Traditional leaders get recognition

Inkolo Kantu Traditional group performed at the event
Inkolo Kantu Traditional group performed at the event
Image: Michael Pinyana

Traditional  leaders from around the province were honoured for their roles in their respective communities at a lavish ceremony across 20 categories in East London on Saturday evening.

Dignitaries at the inaugural SA Traditional Leaders Awards, included AmaXhosa  king  Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu ,  Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders  chairman Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana and Nkosi Ngangomnhlaba Matanzima.

Amatola Water CEO Vuyo Zitumane, together with Bulelani Koyo, who hosts Iikwayala Eziphambili on Umhlobo Wenene, led the proceedings.

Event founder Nanziwe Rulashe, also known as Fatima, said the event was an indication that South Africa faced a new dawn, with the acknowledgement of traditional leaders and giving them the honour and respect they deserved.

“It has been painful to watch how our leaders who fought for us in the frontiers of wars have been taken for granted by government, but when it’s close to election time and the numbers aren’t matching up, they are the ones consulted.”

Nkosi Nonkonyana said when Rulashe approached her about the awards, he thought she was joking until she made them realise the importance of celebrating good work, which was done in many sectors and industries.

“This is a very momentous occasion which will go down in history as we look back on who we are and a good time for us to reflect on how we are delivering on our mandate as traditional leaders. What value do we have to our people, because you don’t call yourself a leader, it’s the people you lead who see you as a leader,” he said.

The longest serving regent (who is acting for her son), Nkosi Nobangile Gwebindlala, 86, of Amabomvane in Gxora near Mthatha, who has served for 39 years, said she was honoured at the recognition because she never received any recognition from government.

The winners won by votes from public. —