The Kaukeni royal family and traditional leaders have backed the late King Mpandambini Sigkau’s daughter, Princess Wezizwe Sigkau, as the rightful queen to ascend the throne and lead the amaMponda nation. The endorsement was announced at an Imbizo event held at Kaukeni Great Place in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape.

This follows a decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal, which found the findings of the Nlapo Commission and the decision to strip Kaukeni of the royal position wrong and should be overturned.

AmaMpondo aseQaukeni sees the verdict as a victory.

A crowd of AmaMponda people, dressed in their traditional regalia, sing and dance in appreciation of the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling to return the AmaMponda Kingdom to Kaukeni.

They gathered at Imbizo, which was held at the Kaukeni Great Place, where the hall was filled to capacity.

Local villagers and traditional leaders expressed dismay at the verdict.

Villager Will Smith believes the court has returned the AmaMponda Kingdom to its rightful place.

“We are very happy that the court has returned this royal position to Kaukeni, because Kaukeni is like home to us. Because we were born in my grandfather’s town, we knew that Kaukeni was the home of the Pondo, but now it has brought so much divisiveness among the Pondo, but we are so happy,” says Smith.

Nelson Dweba, a traditionalist, says politics and greed for money were the main reasons why the government decided to strip Kaukeni of the kingdom.

“I feel very good and very happy about what happened with this sentence. I am happy. This is not a false judgment, it is a true judgment. All over the world, everyone will know (about) who is the king who rules the Pondas,” says Dweba.

AmaMpondo’s head of the royal family’s press secretary, Mandilive Sinane, says the Supreme Court ruling proves that the Nhlapo Commission and the government were wrong to strip Kaukeni of his royal position.

“This decision proves that the Nhlapo commission and the government’s findings were wrong and we have challenged that. But we were ignored and we took the matter to court and now we feel vindicated because the Supreme Court of Appeal has ordered that this kingdom be returned to where it belongs. Yes, Princess Wezizwe Sigkau was endorsed by his late father King Mpondambini as the one to occupy that throne and lead the Amamponda nation. We will continue the consultation process and let Amampondo know who their queen is. We want peace, we want unity and prosperity like amaMpondo,” says Chief Cinane

Those who support the Supreme Court ruling support Princess Wezizwe Sigkau as Queen AmaMponda.

Simon Dumani, a villager, says that gender cannot be used to deny the princess her rise to power.

“Even the Bible says that if a king gives birth to only daughters, the first princess can take the throne and rule the nation. If, in that family, there is no son, only a princess. So, we are happy about this and support the princess to continue to fulfill her father’s wish,” says Dumani.

Projects and centers that were supposed to benefit the rural population were torched because of unrest among the amaMponda nation. The decision of the Supreme Court widened the discord among the nation as two different Imbizos were summoned to different places to discuss the ruling.

VIDEO: Imbizo discusses amaMpondo kingdom dispute

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