AmaXhosa mourn passing of Nkosi Dumehleli Mapasa

AmaXhosa Acting King Nkosi Dumehleli Nongudle Mapasa. Seated is AmaRharhabe Queen Noloyiso Sandile, who pronounced on Mapasa's appointment during a meeting by close family of the Phalo House at Nqadu Great Place near Willowvale on Monday.
AmaXhosa Acting King Nkosi Dumehleli Nongudle Mapasa. Seated is AmaRharhabe Queen Noloyiso Sandile, who pronounced on Mapasa's appointment during a meeting by close family of the Phalo House at Nqadu Great Place near Willowvale on Monday.
Image: Lulamile Feni

Less than a year after much-loved King Mpendulo Sigcawu died, the amaXhosa nation is again cast into mourning.

The man who took care of the throne, Nkosi Nongudle Dumehleli Mapasa, died in East London on Monday. He had been holding the fort since Sigcawu's death in late 2019.

Mapasa, who was from the AmaGcaleka side, was one of the longest serving  traditional leaders in the AmaXhosa nation, having headed the Thuthurha traditional council in Centane for 37 years.

Mapasa's daughter, Yolisa Mapasa, and amaXhosa royal spokesperson Xhanti Sigcawu said Mapasa had died at Life St Dominic's Hospital in East London in the early hours of Tuesday.

''We celebrated his 84th birthday only on Saturday  [September 26]. We were shocked that he passed peacefully in his sleep only a few days later,''  said Yolisa.

Yolisa and Sigcawu described Mapasa as a disciplinarian and a passionate defender and advocate of farming, both of livestock and crops.

''Agriculture, education and traditional leadership were close to his heart. My father loved all 10 of his children and ensured that they got the best education. He loved them all equally and disciplined them equally. He was a proud family man,''  said Yolisa.

Sigcawu said Mapasa had served the amaXhosa nation with aplomb.


Mapasa grew up under the watchful eye of former Transkei president and Western Thembuland king, KD Matanzima.

Mapasa matriculated from All Saints High School, now Nyanga High in Ngcobo. Later he returned to Thuthurha to undergo initiation before leaving to seek work in the Western Cape.

He led the Thuthura traditional council and Bhurhu people since 1983.

He had two wives, Nolwandle and Nolusapho, who died in 2017.

Mapasa was a descendant of Bhurhu, the right-hand house of King Khawuta, who was the eldest son of Gcaleka ka Phalo.

Though his caretakership of the throne was expected to be short, it was extended due to a feud within the  Sigcawu royal family over who to approve as heir to the throne of the amaXhosa nation.

Sigcawu said during the reign of amaXhosa King Xolilizwe Sigcawu, Mapasa had a big responsibility of presiding over the Gcaleka regional traditional court, where he adjudicated many cases.

''He believed in a reconciliatory justice system and did his job with great pride and accuracy,'' said Sigcawu.

Mapasa is survived by his wife Nolwandle, 10 children and 11 grandchildren.  - DispatchLIVE



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