Posted by Stanley Mbatha
When we talk about AmaMbatha Tribe we are not specifically talking about the Mbatha-Shandu people, but we are talking about the people who lived in the House of King Sontshikazi ka Mpangazitha ka Mageba.
In or around 1680 a group of people arrived at Sontshikazi’s Homestead. They were coming from the north running away from wars in their tribes, and they were different from people who were living at Nkandla forest led by King Sontshikazi the son of Prince Mpangazitha ka Mageba ka Zulu who was left by his father King Mageba when he went back to lead his fathers people AmaZulu. Their way of dress was different, they wore the buffalo hide blanket which covered the whole of their back body.
King Sontshikazi welcomed them with open arms and gave them food and shelter. The neighbouring tribes started calling Sontshikazi Homestead EmaMbatheni, because Sontshikazi’s people adopted the new comer’s way of dress. As they didn’t want to be perceived as weaklings, they only wore those blankets at night.
The new arrivals called themselves AbaNtungwa. One day they killed a tiger and made a very beautiful blanket which they presented to King Sontshikazi and they said where they came from the tiger’s hide dress was only reserved for the Kings and they regarded Sontshikazi as their King.
King Sontshikazi was a Great Sangoma and a Story Teller. He would tell the stories with the accompanment of singing and playing of drums, the people would listen to him and laugh the whole night as his stories were laced with humour. The house of Sontshikazi was teaming with a lot of people and it was generally known as EmaMbatheni Igumbi lamaGwala (place of cowards) as all fugitives were welcomed there.
After sometime the neighbouring tribes started to become jealous and started to spread rumours that Sontshikazi was the greatest liar on earth, and they started to call Sontshikazi’s Homestead ’emangeni’ (place of lies).
King Sontshikazi was very wealthy and generous, not through attacking other tribes but through his powerful herbs, tobacco and story telling he was said to possess, and his willingness to welcome all fugitives in his kraal without asking any questions.
King Sontshikazi was different because he was not a warrior like his grandfather Mageba who defeated Qwabe and his father Mpangazitha who fought many wars and defeated many tribes. He was a trader, healer and a very great story teller who willingly accepted fugitives in his kraal, ‘Egumbini lamaGwala’.
It should be noted that AmaMbatha existed long before Shandu who became Mbatha was born. AmaMbatha were a nation not a clan.