Kgoši Mampuru II, cowardly killer or heroic freedom fighter?

THE hauntingly beautiful whirring of dinaka broke the early morning silence of Mamone, a slumberous village dotted with hillocks formed of clusters of boulders that protrude from the landscape like giant anthills.

In the crowded lapa of the Bapedi Marota Mamone royal homestead located at the base of one of these spectacular rocky hills, an elderly woman in a bright yellow dress pounded on a cowhide drum.

Dudum dum dudum dum dum! Dudum dum dudum dum dum!

Around her forming a vibrating and electrified semi-circle, men stomped the ground in sync to the drum, blowing furiously on their flute like pipes.

Wheeeee wheeee! Wheeeeee wheeeeee! Wheeeeee wheeeee wheeeee!

Another man, his head covered in a hat fashioned from the soft, beautiful skin of a jackal moved around like a spirit medium, blowing on a rusted brass trumpet.

Vuuuuu! Vuuuuuuuu! Vuuuuuu!

elder4
A Bapedi elder in full song during the commemoration ceremony for Kgosi Mampuru II at Mamone Royal Palace near Jane Furse in Limpopo. Kgosi Mampuru II was executed by the Transvaal Republiek government in November 1883 after he refused to recognise the government and pay taxes imposed on Africans. The Bapedi are now engaged in a bitter battle over the throne of the once mighty nation. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba\Mukurukuru Media

A man with a sprinkling of greying beard looked up to the plain blue sky above announcing a swelteringly hot day ahead. He broke into a long monologue, reciting the names of warriors, princess and kings from a bygone era, praising their heroic deeds and the names of great hills and rivers of their lands.

It was an eerily haunting and somewhat beautiful sound, a nostalgic trip down memory lane, to a different time in history, a time of conquest and valor, of fearless and brave warriors standing up to marauding invaders.

Young and old watched awestruck, the spirited dancing and singing leaving them rooted to the royal grounds, soaking it all in, some capturing the moment on cellphones. The nostalgic recital filled the eyes of some with tears. The singing rose and rose and soared high into the cloudless sky, filling it with its raw power and emotion.

Some of the men blowing the pipes seemed lost in the moment, transported to another world way beyond the rocky outcrops of Mamone. Silver haired elders standing on the sidelines shook their heads in disbelief, probably wondering how it must have felt during the time of their ancestors who over a century ago reigned supreme over much of this land and way beyond the rocky outcrops of Mamone.

The elders with weary limbs stood there watching, intoxicated by the blowing of pipes and stomping of feet and the eerie beats from the cowhide drum and the clear, powerful voice of the praise singer.praise-singer

It was January 21 the day the Bapedi Marota Mamone pay homage to their revered hero Kgoši Mampuru II.

Thousands, commoner and royalty descended on the Limpopo village, resting place of the Sekwati princess and kings and seat of the Mampuru Royal House to honour the memory of this ancestor who means different things to the fragmented and warring Bapedi kingdom.

To this day, more than 130 years after his barbarous execution at the hands of the Boers leading the illegitimate Transvaal Republiek, Kgoši Mampuru II’s name continues to be at the centre of bitter division among the Bapedi.

To the Bapedi Marota Mamone, one of at least three royal houses laying claim to the Bapedi Kingship, Mampuru II is a hero, a fearless freedom fighter who stood up to the colonial forces by refusing to pay their imposed taxes and recognizing their illegitimate regimes.

The Bapedi Marota Mamone believe that today, the Bapedi crown should be occupied by one of his direct descendants.

But to the descendants of Sekhukhune I, the slain king means something completely different. The Sekhukhune consider Mampuru II is an illegitimate son born to a woman his father didn’t even want, a cowardly murderer and weakling who chose to flee instead of fighting for the throne.

Mampuru II, son of Bapedi King Sekwati I was executed by the Transvaal Republiek on 22 November 1883. A year earlier, on 13 August 1882, Mampuru II had murdered Kgoši Sekhukhune I, his brother and rival to the Bapedi Marota crown.dinaka9

This spilling of the blood of brother by brother continues to haunt the Bapedi Marota kingdom which at the height of its might in the mid-1800s, covered much of the Lekwebepe [later Transvaal] area between the Lekoa [Vaal] and Lebepe [Limpopo] rivers.

In a bid to settle old scores and claim authority on the crown, different factions of the Bapedi Marota have been engaged in a cold war and numerous legal battles for over 100 years.

In the last of these legal battles, South Africa’s highest legal authority, the Constitutional Court effectively brought finality to the longstanding legal dispute in 2014. In doing so, it also reduced Mampuru II’s legacy to that of a murderer and a coward who when faced with a challenge to his crown, chose to flee instead of taking up arms against his rival Sekhukhune I.

Sekhukhune I took the Bapedi crown by force in 1861 following the death of his father Sekwati I. Mampuru II was the apparent heir to the crown, having been born to Kgomomakatane, a timamollo, the candle wife chosen by royal elders for the sole purpose of bearing an heir.

However, Sekwati’s marriage to the timamollo remains a contentious issue. The Sekhukhune Royal House, descendants of Sekhukhune I, disputes that Sekwati ever married the timamollo and even deny that he fathered Mampuru II, arguing that he was already too old to sire a child by the time the child was conceived by Kgomomakatane.

They also argue that Sekhukhune I, the son of Thorometsane, Sekwati I’s senior wife was the legitimate heir to the crown. They further argue that by wrestling the crown by force from Mampuru II who they regard as an illegitimate child, he had done the honourable thing.

But the Bapedi Marota Mamone, descendants of Mampuru II, argue that according to the custom of Bapedi it is irrelevant who fathers the heir, so long as he is born of the timamollo (candle wife).

In 2014, the Constitutional Court of South Africa dismissed an application by the Bapedi Marota Mamone Traditional Authority which sought the court to declare that the kingdom of Bapedi resorts in their lineage and not that of the Sekhukhune Royal House.

In 2010, the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims set up during President Thabo Mbeki’s administration, ruled that the Bapedi Kingship which had for years been the subject of heated dispute resorted under Sekhukhune I’s lineage.

The Commission was set up in 2003 to investigate traditional leadership disputes and claims dating back to 1927. It concluded that there were only six recognised Kings, Kingships or Queens including the Bapedi Marota. The Commission recognized Kgoši Thulare Victor Thulare as King of the Bapedi. dinaka12

According to evidence presented before the Commission and later to the Constitutional Court, after the death of Sekwati I, his eldest son Sekhukhune I challenged Mampuru II to a fight to determine succession by throwing a spear towards him. However, Mampuru II instead of taking up the challenge and fight to the death, chose to cower and flee.

‘Sekhukhune I went on to bury his father, Sekwati I. He forcefully claimed the kingship. He killed all the supporters of Mampuru II. He gathered all the various traditional leaders who were under his father and challenged them. They all cowered. He then ascended the throne. He further consolidated the Bapedi kingship initially established by Thulare I and Sekwati I,’ the Constitutional Court said in its ruling.

Between 1861 up until 1879, while Mampuru II had fled from his homeland and sought refuge first with Chief Marishane and later among the AmaNdebele where he forged a strong alliance and friendship with King Nyabela Mahlangu, Sekhukhune I built up what became one of the greatest empires in southern Africa.

During his reign Sekhukhune I built up a powerful army which inflicted numerous defeats on the British and Voortrekker invaders. But eventually, in December 1879, with the assistance of an 8 000 – strong army of Swazis, the British finally defeated Sekhukhune I, bringing to an end the reign of the once mighty Bapedi Marota kingdom.

Following his defeat Sekhukhune I was arrested and imprisoned in Pretoria. Mampuru II returned to take over the crown, with the British presiding over his coronation. But his reign over the defeated Bapedi Marota was short lived. He refused to recognize the colonial governments of the British and later the Boer Transvaal Republiek. Once again, he was forced to go into exile, seeking refuge with his trusted ally Nyabela.

After the signing of the Pretoria Convention of 3 August 1881 between Britain and the Boers, Sekhukhune I was released from jail and returned to take over his crown. But this too was shortlived. Mampuru II returned with his supporters and killed Sekhukhune I on the night of 13 August 1882.

After the killing and fearing arrest by the colonial authorities who now ruled over the land through a Native Commissioner, Mampuru II fled again for a third time and sought refuge with Nyabela. The AmaNdebele King refused to hand over Mampuru II to the Boers, telling them he had swallowed him and he was in his stomach.

This eventually led to a months long siege by the Boers in which AmaNdebele suffered a great defeat at Nyabela’s headquarters at KoNomtjarhelo [present day Roos Senekal]. Mampuru II, Nyabela and Marishane were arrested and taken to Pretoria.

Marishane was sentenced to seven years in prison for harbouring Mampuru II. Nyabela was sentenced to death but his sentence was later commuted to life in prison. Mampuru II was sentenced to death by hanging for rebelling against the colonial regimes and for the murder of his brother Sekhukhune I. sad reminder.jpg

The Transvaal Advertiser of November 24 1883 reported thus on Mampuru II’s execution:

‘The Executive Council of this state having decided that the sentence of death pronounced upon the kaffir Chief Mampuru at the last Criminal Sessions of the High Court for murder and rebellion should be carried out, the execution took place on Thursday morning of 22 November.

‘Generally the dread sentence of the law is carried out within the precincts of the gaol, but, for some reason or other, it was resolved to vary the practice in the case of Mampuru, and the gallows was erected on the western side of the gaol, within the enclosure … some 260 white persons took advantage of the opportunity of witnessing a public execution furnished to them by the Executive … these men of education and standing in society … turned out early in the morning to behold a scene that, under any circumstances, is most repulsive and horrible.

‘The Government … enforced the attendance of the kaffir prisoners, who had been more or less compatriots of Mampuru; and they were compelled to witness the death agonies of the Chief. It may be mentioned that the Government did not consider it necessary to provide the condemned prisoner with a shirt, and he was hanged in all his nakedness.’

The New York Times of December 19 1886 painted a gory and barbaric scene of Mampuru II’s demise.

‘Mampuru was led naked to the jail yard in the presence of 200 whites. The first rope used broke when the trap was sprung and Mampuru fell into a pit below. He was dragged out, however, and another attempt to hang him was successful.’

Pretoria Central Prison, where Mampuru II was imprisoned was renamed in his honour by the ANC government in 2013 and is now known as Kgoši Mampuru Management Centre.

Mamone, the seat of the Bapedi Marota Mamone falls under the Sekhukhune District Municipality, renamed in honour of Mampuru II’s bitter rival.dinaka10

In its 2014 judgment the Constitutional Court ruled that the killing of Sekhukhune I by Mampuru II ‘cannot be said to constitute conquest by might and bloodshed as was the common practice in customary law.’

‘The conduct of Mampuru II in killing Sekhukhune I and fleeing to Nyabela is not consistent with the conduct of a person who had come to conquer and take over kingship. With respect, this is the conduct of a common criminal. It is a fact that he paid the ultimate price for the crime he committed.’

The court also ruled that ‘Mampuru II did not kill Sekhukhune I in the context of a challenge between them for kingship as was the case upon Sekwati I’s death in 1861 when Mampuru II fled with his followers and Sekhukhune subsequently usurped kingship.’

The Constitutional Court also upheld the finding by the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims that Sekhukhune I had won the succession battle against Mampuru II upon the death of Sekwati I in 1861, and ascended the throne, as it was not unusual for the kingship to be obtained through might and bloodshed as it was in line with common practice at the time.

The court also ruled that the coronation of Mampuru II by the British after Sekhukhune’s arrest in 1879 ‘cannot be said to be consistent with the customary law of the Bapedi.’

‘There is no evidence that the Bakgoma, Bakgomana and Dikgadi sanctioned or were part of the alleged coronation. The deposition of Sekhukhune I and the subsequent coronation of Mampuru II by the British Government can simply be seen as a unilateral act of a colonial master who disregarded the laws and practices of the indigenous Bapedi nation.’

Although the Constitutional Court is the highest court in the land, its ruling has however failed to bring to a close this century old dispute over the Bapedi kingship. Even long after brothers Mampuru II and Sekhukhune I were killed, deep divisions prevail among the descendants of both men. The Sekhukhune themselves are divided over who is the rightful ruler. And so are the Mampuru. elder3

The Sekhukhune family has been battling since the 1960s, with brothers Thulare Rhyne Sekhukhune and Kgagudi Kenneth Sekhukhune vying for the throne.

Thulare, who was registered as King Sekhukhune III after his birth on December 24 1946 went to his grave in 2006 without having resolved the battle with his brother.

Thulare’s mother Mankopodi served as regent between 1965 and 1974 while her son and heir was completing his studies. On completion of his law studies from the University of the North, Thulare was unable to take over the throne due to internal strife within the family.

Two years later, in 1976, while he was working as a clerk in the Germiston magistrate’s court in the Witwatersrand, his brother Kgagudi was offered the crown by the royal council. This later resulted in a long, protracted and bitter court battle between Thulare and Kgagudi.

This was after Thulare returned to reclaim his crown but Kgagudi refused to step down. The Lebowa Bantustan administration further fueled the raging fire by recognizing Thulare as the rightful king.

The Pretoria Supreme court eventually ruled in favour of Kgagudi, saying the royal council had not acted fairly and he should stay on as king. Thulare died a sickly and bitter man in December 2006, a king without a kingdom.

In the wake of his death, it emerged that a commission headed by academic Professor Ralushai had concluded that Thulare was indeed the rightful king of the Bapedi. However, this had been swept under the carpet by the ANC provincial government for fear of stoking the long raging fires. Although Thulare’s son Thulare Victor Thulare is the officially recognized Kgoši of the Bapedi, his uncle Kgagudi Kenneth Sekhukhune is refusing to relinquish his position. Yet, the dispute rages.

chained-woman
A woman chained herself as a symbol of the suffering experienced by Kgosi Mampuru II during his incarceration by the Transvaal Boer Republiek in 1883. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba\Mukurukuru Media

The Mampuru are also divided over who among them is the rightful heir in their lineage. The Mafate Tubatse Mampuru Royal Council is also laying claim to the crown and have been plotting to challenge the Bapedi Marota Mamone and the Sekhukhune.

Marota Mamone want government to recognise Billy Mampuru III, a great grandson of Mampuru II as the rightful heir to the Bapedi kingship.

‘This Mampuru house is the most senior house and according to our tradition Kgoši Mampuru is the right heir to the Bapedi nation,’ Seraki Mampuru of the Marota Mamone Royal council told a gathering of thousands who had come to honour his slain ancestor in Mamone.

Seraki who has been spearheading the campaign by the Bapedi Marota Mamone to challenge for the crown. He is a huge critic of government and Sekhukhune I’s legacy, labelling him an opportunist, an illicit gun runner who sacrificed his people in pursuit of power.

Minister of Justice and correctional services Joel Masutha and Minister of Public Service and Administration Ngoako Ramatlhodi were in attendance. But old divisions remained apparent as the Sekhukhune shunned the event to honour their ancestor.

In three large marquees on an open field near the royal homestead, thousands sat to listen to speeches in praise of Mampuru II. mampuru-invite

An eerie artwork depicting Mampuru II’s final moments in the form of a wooden statue of a man with a noose tied around his neck from a wooden platform stood facing the crowds beneath a large statue where over a dozen dignitaries sat facing the gathered crowds.

It was a grim reminder of how a brutal, illegitimate regime meddling in the affairs of a sovereign kingdom sent a man who stood up against its bullying to a barbaric, beastly and savage demise before a crowd of ignorant onlookers.

It is tragic though, that even after these many years the Bapedi remain a fragmented nation, a people who when elsewhere in the world nations and tribes are coming together, they remain deeply divided over the acts of their ancestors who may possibly have long made peace in the after life.-©Mukurukuru Media Enterprise

Sources and further reading:

http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/king-sekhukhune

http://www.gov.za/sites/www.gov.za/files/Reports%20for%20paramountcies_0.pdf

http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol144ds.html

http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/sowetan/archive/2007/01/30/sekhukhune-funeral-to-go-ahead

http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/2014/36.html

http://www.justice.gov.za/m_speeches/2016/20160323_GallowsExhumationProject.html

17 Comments

  1. The chieftaincy of this people is complicated and it will never be resolved.and we also wish to hear more of this people beacause it seems like they are full of hatred amongst themselves.and they greedy.

  2. This regency or kingdom is complicated and if they dont get their house in order then Zulu nation will become the greater one and enjoy state previllages as we have seen with King Goodwill Zwelithini

  3. I don’t recognize Mampuru as the king of Bapedi. He was never crowned as Bapedi. His descendants lost a court battle up to 4 times but not limited to the ruling of the Court of Appeal. Justice Dikgang Moseneke presided over the chieftaincy case between the descendants of Sekhukhune and the descendants of Mampuru. Mampuru’s descendants lost the case. Strangely – Pretoria C-Max Prison is still refered to as Kgosi Mampuru plus the Potgieter Street despite having established scientifically that he was not a king. As the descendant of king Nyabela Mahlangu – I take offence in the naming convention used to name the prison and Potgieter street. Had it not have been for Mampuru who sought asylum from Nyabela – Nyabela wouldn’t have been arrested and served 15 years of his life sentence at the present day Kgosi Mampuru prison. After killing king Sekhukhune he sought asylum with Nyabela which prompted president Paul Kruger to expedite general Piet Joubert and the commandos to go and hunt for Mampuru so he could face the charge of killing his brother Sekhukhune plus a battery of other charges but not limited to defiance of Tax. I take offence in the discriminatory naming of these 2 public infrastructures. On the one hand – every year in January a commemoration of Mampuru and Nyabela is held at Mamone in Limpopo. There, a battery of false stories is told. It is said Nyabela and Mampuru died side by side. However, how is that solidarity demonstrated as far as the naming of the prison and its street is concerned? If they were friends as it is proclaimed – then one of the infrustructures should be named after King Nyabela Mahlangu to show the intertwined relationship between the 2 men. For now – despite the major role Nyabela played to harbour Mampuru and to secrefies his own life and the chieftaincy of Nzunza Mabhoko in favour of Mampuru – his foot prints are totally erased from the History books and inundatedly replaced with Mampuru’s name. I shall never attend the Mamone commemoration until a day the solidarity of Nyabela and Mampuru is equally represented between C-Max prison and Potgieter street. I take Ndebele’s who help to commemorate the Mamone commemoration as sell outs. One cannot celebrate such a distorted History. I will gladly attend the Mamone commeration a day Potgieter Street is named after King Nyabela because he spent 15 years in that prison whereas Mampuru was executed in the grounds of the prison in (public) execution – not inside the prison.

    1. Thank you for the comment ‘Hlangu. Very interesting and critical take that needs to be put out there in the public for dissection and consumption. I’m interested in Ikosi Nyabela’s final days and as to where his remains are buried? Is this ever discussed at eRholweni gathering? Are there efforts to find Nyabela’s grave\remains? I agree with you that his name has been conveniently left out the history of our earliest freedom fighters. In the case of Mampuru, I think they are using the term Kgoshi as in chief because they have lost both the traditional and court battle to have him recognised as king. He was only coronated by the British after killing Sekhukhune, but that didn’t qualify him as King because a King can only be coronated by the royal council. Let’s talk some more and help to rewrite Africa’s history. Thanks

      1. Ledwaba,

        Thank you for your interest in my posting. Nyabela’s remains are traced at Wonderboom Airport. It is not true that his grave site is Wonderboom where the where the tree of wonder is. The king that was buried under that tree was Musi father to Manala, Nzunza, Mthombeni, Mhwaduba, Silamba etc. Musi must be the greatest grandfather to Nyabela. When Nyabela was released from prison in 1899 after serving 15 years of his life sentence – he was ordered never to return to his nation eRholweni. He then romoured around Pretoria. He took refugee with one Msiza family until he died on the 19 December 1904 whereas Paul Kruger who ordered his arrest had died on 14 July of the same year. Nyabela was probably buried by the Msiza family whose home stead was right inside the Wonderboom Airport at Dornpoort/Sinoville. The Msiza’s said to have been forced to relocate in Klipgat in the vicinity of Hammanskraal. If one can interview them am sure they have a lot of oral history about the remains of Nyabela. Some years ago – one morning on current affairs I overheard someone say that they found his grave whose tomb is written in a faint white paint as “Njabela” taking into consideration that the whites pronounce “Nyabela” as Njabela. That could probably be his grave I am very alarmed.

        This is the extension of the above posting that I posted to my pen pals. I hope you will enjoy it. Its just the edited version……..

        SHOULD WE BE PROUD OR SAD?

        Once again we are in the Heritage Month. It is once again that time to review our history so that we can gain a momentum to go forward. I generally use this month evaluate a lot of things. Our history is shamefully distorted. I am not proud of the Ndebele history and I shall never until a day it is straightened up. I don’t wanna feel like an underdog of those who decide and dictate to us what we should or shouldn’t celebrate.

        I don’t recognize Mampuru as the king of Bapedi. He was never crowned as Bapedi king according to the then tradition of Bapedi nevertheless he was born of a senior wife. His descendants lost a court battle up to 4 times but not limited to the ruling of the Court of Appeal. Justice Dikgang Moseneke presided over the chieftainship battle between the descendants of Sekhukhune and the descendants of Mampuru. Mampuru’s descendants lost the case in and around 2012. Well, I have no problem with their succession procedure – I am just worried as to what is the significance of the Court ruling if the prison and street are still referred to as “Kgosi” Mampuru not just Mampuru Prison or Mampuru Street? Moreover – why is Nyabela’s role so overwhelmingly ignored in this episode. This is strange. Whom ever renamed C-Max prison and Potgieter street should at least have taken into consideration the paramount role King Nyabela played in defending Mampuru. Nyabela was my grand mother’s grandfather. He is my maternal greatest grandfather. Co-incidentally I am also Mahlangu nevertheless Nyabela is from my mother’s side. Nyabela last daughter is my mother’s direct grandmother. We unveiled her tomb last year at Siyabuswa vicinity having passed on in March 1987 as a centenarian – lived over 100 years.

        Strangely – Pretoria C-Max Prison is still referred to as Kgosi Mampuru plus the Potgieter Street despite having established scientifically that he was not a king. As the descendant of king Nyabela Mahlangu myself – I take offence in the naming convention used to name the prison and Potgieter street. It is a bias and the worst form of naming convention.

        Had it not have been for Mampuru who sought asylum from Nyabela – Nyabela wouldn’t have been arrested in the first place and served 15 years of his life sentence at the present day Kgosi Mampuru prison. Why is that fact not taken into consideration? After killing king Sekhukhune he sought asylum with Nyabela which prompted president Paul Kruger to expedite general Piet Joubert and the commandos to hunt and apprehend Mampuru so he could face the charge of killing his brother Sekhukhune plus a battery of other charges but not limited to defiance of Tax. I take offence in the discriminatory naming convention of these 2 public infrastructures – Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility and Kgosi Mampuru Street.

        On the one hand – every year in January a commemoration of Mampuru and Nyabela is held at Mamone in Limpopo. There, a battery of stories is told. It is told against a background of crooked and deliberately distorted history. It is said Nyabela and Mampuru died side by side. Yes that is so true! However, how is that solidarity demonstrated as far as the naming of the prison and its street is concerned? How can we prove this solidarity?

        If they were as friends as it is proclaimed – then one of the infrastructures should be named after King Nyabela Mahlangu to show the intertwined relationship between the two men. For now – despite the major role Nyabela played to harbour Mampuru and to sacrifice his own life and the chieftaincy of Nzunza Mabhoko in favour of Mampuru – his foot prints are totally erased from the History books and inundatedly replaced with Mampuru’s name. I wonder why? I don’t see the reason to be proud of these two men’s solidarity. One of them is over represented and the other is totally misrepresented. What I hate with Mamone Commemoration is that the superior role Nyabela played in this episode of Mapoch (Mabhoko) Aglo War is irritatingly twisted to make it look like Mampuru was a main character. What informs the speakers to regard Nyabela as junior to Mampuru? Should we be proud of that – if I may ask you? No sorry.

        I shall never attend the Mamone commemoration until a day the solidarity of Nyabela and Mampuru is equally represented between C-Max prison and Potgieter street. I don’t take the Ndebele’s seriously who help to commemorate the distorted history at the Mamone Commemoration. One cannot celebrate such a distorted History. I will gladly attend the Mamone Commemoration a day Potgieter Street is named after King Nyabela because Nyabela spent 15 years in that prison whereas Mampuru was executed on the grounds of the prison in (public) execution – not inside the prison. Naming one of the two infrastructures after King Nyabela shall stamp/ascertain what people have to say of Nyabela and Mampuru solidarity – at least. I know very well that the Mamone Commemoration can still proceed even if I boycott it alone but let those who have guts to commemorate it against this crooked and distorted background do so.

        My question is – up to when are the Ndebele’s going to continue to support the Mamone Commemoration proclaiming solidarity betweeen Nyabela and Mampuru but failing to name the infrastructures in a way that is representative of their assertions? Given this bias and discriminatory naming convention, that says nothing about us, should we be proud or sad about Mamone Annual Commemoration?

        This is all the news that matters when it matters

  4. Ledwaba,

    Mampuru was crowned a king by the British during king Sekhukhune’s brief imprisonment around 1877/79. Sekhukhune himself served a sentence at the present day Kgosi Mampuru Prison. Upon his release in December 1879 he prophesied, he said, “you the people of black hair, should you not be united like a bundle of wood I feel sorry for you. After me going forward there shall be no other king that shall fight and defeat Pretoria. All the kings that shall come after me shall be the informers of Pretoria. In the end, all of you shall work in Pretoria.” What a prophecy!! Look now – all roads lead to Pretoria. I some times pause I watch. Aircrafts, trains, buses, lorries, vans, sedans, motorcycles, bicycles, donkey carts, horse wagons, ox wagons, pedestrians – all of them compete for going to work in Pretoria. Robala ka khutso Tau yamariri. Sekhukhune sebonwa ke sebatalali. Lebowa la kgomo le goma ka lekwa. Urefe matla one onawona retle rekgone golokisa lefase lana. There is no ancient king that I respect more than king Sekhukhune. He formed basis for the establishment of ANC which today takes traditional leadership for granted. Mandela mentioned his name on the 20 April 1964 when he lectured the Pretoria High Court during his Treason trial.

    1. Sekhukhune is a mokgomana wa moshate as for nyabela his descendants are not recognised as the kings of the Amandebele. King Mampuru ll was a born King as he was the rightful heir to the Bapedi nation also a son of a tribal candle. Nyabela is from the Junior house.As for you Mr Ledwaba you seems to have a hidden agenda.

      1. Mr Mampuru, I don’t see any reason why on earth I would harbour any hidden agenda on this historic matter. I know you are an interested party who has lost this case so many times, hence you choose to not only cast doubts on my person, but you also choose to be selective about the facts so they favour your version. Nyabela was King of the Ndzundza Ndebele and you know that very well but for some reason you choose to distort or ignore this glaring fact. Please, let’s argue or debate without being personal. Let’s stick to the facts

    2. Mr Ledwaba with all due respect Mampuru was never crowned by the British. In our culture, you cannot be crowned by people who totally have no knowledge about the ethics, practices and traditions.

      1. Mr Magolego, thank you so much for your feedback. It is true that the British did coronate Mampuru. However this was controversial and not recognised as coronation is the sole responsibility of the bakgoma and bakgomana [royal council]. It is important to note that the British wante to form an alliance with Mampuru because he was hostile to the Boers and also his brother Matsebe/Sekhukhune was hostile to the British who eventually defeated him with the assistance of the Swazis. Mampuru’s coronation by the British has remained the subject of discussion for over a century and remains at the heart of debates on whether he or Matsebe/Sekhukhune was the rightful king/heir.

  5. very, very interesting because I’m a descendant of Musi, whose son Mthombeni later changed his name to Gegana\Kekana and had a son Lidwaba\Maraba now Ledwaba due to colonial administration blunders. I have been to Wonderboom and was told Nyabela could be buried there but I doubted this because in my understanding he had been banished from Pretoria. Interestingly, Wonderboom airport is close to Bon Accord, which was the seat of Musi’s kingdom KwaMnyamana, where the split between the Ndzundza and Manala is reputed to have happened. I think it is our responsibility as citizens and descendants of these great men to research, document and correct the inaccuracies in our history for the sake of future generations. I actually came across a photograph of Nyabela serving his sentence at Pretoria prison while doing research for the Mampuru article. The Mampuru are now also searching for his remains. In terms of Mampuru, it is clear that he was never king of the Marota Empire. He refused to fight over the crown with his brother Matsebe\Sekhukhune but fled instead. Then he came back and killed Sekhukhune, before fleeing again. I find the relationship between Mampuru and Nyabela quite fascinating though. They were comrades in arms in a true sense of the word. Nyabela even went to the extent of sacrificing his own kingdom to protect Mampuru from Paul Kruger. Now I need to follow up on the Musi issue. Is his grave marked or is it under the wonder tree? Also, I will make a point of following up on the issue of Nyabela’s grave. Will try to get photographic evidence if possible. Thank you. Let’s continue sharing information

  6. Ledwaba,

    Thank you for responding to my previous posting. I am told that Musi’s grave is underneath the wonder tree. Anther school of thought says that a dead log was planted on his grave (supposedly to mark it or whatever) but that dead log resurrected and germinated leaves and branches hence the name “wonderboom.” However – I strongly believe that Musi’s grave either underneath the wonder tree or below it.

    With regards to Nyabela’s grave – I suppose your starting point will be locate the Msiza who are traced in Klipgat. I am told the Msiza and Bhuda homestead was removed from wonderboom airport to make room for the airport not very long ago. I am almost certain that even if the elders might have been extinct – the young ones might have oral history taken from their elders. I am almost certain that Nyabela’s grave is inside the yard of the airport in question.

    Again – never undermine the Afrikaans sources. Visit Afrikaans archives if you’ve got time. Remember – Afrikaners are keen writers and determined nature conservationists. Make no mistake! Moreover – they are the ones who perpetuated and inflicted military offensives unto the blacks. There is no king of the 1800s who never had a brush-up with RSA military among others: king Sekhukhune,king Nyabela, king Dingane, king Mbambatha Zondi, king Makhado, king Moshoeshoe, king Hintsha, king Mphephu with the exception of king Sobhuza whom I suppose what the scout of the Boers and English, this is why he assisted them to launch an offensive against Sekhukhune which saw Sekhukhune suffering a shameful defeat to the English and ended up in jail. So they have first class information about what transpired. when I’ve got time I do read their publications and one gets very resourceful information.

    With regards to the usage of the title “Kgosi” in Mampuru’s case – what the significance of the Court ruling against Mampuru’s chief in favour of Sekhukhune’s chiefdom is this title is still used to refer to Mampuru as a king? This ruling is reminiscent of the ruling against Nkandla with consequences. If the prison needs to be named after Mampuru by virtue of having died there – let it be so but the title “Kgosi” be removed. He as not a king after all. A Pedi speaking person cannot be crowned by English as king on behalf the Pedis and claim to be Pedi king – that’s impractical and weird. It is my understanding that when King Sekwati passed on the 26 September 1961 he had given Sekhukhune the throne. So Sekhukhune was crowned in terms of the Bapedi custom therefore he is a legitimate king. Again – it remains strange as to why did Mampuru assassinate Sekhukhune and run away to Nyabela instead of seizing power if it was a power struggle. His gestures constitute criminal offence as opposed to struggle for power. And why did his fellow Pedi speaking people chase him if he was a king?

    There is a clear indication that soon after he assassinated Sekhukhune he first clashed with his fellow Pedis before the boers’ government intervened by summoning him to present himself to the Court of Law to face murder charges. I can now assert that it was because of Mampuru that Nyabela ended up in Pretoria. Had it not have been for Mampuru – there wouldn’t been any need for Paul Kruger to expedite general Piet Joubert and expedition to arrest king Nyabela. there wouldn’t have been a reason in any case. But now – look at the naming convention taking place between King Mampuru Prison and King Mampuru Street. This bias naming convention alienated Nyabela and the role he played without any shame or fear. I wonder why?

  7. AN EVALUTION OF WHETHER OR NOT MAMPURU WAS A KING AND AN EVALUTION OF WHETHER OR NOT THE PRETORIA PRISON WAS NAMED CORRECTLY AS (KING) MAMPURU

    1. Let me take you step-by-step. I am going to try to be as objective as possible. I concur with Mr. Ledwaba. Mampuru was not never a king. Upon the death of King Sekwati – King Sekhukhune and Mampuru’s father who was a polygamist – who died on the 26 September 1861 – his son who answered to the name of Sekhukhune born of the junior wife became the successor after his father who had inherited the kingship from his father King Thulare. Nevertheless Sekhukhune (1814-1882 August 13) was born of the junior wife he was (seemingly) older than Mampuru. Sekhukhune became a recognized heir to the throne having been hand picked by his late father king Sekwati. Some school of thought advocate that Sekhukhune usurped the kingship upon the death of his father. This is not true.

    2. Sekhukhune was duly coronated in terms of the Bapedi Marota customs. On the other hand – Mampuru was never coronated in terms of Bapedi customs – instead he was politically imposed as a king of Bapedi by the English after the English conquered Sekhukhune and imprisoned him around 1877. This was a clandestine game to the highest order! By virtue of being born of the senior wife – Mampuru claimed that he was the rightful heir to the throne hence he tried to establish his impromptu kingship alongside the rein of king Sekhukhune. He tried from time to time to topple Sekhukhune, but the history has it that at one point Sekhukhune became fed-up with him, he threw him a spear and challenged him to stab each other with spear. He said, if you can defeat me then you can defeat me, I will surrender the kingship. However, Mampuru feared Sekhukhune and retreated.

    3. Sekhukhune was a passionate fighter. Sekhukhune was a brave and wise king. What is wisdom – to start with. Wisdom the ability to anticipate the consequence. Before Sekhukhune engaged into a war with the Boers he clandestinely sourced the guns from the Mozambican Portuguese exchanging them with the cattle he stole from the Boers. When president Thomas Burgers launched an offensive against king Sekhukhune – he had never seen or heard that king Sekhukhune had a cache/arsenal of guns. After they engaged into a fully flagged war – king Sekhukhune flabbergasted president Thomas Burgers with a heil of bullets. That was a total surprise since he approached him with the mentality that says a black man fights with bow and arrow or with stones or with knop kierie or he is quick to beg for mercy. President Thomas Burgers and his soldiers went back to Pretoria from Burgersforth on foot one by one. Udlalela uSekhukhune wena!

    4. Ke Sekhukhune. Sekhukhune sebonwa ke sebataladi. Ke tau ya mariri. Lebowa la kgomo le goma ka Lekwa. This was a shameful defeat that most Afrikaans speaking people are still ashamed of. The Afrikaners call the war between king Sekhukhune and president Thomas Burger “Die Huis toe gaan oorlog’. uSekhukhune wabashaya “hamba khaya!” He kept the stolen cattle inside the cliff called which later became known as Steelpoort. He fought and won 3 of the 4 big wars in his life time. He dedicated his whole life to war and he mastered the war tactics. (1) He fought and won the Afrikaners under the command of president Thomas François Burgers, hence the geographical name Burgersforth next to Steelpoort. After president Thomas Burgers was embarrassingly defeated by King Sekhukhune, without waste of time president Thomas Burgers was recalled and replaced with the then Army Commander Mr. Stephunus Johannes Paulus (Paul) Kruger (10-10-1825 to 04 July 1904. In his inaugural speech, president Paul Kruger promised the Afrikaners that he was going to do his best to deal with black people and that his immediate task was to deal with tax defaulters, refugees (die donderse uitlanders) and black people who were staying in the mountains and in caves. One thing that I commend President Paul Kruger for was his meaningful Foreign Policy. His Foreign Policy was unambiguous reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s. Had Paul Kruger lived – the wouldn’t be any refugee here. Even the English had to count their stepped and take thoroughly calculated reason for coming to South Africa. Paul Kruger had the passion for boarder control. Make no mistake!

    5. Listen. Paul Kruger effected an everlasting effect in the lives of black people. He destroyed the kingship of Pedis and that of Ndebeles – literally. He imprisoned and executed some. (2) Sekhukhune fought and defeated the English under the command of Sir Theophilus Shepstone after whom Port Shepstone in KZN was named. (3) He fought and defeated the Swazis under the command of King Sobhuza. (4) He was unfortunately defeated by the English Sir Garnet Wolseley in 1877 and imprinted in Pretoria. On the 28 November 1879 Sekhukhune was freed from the Pretoria prison – the present-day Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility. It is Sir Garnet Wolseley who coronated Mampuru as the paramount chief of Bapedi partly because Mampuru had liberal political principles against the whites as opposed his brother king Sekhukhune. The Afrikaners and the English wanted a liberal king so that that could manipulate the black folk. Again – Mampuru was not duly coronated in terms of the Pedi tradition but he was politically imposed unto the Pedis when the paramount Chief (ungangomhlaba, isilo samabandla) King Sekhukhune who was appointed by his late father and duly endorse by all Pedis by ceremony languished in jail. This is irritating!

    6. Oops! Coincidentally – both King Nyabela Mahlangu and Paul Kruger were born in 1825 and they both died in 1904. Interesting coincidence.

    7. In December 1879 King Sekhukhune prophesied. He said, and I quote, “you the people of black hair – I feel sorry for you. Should you not unit like a bundle of wood, in the end all of you are going to work in Pretoria. I am the only king that can fight Pretoria and defeat them. After me going forward – all the kings that will follow are going to be the informers of Pretoria. All of you are going to work in Pretoria.” ….“Lena batho bameriri ementsu, ke le kwela bohluku. Kenna fela kgosi ekgona golwa le Petoria ebe ke fenye. Go tloga monna goya pele – makgosi atlatla ka morago gaka atlo ba di mpimpi tsa Petoria. Kamoka ga lena letlobereka Petoria. Amen. Hallelujah! Ngizizwa ngiphelelwa amandla. Today, all the roads lead to Pretoria. What is happening is exactly what King Sekhukhune prophesied. Robala ka kgotso Tau yamariri.

    8. King Sekhukhune advocated for the Republic of Lebowa Kgomo. He never wanted his Lebowa to be annexed into the Transvaal Republic. Instead he wanted his independent country. He chased away all whites but not limited to the Missionaries who would be from time to time be expedited to go and confuse people with Religion. He banished them from his territory.

    9. One the night of the 13 August 1882 Mampuru assassinated King Sekhukhune who was then 68 years. Instead of taking the throne he ran away and sought asylum with chief Marishane Masemula. Sekhukhune’s proponents chased him, and he ran away and sought asylum with chief Makhani – one of King Nyabela Mahlangu’s sub-kings. He realized that he was not safe. They drove him out of Makhani’s homestead. He ran over to the headquarters of King Nyabela Mahlangu at eRholwani. One would wonder why Nyabela provided a murderer with asylum. There is a school of thought that says, in terms of a particular convention, it was agreed that black people might fight one another but when a black man was engaged into a war with white man then all blacks should stand together. King Nyabela (1825-1904) offered Mampuru an asylum simply because president Paul Kruger had summoned Mampuru to hand himself to the Chief Justice to be tried for murder. By a particular convention – Nyabela was duty bound to defend Mampuru against prosecution – by whites.

    10. Now watch out carefully! Mampuru was a liberal (so-called) king during the Sekhukhune imprisonment. His kingship principles were accommodative of whites and their aspirations among others exploitation of the mineral resources, exploitation of labourer….He did literally everything that Sekhukhune did or didn’t do in the other way round to favour the whites and their aspirations. Fine. The English and the Boers enticed him with the blood of his brother. After he killed him – they charged with him with murder and sought him, hunted him so that he could be tried for murder – all of the sudden. Why did whites not celebrate and pat Mampuru on the shoulder after he assassinated their adversary King Sekhukhune. Instead they hunted him, captured him, tried him and sentenced him to death by hanging. This marked the end of the ruleship of the Pedis as President Paul Kruger had promised in his inaugural speech after president Thomas Burgers was unceremoniously recalled owing to the defeat by “K…” koning Sekhukhune. You know the “K” word. It was disingenuous of them to charge Mampuru with Murder and end up straggling him whereas Sekhukhune’s death served as a victory for whites in principle. Logically the whites should have hero-worshiped Mampuru for eliminating their enemy. Mampuru killed Sekhukhune deeply assured that the government of Paul Kruger was going applause his act of killing but unfortunately, he was taken for a ride. This is so strange!

    11. In October 1882 president Paul Kruger expedited General Piet Joubert and army of commandos to and hunt, apprehend and detain Mampuru so that he could be tried for killing. So strange, considering the liberal relationship Mampuru had with the whites compared to their radical life time adversary, King Sekhukhune. Against that background – why was Mampuru’s life not spared by whites? Asazi! General Piet Joubert and the army left Pretoria and took to King Nyabela’s headquarters at eRholweni/Roossenekal. The army procession followed N4 East bound up to Middleburg. They then branched into R555 Steelpoort Rd up to Stoffberg. When they were at the Botha’s Mountain Pass they paused and camped. General Piet Joubert dispatched a semi naked soldier holding a white flag aloof to go and ask King Nyabela to release Mampuru over to general Piet Joubert. King Nyabela told General Piet Joubert via the message that he was not prepared to release Mampuru. General Piet Joubert and the army advanced. When they were at Laersdrift Police Station – once again General Piet Joubert dispatched a semi-naked soldier/messenger to go and give King Nyabela an ultimatum. He said, “go and tell Nyabela to release Mampuru otherwise I am advancing.” King Nyabela said to the messenger, “tell Piet to come here – I will slaughter him an ox, but he won’t get Mampuru. Tell him that if he really wants – he must open my stomach because I have swallowed him, but get, he will not get him.”

    12. Oops! According to the war ethics. A message bearer is never killed. In the olden days there were no telecommunication facilities hence a message bearer was stripped naked, given a white flag (flag of peace) to take a message to the opposing side.

    13. After the message bearer delivered the message – General Piet Joubert and commandos advanced. On the 12 October 1882 the war that would last for the next successive 10 months ensued. In defense of Mampuru against the boers forces King Nyabela shot and killed two prominent white warriors who answered to the names of Stephanus Johannes Roos and Frederick Senekal respectively. In 1886 the adjacent town of Roossenekal was proclaimed and named after the two warriors who were the first to die during the insurgency. King Nyabela king some more 19 members of the president Paul Kruger’s army. He stroke some by lighting!

    14. Now watch here. You will remember that before Paul Kruger dispatched General Piet Joubert to go and fight King Nyabena in demand of Mampuru the Pedis were already divided by the assassination of King Sekhukhune. Underline that please. From the word go they chased Mampuru and he jumped from one territory to another in search of an asylum. Now the history has it that some 1500 Pedis (supposedly) the proponents of King Sekhukhune assisted the white army to fight King Nyabela in demand of Mampuru. Ridiculously it is said that the whites gave them picks and shovels to dig a tunnel from behind the headquarters of King Nyabela. Among the tools and material used to dig for Mampuru and Nyabela was a dynamite. The whites blasted the big rocks and let the pro-Sekhukhune Pedis dig with picks and shovels. LOL!

    15. You will perhaps agree with me when I say the division of the Pedi kingship which resulted into the assassination of king Sekhukhune had a tremendously negative bearing on the Nzunza Mabhoko Kingship which was led my King Nyabela (1825-1904 Dec 19). Would be wrong if I could say the internal divisions of the Pedi kingship affected Nzunza Mabhoko Kingship in a big and bad way? Had Mampuru not been ambitious, killed his brother and sought asylum with Nyabela, Nyabela would have been captured, detained and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Ndebele Kingship wouldn’t have been affected at all. Can you see how glamourous is the history? Now you tell me, where does the expression that says “Matebele ne a di patile kamosheng, magowa abantsha ka jeme ha..ha…ha…ha…ha…ha?” I am not sure of the jam story but yes indeed the Ndebele king, King Nyabela hid inside the cave and he was unceremoniously retrieved by Boer forces together with the impromptu king of Bapedi – Mampuru. The two kings and a large number of their lieutenants were besieged with hunger for 10 months.

    16. In April 1883 one of Mampuru’s soldiers was forced by hunger to hand himself over to general Piet Joubert. He gave general Piet Joubert and information that led General Piet Joubert to stop firing and blasting the rocks. Mampuru’s soldier told General Piet Joubert that the people inside the cave had run out of water and food supply and that they were divided. A larger majority wanted to get out (and present themselves to the Boer forces) while a minority was against the move. This information was sufficient for Piet Joubert to save his dynamites and hands granites but to employ and war tactic called, besiege with hunger. King Nyabela with Mampuru under his armpit was besiefed with hunger for some more 4 months. On the 08 July 1883 King Nyabela sent a messenger to General Piet Joubert to tell that the war was over. Piet Joubert said the condition for the end of the war was for him to hand over Mampuru. At no time Mampuru and his lieutenants were seen coming out of the Mabhoko Cave. They were apprehended.

    17. General Piet Joubert sent a message to Pretoria to inform president Paul Kruger that he had captured Mampuru. In reply – Paul Kruger said to Piet Joubert “vang al daar die k…ffers en bring hulle almal hier”. Piet Joubert then capture King Nyabela as well. He tied them hand to hand and drove them on foot from Roossenekal to Pretoria some 300km. Imagine walking over 300km.

    18. When the two prisoners – Nyabela and Mampuru arrived in Pretoria fastened together hand in hand – a carnival was organized to celebrate the victory of General Piet Joubert against King Nyabela Mahlangu which came to be known as The Mapoch Oorlog. Beautiful maidens and clean horses were made to dance for Piet Joubert. In the history of South Africa wars – Mabhoko Aglo War took the longest. There is no any other war that lasted for more than 10 months every day. This is how determined was King Nyabela Mahlangu. On the 22 September 1883 Mampuru tried and sentenced to death by hanging. One the 22 September 1883 Nyabela was sentenced to death (later his sentence commuted to life imprisonment. On Thursday morning 22 November 1983 Mampuru was executed. Nyabela was forced to go and watch his comrade being straggled. It is said that some 260 whites took off from work to behold that horrible spectacle. They Nyabela cried hilariously to see Mampuru falling from the careless tied noose and being hoisted again. Nyabela served 15 years of his life imprisonment in the present-day Kgosi Mampuru prison. Why why is that not considered?

    19. Using the above facts – let us determine whether or not the naming convention used to name the Pretoria prison after Mampuru was correct. Hereabove we applied the science of evidence to reveal who Mampuru was and what he stood for. After proving that Mampuru was not a king, why all of the sudden the Pretoria prison was renamed after him. Don’t you think this is a misnomer. Basing on the fact that the Supreme Court of South Africa and the Court of Appeal dismissed the kingship of Mampuru – it remains a misnomer to call the former C-Max Prison (Kgosi) Mampuru. Let it be called Mampuru by virtue of having taken his last breath in that prison but using the title “Kgosi” is a total a misnomer considering the outcome of the Court presided over by Honorable Justice Dikgang Moseneke. What is the significance of a Court judgment if the title “Kgosi” is used to refer to Mampuru even if it was scientifically and legally proven that he was not a king? He was not a king! One day Justice Dikgang Moseneke shall have to answer tough questions on this front.

    20. Taking into consideration the role played by King Nyabela Mahlangu in defense of Mampuru – do you think it makes sense to name everything (the street, the prison) after Mampuru without consideration the role played by King Nyabela Mahlangu in protecting and defending Mampuru. Nyabela compromised our kingship to help solve the Pedis’ problems. Why is that not demonstrated in the intertwined naming of the public infrastructures? When Mampuru his under the armpit of King Nyabela in the Mabhoko Cave – Nyabela was the main character and Piet Joubert was the second main character in this episode. Now, after attaining freedom – all of the sadden Nyabela’s foot prints have been literally erased from the history books and over shadowed with (Kgosi) Mampuru. Given the brotherhood King Nyabela portrayed to Mampuru, where he concealed him for 10 months without water and food, where he killed the white warriors and stroke others with lightning, where he endured the sounds of the blasting of the dynamites and exchange of gun fire with Piet Joubert’s army, walking with him arm in arm for 300km to Pretoria, enduring the spectacle of watching Mampuru being straggled, crying hilariously when seeing the noose by which Mampuru was straggled snapping and being hoisted again….why is King Nyabela Mahlangu not honored with street leading to King Mampuru Prison to demonstrate to solidarity of the two men? This is hypocrisy to the highest order!

    This is all the news that matters when it matters

    Mkhuze Mahlangu

    1. Interesting facts you raising Mkhuze. If science is to be applied, they facts need to be tested for reliability and validity. That said, I disagree with you on the notion of Mampuru not being King/Kgosi. If Mampuru was part of the traditional council of the Bapedi kingship, then he is a Kgosi just virtue of that. Perhaps we should focus on whether he qualifies as a senior leader of the Bapedi Marota traditional council? I do agree with you on the co-naming of relevant streets in Pretoria in memory of both Mampuru and Nyabela given the relationship you have laid out so eloquently. The divisions in the Bapedi Kingdom are worrying. My wish is that both camps could find a way to compromise and work together to save the legacy of the kingdom from misinterpretation and possible destruction. Both camps are of royal blood and they should work together for the sake of unity. I also suspect political bigotry at the Bapedi Marota kingdom has taken centerstage. I am of the opinion that the involvement of African National Congress politicians and their narrow political ideology is driving the wedge between the two camps.

      1. Basing on the ruling of the Supreme Court presided over by a respected judge Justice Dikgang Moseneke which (the ruling was affirmed by the Court of Appeal) – where after a lot of deliberations – Justice Moseneke discovered and ruled that Mr. Mampuru was not a king instead Sekhukhune was – I find it weird as to why should the jail and its street still be referred to as (Kgosi) Mampuru.

        Logically the jail or its street should be named as Mampuru Prison and Mampuru street respectively but not Kgosi Mampuru. As I have said, why were all those infrastructures so overwhelmingly named after Mr. Mampuru whereas it is public knowledge that the division inside the Pedi kingdom caused the total collapse of the Ndebele (Nzunza Mabhoko) kingdom? On Thursday morning the 22 November 1883, King Nyabela was forced to watch Mr. Mampuru being strangled. He watched him falling from a noose which was carelessly fastened and being hosted up again. Subsequently, King Nyabela served 15 years of his life sentence at the present day (Kgosi) Mampuru prison.

        As of now, King Nyabela’s grave is unknown, by the same vein Mr. Mampuru’s grave is unknown. King Nyabela literally disappeared in the vicinity of Pretoria on the 19 December 1902. Why is that not taken into consideration when naming the jail and its street?

        King Nyabela wouldn’t have been arrested and been driven to Pretoria to be sentenced to death which (the sentence) was commuted to life imprisonment with hard labour for which he laboured for 15 years. Mampuru’s assassination of King Sekhukune was the cause of King Nyabela’s demise yet King Nyabela defended Mr. Mampuru till the end of time. What was the significance of that ruling of the Court if the title ‘Kgosi’ is still being attached to Mr. Mampuru? I am not saying this to satisfy my egos but a Court of Law cannot rule this way the politicians do that way.

        Another irony is, every year in January a so called Commemoration of the Solidarity of Nyabela and Mampuru is held at The Mamone in Limpopo.

        Against this background, I suppose, this is hypocrisy to the highest order! My point of contention is when speeches that proclaim the solidarity between the two men are made at Mamone but when coming to naming the infrastructures that ruined the lives of both men, one man is used to cartoon the other completely. Why? My soul will rest a day (Kgosi) Mampuru Street is changed to King Nyabela Mahlangu Street. History would be demonstrated squarely if the two infrastuctures were named in the intertwined way that evokes the passerby to question why a street is called iNkosi Nyabela Mahlangu and a prison is called Kgosi Mampuru? Once the two infrastructures have been named in this fashion, I will then start to respect the annual Malone Commemoration. For now, I don’t take commemoration seriously instead I am ashamed of it. Let those who have guts to celebrate such a crooked history do so. The (Nzunza Mabhoko) Ndebele history is deliberately deformed. Henceforth, I don’t take the Ndebeles who attend the Mamone Commemoration amidst these omissions seriously.

        This is all the news that matters when it matters

  8. AN EVALUTION OF WHETHER OR NOT MAMPURU WAS A KING AND AN EVALUTION OF WHETHER OR NOT THE PRETORIA PRISON WAS NAMED CORRECTLY AS (KING) MAMPURU (edited version)

    1. Let me take you step-by-step. I am going to try to be as objective as possible. I concur with Mr. Ledwaba. Mampuru was never a king. Upon the death of King Sekwati – King Sekhukhune and Mampuru’s father who was a polygamist – who died on the 26 September 1861 – his son who answered to the name of Sekhukhune born of the junior wife became the successor after his father who had inherited the kingship from his father King Thulare. Nevertheless Sekhukhune (1814-1882 August 13) was born of the junior wife he was (seemingly) older than Mampuru. Sekhukhune became a recognized heir to the throne having been hand picked by his late father king Sekwati. Some schools of thought advocate that Sekhukhune usurped the kingship upon the death of his father. This is not true.

    2. Sekhukhune was duly crowned in terms of the Bapedi Marota customs. On the other hand – Mampuru was never crowned in terms of Bapedi customs – instead he was politically imposed as a king of Bapedi by the English after the English conquered and imprisoned Sekhukhune around 1877. This was a clandestine game to the highest order! By virtue of being born of the senior wife – Mampuru claimed that he was the rightful heir to the throne hence he tried to establish his impromptu kingship alongside the rein of king Sekhukhune. Mampuru tried from time to time to topple Sekhukhune, but history has it that at one point Sekhukhune became fed-up with him, he threw him a spear and challenged him to stab each other with spears. He said, if you can defeat me, I will surrender the kingship. However, Mampuru feared Sekhukhune and retreated. OK. Immediately after Sekhukhune became a king – in the interest of safety – he moved his late father’s headquarters from Thaba Kgolo to Thaba Phiring. He fortified his headquarters with rocks.

    3. Sekhukhune was a passionate fighter. Sekhukhune was a brave and wise king. What is wisdom – by the way? Wisdom is the ability to anticipate the consequence. Before Sekhukhune engaged into a war with the Boers he clandestinely sourced the guns from the Mozambican Portuguese exchanging them with the cattle he (stole) from the Boers. When president Thomas Burgers launched an offensive against king Sekhukhune – he had never seen or heard that king Sekhukhune had a cache/arsenal of guns. They were not high caliber of guns but they were effective to be used against the opponents who never expected them – such as the over confident president Thomas Burgers. After they engaged into a fully flagged war – king Sekhukhune flabbergasted president Thomas Burgers with a heil of bullets. That was a total surprise since he approached him with the mentality that says a black man fights with bow and arrow or with stones or with knop kierie or he is quick to beg for mercy. Instea, Sekhukhune sent a chill down the spine of a president.

    4. Ke Sekhukhune. Sekhukhune sebonwa ke sebataladi. Ke tau ya mariri. Lebowa la kgomo le goma ka Lekwa. This was a shameful defeat that most Afrikaans speaking people are still ashamed of. The Afrikaners call the war between king Sekhukhune and president Thomas Burger “Die Huis toe gaan oorlog’. uSekhukhune wabashaya “hamba khaya!” He kept the stolen cattle inside the cliff which later became known as Steelpoort. Sekhukhune fought and won 3 of the 4 significant wars in his life time. He dedicated his whole life to war and he mastered the art of war. (1) He fought and won the Afrikaners under the command of the (impatient and hot tempered) president Thomas François Burgers, hence the geographical name Burgersforth next to Steelpoort. After president Thomas Burgers was embarrassingly defeated by King Sekhukhune, without waste of time president Thomas Burgers was recalled and replaced with the then Army Commander Mr. Stephunus Johannes Paulus (Paul) Kruger (10-10-1825 to 04 July 1904. In his inaugural speech, president Paul Kruger promised the Afrikaners that he was going to do his best to deal with black people and that his immediate task was going to deal with tax defaulters, foreigners/refugees (die donderse uitlanders) and black people who were staying in the mountains and in the caves – such as king Nyabela I suppose. One thing that I commend President Paul Kruger for was his meaningful Foreign Policy. His Foreign Policy was unambiguous, reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s. Had Paul Kruger lived – there wouldn’t have been any refugee here.During his tenure, even the English had to count their steps and take thoroughly calculated decision before coming to South Africa. Paul Kruger wouldnt have condoned this willy-nilly in and out of our country. Paul Kruger had a passion for boarder control. Make no mistake!

    5. Listen. Paul Kruger effected an everlasting effect in the lives of black people. As he promised at the inauguration, he literally destroyed the kingship of Pedis and Ndebeles of Nzunza. He imprisoned and executed some. (2) Sekhukhune fought and defeated the English under the command of Sir Theophilus Shepstone after whom Port Shepstone in KZN was named. (3) He fought and defeated the Swazis under the command of King Sobhuza. (4) He was unfortunately defeated (in the second round) by the English Sir Garnet Wolseley in 1877 captured and imprisoned in Pretoria. On the 28 November 1879 Sekhukhune was released from the Pretoria prison – the present-day Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility – which was then situated in Vissagie Street. It is Sir Garnet Wolseley who coronated Mampuru as the paramount chief of Bapedi partly because Mampuru had liberal political principles against the whites as opposed to his robust brother king Sekhukhune. The Afrikaners and the English wanted a liberal king so that they could manipulate the black folk – therefore Sekhukhune was a hindrance to them. Again – Mampuru was not duly coronated in terms of the Pedi tradition but he was politically imposed unto the Pedis when the paramount Chief (ungangomhlaba, isilo samabandla) King Sekhukhune who was appointed by his late father and duly endorse by all Pedis by ceremony languished in jail. This is irritating! An English man cannot imprison a king and then appoint another one on behalf of a nation. That is not procedural.

    6. Oops! Coincidentally – both King Nyabela Mahlangu and Paul Kruger were born in 1825 and they died 1902 and 1904 respectiively. Interesting coincidence.

    7. In December 1879 King Sekhukhune prophesied. He said, and I quote, “you the people of black hair – I feel sorry for you. Should you not unit like a bundle of wood, in the end all of you are going to work in Pretoria. I am the only king that can fight Pretoria and defeat them. After me going forward – all the kings that will follow are going to be the informers of Pretoria. All of you are going to work in Pretoria.” ….“Lena batho bameriri ementsu, ke le kwela bohluku. Kenna fela kgosi ekgona golwa le Petoria ebe ke fenye. Go tloga monna goya pele – makgosi atlatla ka morago gaka atlo ba di mpimpi tsa Petoria. Kamoka ga lena letlobereka Petoria. Amen. Hallelujah! Ngizizwa ngiphelelwa amandla. Today, all the roads lead to Pretoria. What is happening is exactly what King Sekhukhune prophesied. Robala ka kgotso Tau yamariri.

    8. King Sekhukhune advocated for the Republic of Lebowa Kgomo. He never wanted his Lebowa to be annexed into the Transvaal Republic. Instead he wanted his independent country. Had Sekhukhune lived – Lebowa would have been an independent state like Zimbabwe or Swaziland. He chased away all whites but not limited to the Missionaries who would be from time to time be expedited to go and confuse people with Religion. He banished them from his territory. The cause of war between Sekhukhune and president Thomas Burgers was the theft of cattle and the chasing away of the land surveyors for a proposed train line.

    9. On the night of the 13 August 1882 Mampuru assassinated King Sekhukhune who was then 68 years – whereas Mampuru (1824 – 1883) was 58 years old. After murdering Sekhukhune, instead of taking the throne, he ran away and sought asylum with chief Marishane Masemula. Sekhukhune’s proponents chased after him. He ran away and sought asylum with chief Makhani – one of King Nyabela Mahlangu’s sub-kings. He realized that he was not safe. They drove him out of Makhani’s homestead. He ran over to the headquarters of King Nyabela Mahlangu at eRholwani. One would wonder why Nyabela provided a murderer with asylum. There is a school of thought that says, in terms of a particular convention, it was agreed that black people might fight one another but when a black man was engaged into a war with a white man then all blacks should stand together. Therefore King Nyabela (1825-1904) offered Mampuru an asylum simply because president Paul Kruger had summoned Mampuru to hand himself over to the Chief Justice in Pretoria to be tried for murder. By a particular convention – Nyabela was duty bound to defend Mampuru against prosecution – by whites.

    10. Now watch out carefully! Mampuru was a liberal (so-called) king during Sekhukhune imprisonment. His kingship principles were accommodative of whites and their aspirations among others exploitation of the mineral resources, exploitation of labourer etc. He did literally everything that Sekhukhune did or didn’t do in the other way round to favour the whites and their aspirations. Fine. The English and the Boers enticed him with the blood of his brother. Maybe he thought after killing Sekhukhune his relationship with whites would strengthen. After he killed him – they charged with him with murder sought him and hunted him so that he could be tried for murder – all of the sudden. Why did whites not celebrate and pat Mampuru on the shoulder after he assassinated their adversary King Sekhukhune. Instead they hunted him, captured him, tried him and sentenced him to death by hanging. When he was hanged – he proclaimed, “I was ordered by the English to assassinate Sekhukhune, why don’t you hang them too?” This marked the end of the rulership of the Pedis as President Paul Kruger had promised in his inaugural speech after president Thomas Burgers was unceremoniously recalled owing to the defeat by “K…” koning Sekhukhune. You know the “K” word. It was disingenuous of them to charge Mampuru with Murder and end up straggling him whereas Sekhukhune’s death served as a victory for whites in principle. Logically the whites should have hero-worshiped Mampuru for eliminating their enemy. Mampuru killed Sekhukhune deeply assured that the government of Paul Kruger was going applause his act of killing but, unfortunately, he was taken for a ride. This is so strange! This is the best example of “divide and conquer war fare”.

    11. In October 1882 president Paul Kruger expedited General Piet Joubert and army of commandos to and hunt, apprehend and detain Mampuru so that he could be tried for killing. This is so strange, considering the liberal relationship Mampuru had with the whites compared to their radical life time adversary, King Sekhukhune. Against that background – why was Mampuru’s life not spared by whites? Asazi! General Piet Joubert and the army left Pretoria and took to King Nyabela’s headquarters at eRholweni/Roossenekal. The army procession followed N4 East bound up to Middleburg. They then branched into R555 Steelpoort Rd up to Stoffberg. When they were at the Botha’s Mountain Pass they paused and camped. General Piet Joubert dispatched a semi naked soldier holding a white flag aloof to go and ask King Nyabela to release Mampuru over to general Piet Joubert. King Nyabela told General Piet Joubert via the messager that he was not prepared to release Mampuru. General Piet Joubert and the army advanced. When they were at Laersdrift Police Station – once again General Piet Joubert dispatched a semi-naked soldier/messenger to go and give King Nyabela an ultimatum. Piet Joubert said, “go and tell Nyabela to release Mampuru otherwise I am advancing.” King Nyabela said to the messenger, “tell Piet to come here – I will slaughter him an ox, but he won’t get Mampuru. Tell him that if he really wants him– he must open my stomach because I have swallowed him, but get, he will not get him.”
    12. Oops! According to the war ethics. A message bearer is never killed. In the olden days there were no telecommunication facilities hence a message bearer was stripped semi-naked, given a white flag (flag of peace) to take a message to the opposing side.

    13. After the message bearer delivered the message – General Piet Joubert and commandos advanced. On the 12 October 1882 the war that would last for the next successive 10 months ensued. In defense of Mampuru against the boer forces King Nyabela shot and killed two prominent white warriors who answered to the names of Stephanus Johannes Roos and Frederick Senekal respectively. In 1886 the adjacent town of Roossenekal was proclaimed and named after the two warriors who were the first to die during the insurgency – by combining their surnames. King Nyabela killed some more 19 members of president Paul Kruger’s army. He stroke some with lighting!
    14. Now watch here be because things took a brand-new twist here. Those who hated whites have now formed a solidary with whites in pursued of the once friend of the whites. Things have really become complicated. You will remember that before Paul Kruger dispatched General Piet Joubert to go and fight King Nyabela in demand of Mampuru the Pedis were already divided by the assassination of King Sekhukhune. Underline that please. From the word go, Sekhukhune’s proponents chased after Mampuru.He jumped from one territory to another in search of an asylum. Now history has it that some 1500 Pedis (supposedly) the proponents of King Sekhukhune assisted the white army to fight King Nyabela in demand of Mampuru. Ridiculously it is said that the whites gave them picks and shovels to dig a tunnel from behind the headquarters of King Nyabela. Among the tools and material used to dig for Mampuru and Nyabela was a dynamite. The whites blasted the big rocks and let the pro-Sekhukhune Pedis dig with picks and shovels. After the whites conquered King Nyabela, apprehended him and Mampuru, tried them and sentenced them – they went back to Sekhukhhune land. They divided the land among the whites who fought the Maphoch/Mabhoko Anglo War among themselves. Ridiculously, they took all Pedis who helped them to fight Nyabela, divided them into farm labourers as thanks giving for assisting them. Does this really make sense? LOL!

    15. You will perhaps agree with me when I say the division of the Pedi kingdom which resulted into the assassination of king Sekhukhune had a tremendously negative bearing on the Nzunza Mabhoko Kingdom which was led my King Nyabela (1825-1904 Dec 19). Would I be wrong if I could say the internal divisions of the Pedi kingdom affected the Nzunza Mabhoko Kingdom in a big and bad way? Had Mampuru not been ambitious, killed his brother and sought asylum with Nyabela, Nyabela would not have been captured, detained and sentenced to life imprisonment. There would be no need for Paul Kruger to dispatch General Piet Joubert to go and fight King Nyabela Mahlangu. The Ndebele Kingdom wouldn’t have been affected at all. Can you see how glamourous is history? Now you tell me, where does the expression that says “Matebele ne a di patile kamosheng, magowa abantsha ka jeme ha..ha…ha…ha…ha…ha?” I am not sure of the jam story but yes indeed the Ndebele king, King Nyabela hid inside the cave and he was unceremoniously retrieved by Boer forces together with the impromptu king of Bapedi – Mampuru. The two kings and a large number of their lieutenants were besieged with hunger for 10 months.
    16. In April 1883 one of Mampuru’s soldiers was forced by hunger to hand himself over to general Piet Joubert. He gave general Piet Joubert an information that led General Piet Joubert to stop firing and blasting the rocks with dynamite. Mampuru’s soldier told General Piet Joubert that the people bag inside the cave had run out of water and food supply and that they were divided. A large majority wanted to get out (and present themselves to the Boer forces) while a minority was against the move. This information was enough for Piet Joubert to save his dynamites and hand granites but to employ a war tactic called, besiege with hunger. King Nyabela with Mampuru under his armpit was besieged with hunger for some more 4 months. On the 08 July 1883 King Nyabela sent a messenger to General Piet Joubert to tell that the war was over. Piet Joubert said the condition for the end of the war was for Nyabela to hand over Mampuru. At no time Mampuru and his lieutenants were seen coming out of the Mabhoko Cave. They were apprehended.

    17. General Piet Joubert sent a message to Pretoria to inform president Paul Kruger that he had captured Mampuru. In reply – Paul Kruger said to Piet Joubert “vang al daar die k…ffers en bring hulle almal hier”. Piet Joubert then captured King Nyabela and his lieutetents as well. He tied them hand to hand and drove them on foot from Roossenekal to Pretoria – for some 300km. Imagine walking over 300km.
    18. When the two prisoners – Nyabela and Mampuru arrived in Pretoria fastened together hand in hand – a carnival was organized to celebrate the victory of General Piet Joubert against King Nyabela Mahlangu which came to be known as The Mapoch Oorlog. Beautiful maidens/girls and clean horses were made to dance for Piet Joubert. In the history of South African wars – Mabhoko Aglo War took the longest. There is no any other war that lasted for more than 10 months every day. This is how determined was King Nyabela Mahlangu. On the 21 September 1883 Mampuru was tried and sentenced to death by hanging. One the 22 September 1883 Nyabela was sentenced to death (but later his sentence commuted to life imprisonment.) To make the case against Nyabela strong – some chronic cases such as the rebellion to pay hut-tax, boycott of sensus were added to the chief charge of harboring Mampuru. In mitigation, Nyabela charged that the tax case was a chronic cases that he inherited from kingship of his father King Mabhoko. On Thursday morning 22 November 1983 Mampuru was executed. Nyabela was forced to go and watch his comrade being straggled. It is said that some 260 whites took off from work to behold that horrible spectacle. They Nyabela cried hilariously to see Mampuru falling from the careless tied noose and being hoisted again. Nyabela served 15 years of his life imprisonment in the present-day Kgosi Mampuru prison. Why why is that not considered?

    19.Using the above facts – let us determine whether or not the naming convention used to name the Pretoria prison after Mampuru was correct. Hereabove we applied the science of evidence to reveal who Mampuru was and what he stood for. We have proven he was not a legitimate king of the Pedis by vice of having been crown and imposed by the English by ignoring the Pedi traditional way of crowning a king. It was a political coronation outside the scope of the Pedi tradition. After proving that Mampuru was not a king, why all of the sudden the Pretoria prison was renamed after him? Don’t you think this is a misnomer. Basing on the fact that the Supreme Court of South Africa and the Court of Appeal dismissed the kingship of Mampuru – it remains a misnomer to call the former C-Max Prison (Kgosi) Mampuru. Let it be called Mampuru by virtue of having taken his last breath in that prison but using the title “Kgosi” is a total a misnomer considering the outcome of the Court presided over by Honorable Justice Dikgang Moseneke. What is the significance of a Court judgment if the title “Kgosi” is used to refer to Mampuru even if it was scientifically and legally proven that he was not a king? He was not a king! One day Justice Dikgang Moseneke shall have to answer tough questions on this front.

    20. Taking into consideration the role played by King Nyabela Mahlangu in defense of Mampuru – do you think it makes sense to name everything (the street and the prison) after Mampuru without consideration the role played by King Nyabela Mahlangu in protecting and defending Mampuru. Nyabela compromised our kingship to help solve the Pedis’ problems. Why is that not demonstrated in the intertwined naming of the public infrastructures? When Mampuru was under the armpit of King Nyabela in the Mabhoko Caves – Nyabela was the main character and Piet Joubert was the second main character in this episode. Now, after attaining freedom – all of the sadden Nyabela’s foot prints have been literally erased from the history books and over shadowed with (Kgosi) Mampuru. Why did they not name at Potgieter Street after King Nyabela Mahlangu to demonstrate the solidarity that is commemorated yearly at Mamone in Limpopo? Given the brotherhood King Nyabela portrayed to Mampuru, where he concealed him for 10 months without water and food, where he killed the white warriors and stroke others with lightning, where he endured the sounds and dread of the blasting of the dynamites and exchange of gun fire with Piet Joubert’s army, walking with him arm in arm for 300km to Pretoria, enduring the spectacle of watching Mampuru being strangled, crying hilariously when seeing the noose by which Mampuru was strangled snapping off and being hoisted again….why is King Nyabela Mahlangu not honored with the street leading to King Mampuru Prison to demonstrate to solidarity of the two men? This is hypocrisy to the highest order I suppose!

    This is all the news that matters when it matters

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