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Matimu, Tinxaka ta Vutsonga

The journey of amashangaane in 600 words – From KwaNongoma until Bush & Magona

Note: amashangaane are part of the larger Tsonga ethnic group, the following is not history of the ethnic group, its history of the Ndwandwe sub-group.

  • Manukosi, known as Soshangane, was born and grew up in KwaNongoma, in the Ndwandwe Chiefdom in present day KZN, in South Africa.

The name “Soshangane or Sochangane” is his nickname, it means “He who destroys”.

  • In the early 1800s, around 1818, the Zulu tribe defeated the Ndwandwe tribe, and the ruling house of the Ndwandwe submitted to Shaka Zulu.

Soshangane was the leader of Ndwandwe regiments which ran away from Shaka, wandering towards Vutsonga.

  • Around 1824-5, Soshangane lived on the left bank of Nkomati River, and then he lived in Xidwachini, in the right bank of Vembe In both cases, he fought with the Khosa tribe, he could not settle.

Around 1835, Soshangane flees to the north; he crosses Save River and settles in Musapa, in a place today called Musurizi/Mussorize, by the Musorizi River. Some of the Nxumalo’s fixed residence in present day Zimbabwe is in Chipinge. The place is in the Ndawu heartland, the Ndawu had been previously savagely attacked by another Nguni group, led by Nqaba Msane. Soshangane found no stronger and united resistance. This is where he built his Chayimiti kraal.

  • Soshangane could not stay in Musapa for long. Reasons were Ndawu uprisings, and the desire by both the Portuguese and British South African Company to mine the area. He made a deal with the Portuguese that he goes back south. The Portuguese would help him to raid Tsonga tribes.

After 1838, Soshangane moves south of Save River, goes to Vembe River valley in the Van’wanati land, and he builds another Chayimiti kraal, amid fierce resistance, it is still named Chaymiti.

  • After Soshangane’s death, he is buried in Chayimiti, and his successor, Mawewe, uses Chayimiti as a capital as the N’wanati resistance continues. Also, Muzila wages war against Mawewe. Muzila is defeated, he runs to the Transvaal and seeks refugee under Jiwawa.

Hosi Magudu Khosa poses a serious threat to Mawewe. He goes to Transvaal, convinces Muzila to come back and fight Mawewe; Magudu has manpower for the war.

  • Around 1862, Mawewe is defeated in a fierce battle near present day Xokwe, he runs to KaNgwane (Swaziland), where he and his followers within the Nxumalo clan are given land to settle.From 1862, Muzila becomes the ruler, he settles between Buzi and Musorizi Rivers until 1889 when the Portuguese revive their mining ambitions. Then Muzila moves with his group to Chayimiti which was in the Vembe valley.

In the Vembe valley, the Nxumalos moved about 3 times:

First settlement is southwest of the Sule Lake.

Second settlement is near the location of present day Mandlhakazi District.

Third settlement is North of Mangwenyane River in Khuvulele, in the area today known as Xipaja and Muchuketi – this was the capital of the N’wanati dynasty of Makwakwa.

  • Around 1884, Muzila died and his son Nghunghunyani used Mandlhakazi as his capital. He stayed there for 10 years until his capture in 1895.

Around 1896, Mpisani and Gija, who were Nghunghunyani’s uncles, fled Chayimiti and ran to the Transvaal. The group that stayed in present day Mozambique was led by Nkuyu Nxumalo, and there is another group in Zimbabwe that was led by Nghunghunyani’s younger brother, Mpungu Nxumalo. In Mapulangweni, Mpisani and Gija parted ways; Mpisani led a Nxumalo group which settled in Bushbuckridge, and Gija led a Nxumalo group which settled in Malamulele (Ka Magona).

Image source: marcellison.com

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