IN response to an article published about the celebration of Nghunghunyani Day in Giyani recently, some people came out fighting, arguing that hosi Nghunghunyani was never Tsonga, but was Zulu.
They claim his descendant, Eric Nxumalo could not be celebrated as a king of VaTsonga or claim to be one as he was Zulu too.
“Manukosi or Soshangane as he’s well-known was Zulu, so there’s no way Nghunghunyani could be a king of Va-Tsonga because we’re a tribe on its own,” argued Risimati Wilson Mkhari, who claimed to be the rightful king of the Va-Tsonga.
“Shangaans are the direct decedents of Soshangane and hence they are called Shangaans. All these people speak Zulu, including Nxumalo in his homestead, and therefore they could never be linked to the VaTsonga tribe.”
He dismissed the claim by hosi Nxumalo that he was the king of the VaTsonga tribe as a “desperate move to create confusion among the VaTsonga people in pursuance of his already failed attempt to be declared a king”.
“Nxumalo’s claim was unanimously disputed by the VaTsonga chiefs and has since been rejected by the Commission on Leadership Claims and Disputes and at the North Gauteng High Court,” he said.
According to Mkhari, the only valid claim being recognised by the majority of the VaTsonga is that of the descendant of hosi Njhaka-Njhaka, whom he claimed was recognised as the king of all the VaTsonga in the areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga long before the Nxumalos migrated from Natal to Mozambique.
He said the Nxumalo family established its kingdom in Mozambique from where it ruled until its kingdom ceased to exist in 1895, after which hosi Mpisane, Nxumalo’s great grandfather, came to the Transvaal as a refugee and became a subject of hosi Njhaka-Njhaka.
“We have proof in writing. I want to put it on record that the king of the Va-Tsonga was Njhaka-Njhaka Mkhari.”
He backed this up by saying that in 1947 Njhaka-Njhaka was honoured with medals along with two other paramount chiefs, Sekhukhune and Makhado by King George the VI.
In response to this, the spokesperson for Gaza kingdom, Ernest Nkanyani said Mkhari did not seem to comprehend the fact that Soshangane has been the only unifying glue that brought together all the small, weak and defenceless clans that previously existed between the Indian Ocean, Drakensberg and Soutpansberg Mountains.
Nkanyani said history indicated that “Soshangane welded the Vatshwa, Varhonga, Vandzawu, Vacopi, Vahlengwe, Van’walungu and all those who called themselves the VaDzonga into one nation”.
“Mkhari forgot that during tiNghunghunyani’s time there was neither a Transvaal province nor a country called Mozambique and therefore Nghunghunyani ruled in both Mozambique and South Africa.
“The main joke in his statement is the allegation that the Nxumalo royal house once served as Hosi Njhaka-Njhaka’s subjects,” said Nkanyani.