Freedom Park honors Traditional Leaders for their role in colonial resistance and the liberation struggle

31 May 2021

by Stella Sigcau

Freedom Park honored Mpondo Kings and Chiefs who played a role in the liberation struggle and in the colonial resistance at a colourful cultural ceremony that was held at the Freedom Park Precinct in Pretoria on 30 April 2021.

As a build up to the event, dialogues were held with various Traditional leaders and Municipalities of the Mpondo Kingdom in this regard including Queen Madosini Ndamase and Nkosi Ntandoyezwe Ndamase at Nyandeni Great Place, Libode, Nkosi Jongilanga Sigcau and Ndlunkulu Nombethe Sigcau at Lwandlolubomvu Great Place in Ntabankulu, Nkosi Njingalwazi Sigcau and Ndlunkulu Matshezi Sigcau at Ntlenzi Great Place in Flagstaff, Nkosi Malindi of Mbotyi in Lusikisiki and Mbizana Senior Traditional leaders Nkosi Makhunze Sigcau, Nkosi Maquthu Thembsile of Isisele Traditional Council, Nkosi Mandisi Ndunge of Ndunge Traditional Council, Nkosi Mongezi Mditshwa of Imizizi Traditional Council.

Accompanying the delegation led by Victor Netshiavha from Freedom Park were Princess Stella Sigcau II who had worked with Freedom Park in this regard as well as Mr Thabelo Mbenzi from Nelson Mandela Museum. Forming part of the dialogues were visits to places of historical significance which included the birth area of the legendary King Faku, Lusikisiki, Nonqulwana Hill in Mbizana where it is said the Mpondo Revolt started, grave of colonial resistance activist Queen Nonesi in Libode, Lwandlolubomvu Great Place where some of the people who were sought by Apartheid government were hidden by the late ANC liberation activist Nkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau, Hewu great Place which is the birth place of one of the founding Kings of the ANC in 1912 King Marhelane Sigcau, historical Magwa falls with Prince Mkwedini.

It is hoped that these places become heritage sites and form part of South Africa’s liberation heritage route. Engagements were also held with Mayors Mvulane of Ngquza Municipality , Mafumbatha of Winnie Madikizela Mandela Municipality and acting Mayor Pikwa of Ntabankulu Municipality who also attended the commemoration in Freedom Park.

Commemorated were Kings Faku kaNgqungqushe and Marhelane ka Sigcau and Nkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau for their respective roles in the liberation struggle and colonial resistance. Their names were inscribed on the Wall of Names in Freedom Park. The proceedings of the day included unveling of these names and a wreath laying ceremony.

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Guests in attendance included representatives from the various Royal Houses from the Mpondo Kingdom (iNyanda neQauka) as well as representatives from the Municipalities in the Mpondo Kingdom and traditional leaders from various parts of South Africa as well as representatives from the South African Royal Princess Network.

Speakers included CEO of Freedom Park Jane Mufamadi, King Zanozuko Sigcau, Queen Madosini Ndamase, Afred Nzo Chairperson of the Local House of Traditional Leaders Nkosi Jongilanga Sigcau. Delivering the keynote address was Nkosi Sipho Mahlangu, Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders. Entertaining the guests sharing Mpondo culture and music were Guitarist Csana from Port St Johns, Amangena kuthuleke traditional group from Ntabankulu and Nomzekelo Bazana songstress from Lusikisiki. Rendering poetry was the renowned South African poet Bishop Jessica Mbangeni and Novizicelo Maxazi from Ntabankulu.

Freedom Park has always emphasized that amongst the heroes and heroines who are inscribed on the Wall of Names, traditional leaders across the country also take center stage, because of the role they played in the liberation struggle and in the colonial resistance. Commemorating these traditional leaders is to bring consciousness and to honour the sacrifices made by traditional leaders for the liberation struggle. Most often than not, their roles in this regard are undermined or underplayed.