Historic day for Xhosa's as King Mpendulo Sigcawu is crowned

MAY 15, 2015

It is a historic day for the AmaXhosa as the highly anticipated coronation of the Amaxhosa King, Ikumkani Zwelonke Mpendulo Sigcawu, finally takes place on Friday at Nqadu village, in Willowvale - the first such coronation in 50 years and the first coronation since the 1994 democracy.

King Sigcawu is the 12th and current paramount chief of the Gcaleka sub-group of the Xhosa nation. He was born as Mpendulo Sigcawu to Xolilizwe Mzikayise Sigcawu and Queen Nozamile. King Xolilizwe Sigcawu passed away in December 2005.

The coronation, which will be officiated by President Jacob Zuma, who will be accompanied by the Premier of the Eastern Cape Province, Phumulo Masualle, is expected to be attended by dignitaries, who include Kings and Queens from across Africa and Europe, as well as thousands of locals. King Letsie III of Lesotho and a representative of the British monarchy have been confirmed to be in attendance.

President Zuma will hand over a Certificate of Recognition from government at the event.

A massive white tent has been set up next to the Nqadu Great Palace as well as four other smaller tents including a VIP tent. The leading up to the venue has also been paved.

Fifteen cows have also been slaughtered at the kraal, where women are not allowed. Traditional rituals, which are private, also took place on Friday morning at the same kraal ahead of the official coronation.

Thirty sheep and 100 chickens have also been slaughtered while groups of women, inside the rondavels, were singing as they prepare the vegetables and more food.

Other events during the day include a display of culture and tradition as the king moves from the palace to the marquee just a few hundred metres away.

Along the way, there will be singing and praising – as well as men on horses escorting the king.

At the marquee, there will be praising as traditional leaders, including of the AmaRharhabe, AmaMpondo AseNyandeni and AbaThembu baseRhode, arrive.

Legendary praise singer Zolani Mkiva said during the ceremony the king will be drapped in lion skin  and presented with a spear.

“It represents royalty, it represents bravery, it represents all things that go with the traditional heritage, traditional intelligence as well as traditional protocol,” he told eNCA.

After the coronation, King Sigcawu is expected to address his nation.

Image: Prince Charles meets King Sigcawu at Nelson Mandela's funeral in 2013. Image: AP.