AmaJingqi leader steps aside
WHILE almost all traditional leaders hang on to power until they die, a veteran Willowvale traditional leader has set a precedent by handing over to his son while still alive.
Nkosi Mandlenkosi Dumalisile, a doyen of the Xhosa Royal House and one of the most respected traditional leaders in the province, handed the reins of power to his son Sibongile Dumalisile, 51.
Commonly, succession takes place only after a serving traditional leader dies.
Having ruled the AmaJingqi tribe, situated at Shixini in Willowvale, for 45 years, Dumalisile stepped down on his 80th birthday.
“I think for the betterment of my subjects and the prosperity of the tribe it is time to hand over power to the active, younger blood,” he said.
“Administration of any structure of traditional leaders is not the same as when I took over as the head of Ama- Jingqi tribe in 1965 after my father’s death,” Dumalisile said.
“It needs young, educated and active people who know where to knock at government doors to ensure development of one’s area and subjects.”
The Dumalisiles, of the royal Tshawe clan, are close relatives of AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Sigcawu and descendents of the right hand house of the legendary King Hintsa.
Sibongile Dumalisile is well positioned to fill the shoes of his father, with a law degree from the then University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu).
Inspired by the heroic battles that his forefathers fought in the wars that led to the dispossession of their land and the dignity of the African people in general, Sibongile vowed to empower himself through education so as to ensure that the dignity of his people could be restored.
Growing up, he could not escape the effects of apartheid and the homeland administra- tion’s repressive regimes, and ended up in jail for his activities while working with ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
His leadership qualities were recognised after the unbanning of the ANC and in 1993 he was selected as part of a group of cadres from the organisation sent to India to study diplomatic relations.
Having been inaugurated as head of AmaJingqi tribe on October 1, Sibongile has already raked in R68 million from the Department of Energy for electrification and more than R4m for water, agriculture, road infrastructure and heath services from government and private companies.
Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, who chairs the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, said it was the first time he had heard of a ruler abdicating while still alive, while Contralesa president and ANC MP Nkosi Patekile Holomisa acknowledged that such a move was uncommon.