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The Ndebele order of succession

01 Nov 2017 at 18:59hrs | Views
1. The first born son of a King can take over the throne. He has a right to inherit his father's estate and property. Modern law gives the wife first right to the husband's estate and property. He however normally gets the lion's share over other children. If the mother is a commoner or of a lower Nguni status and there is another wife from the royal lineage, the later takes precedence and her son supersedes the eldest son.

2. Nkulumane superseded Umuntu, Mangwana, Qalingana and Lopila mainly because he was born of Mwaka Nxumalo from King Zwidekalanga of the Nwandwe. This criteria is foremost over the fact that his brothers were born before Mzilikazi became King which is a rather simplistic way of determining succession. If a son of a Royal woman has a wayward behaviour or his health fails him, the King may consider him unfit to succeed him. The King could identify any of his sons that he liked, that has leadership qualities and who can sustain his charisma, King Zwelithini, (August,1996), Senior Prince Gideon Zulu,(1994).This could/can well be any of his sons, including ones born before he is coroneted. The rule is not like a straight line passing through the point of origin showing proportional relationship of all determinant elements. The issue of birth before coronation is not a hats fits all case! There are detailed variations to the rule that are impossible to ignore. The father's choice cannot be reversed by anybody in normal circumstances. Whilst King Mzilikazi had sons born before he was made King, King Lobengula had no sons born before 1870 when he was coroneted. He was married to Mbida kaLodada Mkhwanazi around 1871 and she had no child until 1873.That same year Mhlambi was born of his mother Mfaziwamajaha Mkhwanazi.

These are the dates of birth of King Lobengula's children:


Date of Birth





Sintinga (Tshakalisa)






















For argument's sake, is it likely that after coronation King Lobengula in 1870 had no child for nine (9) years and no-one exclaimed about it or brought 'inhlanzi' to bear a son for MaNdiweni until Njube's birth in 1879?

Why was there so much concern when Mbida could not conceive? This led to two major happenings; treating her using all sorts of medicinal concoctions to induce pregnancy and secondly bringing in inhlanzi, Mfaziwamajaha to bear a son for her aunt? if the children of these two women would not matter in the royal succession?

This makes the painful point that:

 - Prince Nyamande, like all of King Lobengula's children was born after his father's coronation.

 - Prince Nyamande was coroneted by the Chief's Council 25June, 1896 following the King's choice among all his sons that he succeeds him. Prince Mhlambi had to be taken by elders to a hiding place after the King had shown his choice between them. No other child was given to Mlugulu Khumalo and other Chiefs as a successor other than Prince Nyamande.

 - The successor in King Lobengula's House to the Ndebele Throne comes from King Nyamande's House. The settler regime through the BSA Company did havoc to ensure the Ndebele Monarch is never revived again.

 - They persuaded King Nyamande to revoke Kingship and accept to be made a Paramount Chief of Bulawayo. He rejected that offer which resulted in him being banished out of Bulawayo to a restriction camp in the Bembesi forest where in 1929 he died under miserable and very oppressive conditions.

 - Nyamande led the 1896 rebellion (Impi yehloka elibomvu) against the colonial regime.

 - He formed and led the Home Society which was a mechanism of organizing people and create solidarity in the face of disruptions by White settlers.

 - In 1919 he wrote to the Chiefs encouraging them to unite and demand their rights to land.

 - He wrote to the Queen of England demanding the rights of the Ndebele people to rule themselves and own land. The colonialists were cruel to Njube, Mpezeni and Nguboyenja by removing them whilst very young , from the royal stable.

 - They grew up under conditions that were devoid of their culture.

 - The settler regime through the BSA Company promised them that one of them, initially Nguboyenja and then Njube, would be King of the Ndebele. In fact it is clear that they did not want any of the descendants of Lobengula, Nyamande. Nguboyenja or Njube, to rise to be King.

 - In fact, records show that Mpoliyana, mother to Njube told him that Rhodes (referring to one of what was later called Rhodesia) was his father. They also show that Njube wrote to Rhodes pleading to be allowed to go back home and promised never to rebel against him.

 - There is abound evidence around that Njube and Nguboyenja contributed a lot in trying to fight for the case of reviving the Ndebele Monarch. This was despite the glaring fact that Whites had managed to establish strong relationships with the Chiefs that were fathers to both Njube and Nguboyenja's mothers. The two Princes, Njube and Nguboyenja had favours from Whites over the seemingly rebellious Nyamande.

Getting a successor from King Nyamande's house for the Ndebele throne would be the only route within Umthwakazi nation that follows a straight line from father to child. It fulfills cultural procedures of having a future King for the Ndebele people. It is not tainted with any influences of the White colonial regimes or organisations.

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Source - Alton Dewa
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