MY JOURNEY INTO EPHEHLWENI – MAKHOSI NGUB’ESILO
A royal touch
I am a descendent of the once-mighty House of Tshatshu that occupied the old Western Thembuland where Queenstown, Lady Frere, Cathcart, and Cofimvaba can be found in the Eastern Cape today.
The British Empire’s Cape Colony governors Benjamin D’Urban, Harry Smith, and George Cathcart stripped AmaTshatshu, under Inkosi Maphasa’s rule, of this land in 1852. AmaTshatshu were decimated and driven south and north.
Without identity, much less land, amaTshatshu found homage inside some homes of the amaTshawe or whichever clan gave them favour.
We were obliterated and we were scattered all over. After Chief Gungubele [Maphasa’s son] was apprehended for trying to get the land back from the whites, my father’s grandfather left with his mother, who was mam’ Tshawe, to go to the old Ciskei area.
They became amaTshawe and assimilated into Tshawe rituals and traditions. Generations later, my father [General Lulama Madolo] was curious about his origins because the bigger community knew that we weren’t amaTshawe.
My grandfather died in 1984 and things took a rather spiritual turn from there because he would visit my father in his dreams, explaining to him that he must go find himself. Only at the back of those curious dreams, my father went from Bhisho to the old Transkei, to a rural area called kwaTshatshu to find more information. And it all unfolded from there.
Becoming a man in more ways than one
My search to discover my ancestry didn’t stop at hearing stories from my father. Something piqued my interest when, June of 2000, as I was going into traditional initiation, my father instructed that I be initiated the Tshatshu way. From that day, I became a man in more ways than one and when my father died, I made myself a promise to continue the legacy of self-discovery.
My father passed away in 2013 without having solved the mystery and he didn’t have the tools I have, such as the internet, to continue the journey. Who was I to drop the baton?
It is in being with and around AmaTshatshu where my ancestors made the call.
As a boy, I used to have recurring dreams, dreams that now I know were signs of intwaso.
Amathongo came fast and furious after we had umsebenzi wokubuyisa izihlwele at Gwatyu Great Place.
I was fortunate enough to be shown my Gobela by my ancestors and even more fortunate that she is family.
Ubizo comes in many different ways… What becomes important is to listen carefully to the messages from your ancestors, abide by them and practice patience and humility.
Siyacamagusha kuni z’thunywa nani z’hlwele.