The AmaXhosa section, which claims its own separate kingdom despite opposition from conservative Xhosa royalists and scholars, has vowed to reclaim its kingdom come rain or shine.

The claimant AmaTirha clan belongs to the Royal Kingdom of Nkasiamntu, son of Malangana of the Xhosa line, Mnguni II and Mnguni I. AmaTirha claims that “quasi-mythical stories” were sponsored to distort AmaXhosa history, resulting in the creation and installation of illegitimate overlords chiefs and chieftains to distort the history of AmaCirha.

If their claim is upheld by the court, the Xhosa kingdom may find itself relegated to either a lower-level paramount chief or an ordinary chieftain. The second option supported by AmaCirha is the coexistence of these two kingdoms.

Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes

Dr. George Tsibani, an AmaCirha representative and senior researcher at the Imbumba YamaNyama Council, which is organizing the claims and restoration of their kingdom, said their claims were frustrated by the Nhlapo Commission on Disputes and Claims over Traditional Leadership.

Tsibani said they had hoped that the commission appointed by former President Thabo Mbeki and led by Professor Thandabantu Nlapa would restore the royal kingdom of AmaChirhi, but it failed.

The AmaCirha kingdom was not among those recognized by the commission in its final report, much to the displeasure of the AmaCirha.

“We hoped the commissioners would follow a robust process. Although AmaCirha presented their claims, their claims were rejected based on fabricated stories of how the blue duiker and Chirha were defeated by their younger brother Tshwa at Dedezi near Escort in modern KwaZulu-Natal,” Tsibani said.

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He accused the Tola Commission, the successor to the Nlapo Commission, represented by historian Professor Jeff Pires and cultural figure and heritage expert Dr Nokuzola Mndende, of producing a “desk report” which contained errors in the definition of AmaTirhi.

Distorted history

Tsibani also said the commission had tarnished the history of the AmaTirhi kingdom and helped perpetuate the distortion of their nation’s history.

However, the AmaCirha vowed to establish their kingdom in the house of Nkosiyamntu. According to Tsibani, AmaCirha will hold a meeting at Twatwa near Seymour in the Eastern Cape on Saturday, September 17, 2022 to begin the process of establishing the kingdom.

“This meeting is not only to celebrate their (AmaCirha) survival as a suppressed royal kingdom in a democracy, but also to set up the process of electing their king as recommended by their legal team. Believe it or not, some legitimate kingdoms like the AmaTirha kingdom are erased from South African history for political votes and money. We will not leave it undisputed,” Tsibani said.

He said they have decided to act on the matter, which was informed in a letter from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) dated February 12, 2020 about the existence of the kingdom.

“The letter from Cogta indicated that the matter could be resolved through the courts as the decision was made by retired judge Nhlapo,” Tsibani said.

AmaCirha’s claim was inspired by the recent successes of AmaMpondomise and AmaMpondo in restoring their respective kingdoms.

Tsibani said AmaCirha was going to follow the process contained in Section 8 of the Traditional Leadership and Koisan Act 3 of 2019 or take their dispute to the Constitutional Court.

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