By Arnold Mayibongwe Nkala
During the time when King Mzilikazi had decided to settle in present day Province of North West in South in 1832, he thought that he had achieved his dream of reigning without any disturbances. One of the challenges the great King Mzilikazi of the Ndebele nation faced were the Boers. The King had left his settlements in present day Gauteng because of his clashes with the Zulu warriors who were sent by their new King Dingane. King Dingane could not conceive; the best way to divert people’s attention from reviewing this problem was to send large brigades to King Mzilikazi, who at that time was settled in the present day Gauteng Province. Clashes between the Zulus and Ndebeles always created great casualties; leading both nations to lose valuable human resources. King Mzilikazi decided to leave some few regiments in Gauteng and border patrol and went with the rest of his nation in the North West Province .
When he reached the area, he built his new Palace called Mkhwahla in Marico District. The area used to be called Mosega by Tswana people who were settled before he came. Hearing that the indomitable Ndebele nation was on its way; the Tswana people left the area and settled elsewhere. The King found the area deserted and turned it into his new home together with the rest of his followers; who at that time included many people of Nguni and Sotho stock. Life went back to normal. It was during his stay in Mkhwahla Great Palace that he decided to form a new brigade made of young men (amajaha) and assimilates who were mostly of Sotho origin. The new brigade was named Gabha; its regimental settlement became known as Gabheni. He had to choose one of his loyalists to command; and decided that his brother-in-law Maqhekeni Sithole will lead it. Chief Maqhekeni was married to the King’s sister Princess Mtshakazana; they begot the heir Gampu- the future Gabheni General. In the winter of 1836, the Ndebele border patrol informed the King about signs of strangers with horses and wagons who had the crossed the Vaal River without his consent and had returned beyond. This was concluded as peeping and a military expedition under the Mkhwahla Chief Mkhaliphi Khumalo was ordered to cross the Vaal and attack the strangers before invading the Ndebele Kingdom.
The King was very sensitive to the southern border because the Zulu impi and the Griqua bandits used to enter the country through the Vaal. It was suspected that the peepers that had been detected by the border patrol were the Griqua gangsters because they usually entered the Kingdom on horseback. The Griqua gangs were very lethal because they were marksmen. Chief Mkhaliphi and his brigade crossed the Vaal. After an eight-day march, the Ndebele scouts informed Chief Mkhaliphi about groups of white men who had camped nearby. So these strangers who had reconnoitred the King’s territory were not the Griquas but the white people. Apparently, these white people who were about to be attacked by Chief Mkhaliphi and his warriors were the Afrikaners; also called the Boers. We will continue next week to find who exactly were the Boers and how did it happen that they entered the King’s Kingdom without consent.
Arnold Mayibongwe Nkala is the author of the Mthwakazi history and culture book titled AbeThwakazi. Follow/Contact him: Email: email@example.com WhatsApp: +27790378720 Facebook Page: Arnold Mayibongwe Nkala