The newly crowned Xhosa King, Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu in South Africa is set to deliver xhosa language books to Zimbabwe’s Xhosa communities, well known as the amaFengu and based in the Mbembesi area near Bulawayo, Matebeleland.
This is not the first time the South Africans have expressed their concern with the livehoods of Zimbabwean communities who migrated from South Africa in the 1800’s a period commonly refered as Mfecane. A leading Zulu culture musical ensemble, Izingane Zoma has recently called for Ndebeles in Zimbabwe to be allowed to return to South Africa citing mistreatment in Zimbabwe by the Shona people,and one Zulu maskandi music giant Phuzekemisi has questioned the harrasment of people by police. Large populations of Matebeleland people live and support their families through earnings from South Africa.
The Xhosa community in Zimbabwe is well established and arrived with Mzilikazi after fleeing from Shaka and later brought in by Cecil John Rhodes. Xhosa people kept their language dialect intact, slightly distinct from original Zulu.
According to South African paper The New Age, Xhosa king Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu, has said he planned to travel around the world to meet his kinsfolk who were displaced during the apartheid era.
He was speaking at Nqadu Great Place in Willowvale last week during an official royal ceremony.
Sigcawu was anointed Xhosa King taking over the kingship from his father King Xolilizwe Sigcawu, who died in 2006.
The ceremony was attended by a contingent of chiefs from the Tshawe clan and regent chiefs.
“My responsibility is to visit them, hear their problems and see where I can offer help,” said the new king.
He said he was not planning to relocate Xhosa who lived elsewhere, but was willing to offer assistance to those in need.
“For example, in Zimbabwe, my people are complaining that they have to learn Shona in schools as there are no Xhosa literature books,” he said.
“I have already spoken to the Gauteng government for help in delivering Xhosa books to Zimbabwe so that the Xhosa can speak in their mother tongue.”
According to the old Xhosa kingship customs, Sigcawu is now able to anoint chiefs and regent chiefs under his territory.
Speaking to The New Age, Xhosa royal council CEO, Zolani Mkiva, said the Xhosa king was also planning to meet his people who were living in the UK.
“This is part of reconnecting with his people. The king is expected to travel to London before the end of this year.
“He will also get an opportunity to inform his people that he is the king of the amaXhosa worldwide,” said Mkiva, who is also a poet.
He said the Xhosa king planned to work tirelessly to ensure that his people had access to basic government services.
“As part of his duties, the king has been attending government functions and has been vocal in telling government officials to deliver basic services to poor communities.
“He has already been doing that and plans to continue,” said Mkiva.
He said an official coronation ceremony would still take place adding that the date and venue would be announced soon.
The coronation was initially scheduled to be held in May last year but was delayed after one of King Xolilizwe’s sisters, NomaXhosa Sigcawu, complained she had not been consulted on the date of the event.
“I am the elderly sister of the Xhosa royal house and as such, no coronation can be announced without my knowledge and agreement,” Sigcawu said at the time.