sarhili and the mighty Moshoeshoe, hitherto the only black chief who had succeeded in defeating a British army.35 Joyi certainly realized that should the rumoured war on the Colony take place with the Gcaleka and the Sotho nlJ/o,"Ic.f! in a}t9nment, it would be necessary for the Thembu to redefine their allegiances. He therefore sent conciliatory messages to Gcalekaland. Sarhili's reply was that the river was not broad, it might be crossed without difficulty. At the same time he warned that the Thembu would not escape the general destruction if they disobeyed the proPhet. 36 But in the end these ventures made little headway. It could be that Joyi was not interested in promoting what seemed to be a Gcaleka scheme in which the Thembu were likely to be an inferior partner. Tradition has it that Joyi informed Sarhili that he would take part in the movement provided a prophet from among his own people would tell him to do so. Joyi may also have considered the possibility that the Sotho-Gcaleka alliance might fail, the white man might emerge victorious and the Thembu, through their participation might then have lost a valuable ally. Furthermore, should they refrain from killing their cattle, and the movement did fail, they would have a great advantage over the impoverished tribes. Whatever the reason for his non-participation, Joyi was one of the chiefs who succeeded in restraining his people from taking the road to self-destruction. In the Location, conditions were less favourable . By the beginning of1857 Nonesi had to admit that she could no longer restrain her people from yielding to external pressures. While Warner adhered to the opinion that, being a woman, she was regarded by her people as a mere cipher,37 she blamed all the trouble on the weak administrative system, which forced her to cajole her people at a time when swift and effective action was necessary. In the end both Nonesi and Warner had to admit having lost control over the Location, and they realized that it was only by recognizing the authority of the Mbashe regent that trouble could be averted. As nothing came of the intended reconciliation between Joyi and Sarhili, the way was clear for Nonesi to invite Joyi to the Location. His visit showed that despite all their divisions, the Thembu were still united in their loyalty to a monarchy in which undisputed authority was vested. A favourable reaction began almost immediately, and by the time the killing of cattle came to an end about 2000 Thembu had lost their lives - a relat ively low figure. "

"The regency was first offered to [Mtirara's] senior brother, Ncapayi, who had by then returned to the Mbashe. Ncapayi, presumably unwilling to rule over people subjected to Colonial control, declined the offer. 'Shweni, his second brother, a man greatly respected by the Cape Town authorities, was then appointed, but he accidentially shot himself."

The Story of Ntlazi and Ndaba as Kings of the abaThembu

Tato's senior son and heir was Zondwa who, it would seem, died around his forties and was outlived by his father. Zondwa died without apportion his various houses (ukwaba). The process of ukwaba is significant because the heir and senior son was determined from it. The story goes that it was during Rarabe's visit to Tato that he enquired from the Thembu king who of his two grandsons, Ntlazi and Ndaba, would be king. Tato replied that Ndaba, the younger boy, could not be king as he was "naughty" (Sihele, p 22). Rarabe's response was that the naughtiness was a good sign and Ndaba should be king.

Ntlazi ascended the throne upon Tato's demise. In the meantime, Rarabe had sent his daughter, Bede, to wed Ndaba. But Ndaba was involved in mischief whereupon the amaNdungwane took up arms against him and the young prince had to flee to the land of the Xhosa King Gcaleka. He got into trouble there as well and eventually found himself resident at his father-in-laws homestead in Rarabe's land. Sooner or later there was trouble there and Ndaba sent word to his brother King Ntlazi to come and rescue him Ntlazi nominated his son, Nkosiyane, in the company of the Qwathi chief, Fubu, to proceed to Rarabeland to rescue Ndaba. The mission was accomplished and various cattle of the Xhosa were raided and driven to the Transkei by Fubu and Nkosiyane. It is important to note that Ndaba never returned to the royal homestead in Mqanduli where Ntlazi was king but, on Fubu's insistence, he was settled along the Mbashe River, in close proximity to the amaQwathi chief. Ntlazi continued to be king of abaThembu until it became clear that Ndaba was being established along the Mbashe River as a parallel king. The creation of the parallel Thembu kingdom along the Mbashe River created a lot of commotion among abaThembu and it is at this stage that Xhoba, the head of the right-hand house of the late King Dlomo, led his descendants out of royal district of Mqanduli and trekked eastwards. He settled on the eastern banks of the Tsomo River, north of the present town of Tsomo. Xhoba was followed by a few other Thembu clans, inter alia, amaNdungwane amd amaGcina.


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