Tribal ten­sions brew an Eastern Cape land war

CityPress - - News - LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­

Land war is brew­ing in the Eastern Cape after the amaMfengu tribe ac­cused con­tro­ver­sial amaXhosa king Mpen­dulo Zwelonke Sig­cawu of il­le­gally com­mand­ing power over their land.

The amaMfengu re­jected a chief that the king had ap­pointed over them. (The same king had said con­tro­ver­sially that women were “too sen­si­tive” to lead South Africa.)

In a heated meet­ing on Thurs­day, held at the Mbashe Hall in Wil­low­vale, a group of more than 30 amaMfengu (or Fingo) chiefs ques­tioned king Sig­cawu’s mo­tives for nom­i­nat­ing a chief from the ri­val clan of amaTshawe (the king’s own clan) over them.

The tra­di­tional au­thor­ity is in the hands of chief Nkosi Zanokhanyo Bik­it­sha, of the Zizi clan un­der the amaMfengu. Chief Bik­it­sha, who on Thurs­day was elected chair­man of the Mfengu Gen­eral Coun­cil, said they would take up the mat­ter with Eastern Cape Pre­mier Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle and go to court if need be.

“We have prob­lems re­gard­ing re­la­tions be­tween the Xhosa king­dom and the Fingo chiefs. This em­anates ba­si­cally from him [Sig­cawu] im­pos­ing Xhosa chiefs in tribal author­i­ties that are [tra­di­tion­ally] un­der Fin­gos. Bik­it­sha said the Bik­it­sha roy­alty had peace­fully co­ex­isted with the pre­vi­ous seven Xhosa kings. It was only un­der Sig­cawu that re­la­tions be­gan to de­te­ri­o­rate, he said.

“We be­lieve the land un­der Fin­gos is our land. We will write let­ters to the pre­mier and the king and de­liver them next week, to tell the king we do not ac­cept his bid to un­der­mine the Fingo peo­ple,” said Bik­it­sha, who is a qual­i­fied med­i­cal doc­tor based in Cape Town.

Bik­it­sha said he had met Sig­cawu a week ago to try to re­solve the mat­ter, but the king and his chiefs re­fused to lis­ten to him. They had told him they would go ahead with plans to place Tshawe chiefs as heads in the Fingo tra­di­tional author­i­ties.

Nkosazana Nokhwezi Mhaga, a Fingo tra­di­tional leader, told the meet­ing on Thurs­day that she had per­son­ally at­tended a meet­ing at King Sig­cawu’s Nqadu Great Place ear­lier this week, where the king and his chiefs met with a lawyer from KwaZulu-Na­tal with a view to set­ting up a trust to ad­min­is­ter the land of the amaXhosa on the same model as the Ngonyama Trust of the Zulu king­dom.

Prince Xhanti Sig­cawu, spokesper­son of the king, said they were shocked to hear of the com­plaints and had not been aware of any hos­til­i­ties. “We will wait for the let­ter to the pre­mier,” Sig­cawu said.

A NO Amaxhosa King Mpen­dulo Zwelonke Sig­cawu

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