AmaCirha clan vow to reclaim Xhosa kingdom | The Citizen





A section of AmaXhosa claiming its separate kingship, despite resistance from conservative Xhosa royalists and scholars, has vowed to reclaim its kingdom, come rain or shine.

The AmaCirha clan, who are making the claim, belong to the Royal Kingdom of Nkosiyamntu, son of Malangana in the lineage of Xhosa, Mnguni II and Mnguni I. The AmaCirha claim that “quasi-mythical stories” were sponsored to misrepresent the history of AmaXhosa whereby illegitimate paramount chiefs and chiefs were created and installed to distort the AmaCirha history.

If their claim succeeds in court, it could see the Xhosa kingdom either being relegated to lower level paramount chieftaincy or mere ordinary chieftaincy. The second option, which the AmaCirha favours, would be for these two kingdoms to co-exist.

Commission on traditional leadership disputes

Dr George Tsibani, an AmaCirha representative and senior research associate of Imbumba YamaNyama Council, which is organising the claim and restoration of their kingdom, said their claim was frustrated by  the Nhlapo Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims.

Tsibani said they hoped that the commission that was appointed by former president Thabo Mbeki and chaired by Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo would reinstate the AmaCirha royal kingdom but it failed.

The AmaCirha kingdom was not among those recognised by the commission in its final report, causing dissatisfaction among the AmaCirha.

“We were hoping that a credible process will be followed by the commissioners. Although AmaCirha submitted their claims, their claims were declined based on fictitious stories of blue duiker and Cirha being defeated by his younger brother Tshawe in Dedesi near Escourt in present day KwaZulu-Natal,” Tsibani said.

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He accused the Tolo Commission, a successor to the Nhlapo Commission, which was represented by historian Professor Jeff Peires and cultural activist and heritage expert Dr Nokuzola Mndende, of having conducted a “desktop report” which had errors in arriving to the determination of AmaCirha. 

Distorted history

Tsibani also said the commission soiled the history of AmaCirha kingship and helped to perpetuate the distortion of their nation’s history.

AmaCirha, however, have vowed to install their kingdom in the house of Nkosiyamntu. According to Tsibani, AmaCirha will hold a meeting in Thwathwa near Seymour in the Eastern Cape on Saturday, 17 September 2022, to kick off the process to establish the kingdom.

“This meeting is not just to celebrate their (AmaCirha) survival as a suppressed royal kingdom in a democratic country, but also to establish a process to elect their king as advised by their legal team. Believe it or not, some legitimate kingdoms like the AmaCirha royal kingdom are being erased from history in South Africa for political votes and money. We are not going to let this go unchallenged,” Tsibani said.

He said they decided to act on the issue, informed by the letter, dated 12 February 2020, from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) on the existence of the kingdom.

“The letter from Cogta indicated that the matter can be solved through a court as the determination was made by a retired judge Nhlapo,” Tsibani said.

The AmaCirha claim was inspired by the recent successes of the AmaMpondomise and AmaMpondo to have their respective kingdoms restored.

Tsibani said AmaCirha were going to follow the process contained in section 8 of Traditional Leadership and Khoisan Act 3 of 2019  or approach the Constitutional Court in their dispute.

ericn@citizen.co.za

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