AmaXhosa king, the first monarch crowned in post democratic SA, dies

AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu
AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu

AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu has died at the age of 51 after a long illness.

According to a close family member the king died on Thursday morning at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha. Details of his death were still unknown on Thursday morning, but the king was apparently unwell for a while.

Sigcawu made history by becoming the first king to be crowned in post democratic South Africa.

During his coronation at his Nqadu Great Place in Willowvale, Eastern Cape in May 2015 former president Jacob Zuma said Sigcawu’s recognition as the king of AmaXhosa was a culmination of a painful exercise – the Nhlapo Commission was set up to investigate the authenticity of traditional leadership and correct the wrongs of the past.

The commission had been set up to investigate the legitimacy of monarchs around the country.

King Sigcawu was confirmed by the Nhlapo Commission in 2010 as the overall king of AmaXhosa – a nation previously divided between the AmaRharhabe and AmaGcaleka clans.

Zuma delivered the keynote address on the historic day of his coronation, and Sigcawu asked him to intervene in the plight of poverty of his people.

“Mr President, my people are poor and hungry; they have no jobs, no security, no proper education. They are unemployed and depend on social grants,” he said.

He called on the president to visit again to discuss how to assist the people of Nqadu, and Zuma made numerous visits to the Great Place.

The king rules over 40 traditional councils with 34 chiefs and 167 headmen. His land extends over several towns including Dutywa, Butterworth, Willowvale and Centane.

Sigcawu was a descendant of King Hintsa, who was known for his bravery and was killed by British soldiers in 1835.

Sigcawu was vocal about the arrest of his friend, AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who is serving a 12-year jail term at the East London maximum prison for arson, kidnapping, assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm, and defeating the ends of justice.

The outspoken Sigcawu was also passionate about youth development under his kingdom and organised sports tournaments and festivals to ensure that young people were kept busy and away from drugs.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24

E-Editions

Read the digital editions of City Press here.
Read now
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Police need training against their brutality
27% - 16 votes
A need for more action against police
10% - 6 votes
Police protect themselves
30% - 18 votes
Nothing will change
33% - 20 votes
Vote