AmaXhosa king sworn in

2015-05-15 16:27

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Nqadu – In a historic moment for South Africa, Mpendulo "Zwelonke" Sigcawu has been sworn in as king of the amaXhosa nation in Nqadu Great Place in the Eastern Cape.

It is the first coronation of an amaXhosa king in 50 years.

The event was attended by around 10 000 people, including President Jacob Zuma, high profile guests and representatives from Britain, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Indonesia, Botswana, Libya and Zimbabwe, as well as all South African kings and queens, representatives from all houses of traditional leaders and Contralesa.

Also there from other parts of Africa and abroad were leaders of the Forum of Kings, Sultans, Sheiks, Chiefs and Princes of Africa, which was founded by Sigcawu in 2008, the Institute of Royalty and African Diaspora, as well as South African cabinet ministers, judges, clergy members, premiers and MECs. 

Born Mpendulo Calvin Sigcawu, King Zwelonke took over the monarchy on January 24 2006 following the death of his 79-year-old father, King Mzikayise Xolilizwe Sigcawu, the previous year. 

Zwelonke is the most senior leader of the Xhosa royal family, the leader of the Xhosa Royal Council and overall head of the Tshawe royal clan. He is the 22nd Xhosa monarch, although he is the 10th in the lineage of Gcaleka – the great house of King Phalo.

In 2010 Zwelonke was declared legitimate king of all AmaXhosa by President Jacob Zuma, following a determination by the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims, also known as the Nhlapo Commission, which probed the authenticity of traditional leaders in South Africa.

He rules over four magisterial districts – Willowvale, Dutywa, Butterworth and Centane – with the help of 34 chiefs and 168 headmen/women. Thirty-four of his 40 traditional councils are headed by chiefs and four by headmen/women.

During his inauguration, Zwelonke was handed Ngangomntu, a stick symbolising his power, as a symbol of his office. He was also enrobed with a royal cloak made of lion skin, with sections of leopard skin sewn in.

Up until today Zwelonke wore his father’s royal cloak when performing his duties.

Eastern Cape Judge President, Themba Sangoni, had King Zwelonke read his oath and swore him in as amaXhosa king.

For many, including historians and the king himself, this is the first coronation they will witness, as Zwelonke had not yet been born when his late father, King Xolilizwe Sigcawu, was inaugurated in 1965.

Read more on:    east london  |  traditional
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