The History of The Kingdom
About 2000 years ago, Bantu-speaking people began to arrive from Western Africa in a series of migrations and amaMpondo were the group of Nguni-speaking peoples who have for several centuries occupied the land between Tugela River (North) and Mbashe (South) and from Indian Ocean to Drakensburg Mountains. Over the years amaMpondo territory is said to be the one between Mtamvuma and Mbatha rivers in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The Mpondo territory formed one of the largest parts of the former Transkei (until 1994), an independent republic that was established under he South African governmentís policy of apartheid but was dissolved and reincorporated (in part) into the new province in 1994.
With the province discovery of the sea route to East Indies in the late `400s, increasing numbers of European vessels began passing along the eastern seaboard and an increasing number of ships were wrecked many ships e.g. Portuguese ship Sao Bento in 1554 near Msikaba, the Sao Joao Baptista in 1622 near Kenton-On-Sea holiday resort, the Nossa Senhora de Belem in 1635 near the mouth of Mzimvubu River, the famous Grosvenor in 1782 near Lambasi (Port Grosvenor). Some of the ship wreckages cast ashore some Whites who were later absorbed into Mpondo communities; we find a great interesting story of one of Bessie (a white English girl) who got married to a Great son (Tshomane) of one Mpondo Chief Matayi of amaTshomane; in the later years this union gave rise to abeLungu, a Mpondo clan.
There were several mighty Mpondo kings before King Faku but for the sake of this foreword I will highlight King Faku. When his father King Ngqungqushe died, Faku inherited his power and roughly 1818 to 1867 King Faku was the ruler of the Mpondo Kingdom. In a period of intense raiding, migration and state formation, he transformed the Mpondo Kingdom from a loosely organized constellation of tributary groups to a centralized and populous Mpondo Kingdom with effective military capabilities and a prosperous agricultural foundation. Because of King Fakuís legacy and resistance, the Mpondo Kingdom became the last African in Southern Africa to fall under colonial rule.
In 1830, King Faku allowed Wesleyan missionaries to establish a station within his kingdom and they became his main channel of communication with the Cape Colony, and later Natal. Ironically, he never showed any serious inclination to convert to Christianity. In his book (Faku: Rulership and Colonialism in the Mpondo Kingdom (c.1780-1867) Timothy J. Stapletonís narrative and use of oral history paint a clear and remarkable portrait of King Faku and how he was able to manipulate missionaries, neighbours, colonists and circumstances to achieve his objectives.
Though King Faku was less revolutionary and less innovative than King Moshoesho, he parried the efforts of African rivals over a half-century and adeply used his links with the British and with Wesleyan missionaries to establish his dominion over a large area. The Mpundo kingdom he created was the largest of the Xhosa states and King Faku rose to the complex conflicts that shaped a area (Mponoland) that was caught up between the expanding powers of first the Zulu and then, British expansionism. King Fakuís together with his sons Mqikela (from the great house) and his warrior son Ndamase (from the right hand house) helped defend the Mpondoland during the 19th century against Mfecane Wars.
The Mpondo Kingdom has been for many years been passed from one generation to the other through the Mpondo customary law and custom but the death of King Mandlonke the Mpondo custom was observed as subsequently Botha Sigcau (a son from the right hand house) was appointed in 1938 by the Governor General in terms of section 23 of Act 38 of 1927 instead of the rightful heir Nelson.