Madzikane was the founder and a King of the Bhaca people. Before him his father’s tribe was known as AbakwaZelemu but after Madzikane had united many multitudes of deferent people and deferent tribes his nation was known as amaBhacaconsisting of many tribes including amaZulu akwaZelemu, amaWushe, amaNqolo,amaNzelu, amaZizi, amaNjilo,abaseNhlwangini, amaQwabe, abaThembu etc.
Madzikane’s father was Khalimeshe. His first born was crown prince SONYANGWE followed by prince NCAPHAYI. However because of the Mfecane wars, Sonyangwe the crown prince was burnt to death at night in his hut by traitors from the Memela who were vassalls of the amaBhele of uMdingi who were subjects of King Madzikane while King Madzikane was still reigning. Therefore prince Sonyangwe died at Rode before he became King of amaBhaca. Soon after Sonyangwe’s death King Madzikane died, but before he died he split the Kingdom of the Bhacas between his deceased crown prince and his ever alive mighty warrior son prince Ncaphayi. Therefore on the death of King Madzikane, prince Ncaphayi was crowned King of all amaBhaca but because his elder brother Sonyangwe had left behind two sons in Natal i.e prince Mdutyane and prince Thiba. King Ncaphayi was obliged to share the throne with Sonyangwe’s heir.
When prince Mdutyane was only 21, king Ncaphayi died in a war against the amaMpondo King Faku. The crown prince Mdutyane was crowned King of all the amaBhaca tribes and hence became the supreme ruler of the whole amaBhaca nation consisting of more than forty four deferent tribes scattered all over from southern natal to beyond the Umzimvubu river. The young King Mdutyana had huge feet to fill and disliked war and therefore took a huge fraction of the tribe and went back to Umzimkhulu where he had been raised. He left the House of king Ncaphayi i.e prince Diko, prince Makaula etc to reign independently from him as was ordered by the great king Madzikane. King Mdutyana became the king over all the tribes in the Umzimkhulu, Harding, Bulwer, Underberg and IXopo districts while King Ncaphayi’s heirs became the supreme rulers in the whole Mount Frere district and over other minor clans beyond the Mount Frere border.
King Mdutyana took many wives and had many sons and daughters. The great and senior house Indlu Enkulu gave birth to crown prince Cijisiwe who was not favoured by king Mdutyane to succeeed the throne ,Xaxaza and Maqaba are all sons of maNgwandlu the great wife. Then from the second wife (Indlu yekunene) was prince Nomtsheketshe who was hand picked by king Mdutyane as the crown prince to the amaBhaca nation, then from the third wife (Iqadi lendlu enkulu) was prince Msingapantsi.king Mdutyane sent prince Nomtsheketshe to Mount Frere to live with his brother Makaula for protection from witchcraft of the great wife. King Mdutyane died suddenly before the age of 40 while all his sons were young and while there was still a dispute regarding his heir therefore his brother prince Thiba became Regent King of the amaBhaca nation of Umzimkhulu and Natal. Regent King Thiba made the Bhacas very powerful and defeated all the neighbouring native tribes in Umzimkhulu and Natal including the troublesome Nhlangwini’s of Fodo kaNombewu. Thiba was as ruthless as his uncle King Ncapai had been. When Nomtsheketshe had become of age he returned to Umzimkhulu, Thiba seemed to favour Cijisiwe to be the King whereas some tribes under the Bhacas favoured prince Nomtsheketshe therefore a war broke out between the sons of Mdutyane. Thiba and Cijisiwe formed an army against Nomtsheketshe and Msingapantsi however Thiba and Cijisiwe were defeated and sent into exile by Nomtsheketshe and Msingapantsi in association with the Griquas. Therefore prince Nomtsheketshe became the King of the amaBhaca nation but it was not for long because new laws had come into existence in Bhacaland or in the Bhaca kingdom which had now been formally recognised by the English as Griqualand East. King Nomtsheketshe burnt one of his subjects to death for practising witchcraft and was exiled from Bhacaland/ Griqualand East by the English Governors for refusing to be tried in a court of law. In his absence King Nomtsheketshe abdicated the throne and crowned his ally and brother prince msingapantsi of Iqadi leNdlu enkulu as King of the Umzimkhulu Bhacas and King of the great house of King Madzikane, it is worth noting that according to customary law in the event of the great house being absent the son of iqadi assumes the throne, Till this day the house of King Mdutyana is separated and there is ill will between the amabhaca of natal and the amabhaca of umzimkhulu. King Nomtsheketshe went into exile in pondoland but was later accommodated by his uncles King Makaula and Diko in mountfrere where he was given land to settle with his five sons and followers. King Shaka of the amaZulu nation was born by the wife of iqadi to the great house and took a spear and killed the son born by the great wife of king Senzangakhona so it is no deferent with the amaBhaca nation of Africa
King Ncapayi had many wives. The great and senior house (FIRST WIFE and Indlu Enkulu)of Ncapayi gave birth to DIKO and SOGONI, from the second wife (Indlu yekunene) was Makaula, the third wife (Iqadi lendlu enkulu) was Dabula. The Kingdom of Bhacas is currently being revived by the great house of Ncapayi, Inkosi Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko. The home of the Bhacas and the Kingdom is in Mount Frere, KwaBhaca in the Eastern Cape.
Ncapayi is said to have been a fearless freebooter, a diplomat of note who showed even more intelligence than his father.
According to Rev. Soga, during the same year in which Ncapayi’s father –Madzikane – was killed, Ncaphayi entered Tembuland to avenge his father’s death. The Thembus under King Ngubengcuka made an ineffectual stand and the Bhacas swept away a large number of cattle (Soga, p. 443)
Before King Madzikane died and because of the relationship he had with King Faku, he advised his son to temporarily be a tributary King in Pondoland. He indeed did that and Faku at this time welcomed the Bhacas as this also coincided with the arrival of Nqetho, a Chief of the Qwabes who had moved from Natal running away from King Tshaka’s army because he could not serve under King Dingane. When he entered Pondoland and tried to secure land by violence, Faku was anxious to rid him out and therefore secure assistance from Ncaphayi to eject Nqetho. AmaBhaca drove them away back into Natal and Dingane issued an instruction to kill Nqetho
The Thembus defeat by the Bhacas discussed above, also led to Faku making an arrangement with Ncapayi when Pondos wanted to attack the Thembus. They entered Thembuland on three successive occasions and each time their raid was a success. Ncapayi is said to have been a fearless freebooter that was respected by many nations
Soga asserts that cupidity is said to have been the force that brought Faku and Ncapayi to work together. It is also cupidity that is said to have destroyed their good working relationship. Because they were both strong, it became difficult to know which one more powerful that the other. The freebooter attacked Nyanda, the Right Hand section of the Phondos under Ndamase, the son of Faku. He raided Nyanda successfully. Meanwhile the alarm had been raised with Faku and therefore Faku assembled a powerful army and this came up with the Bhacas and attacked them on all sides. Faku drove the Bhacas before him on the ridge kuNowalala. Ncaphayi was wounded and forced over the rock, falling on to a ledge some distance from the Bottom. He was in helpless condition with both arms broken, besides a severe assegai wound. He laid there for days, persuading those who came to look at him to put an end to his misery and kill him. No one could do this until Faku gave orders that he must be killed. Thus the death of Madzikane’s son, king Ncapayi in 1845.
In about 1837 Boers arrived in Natal with herds of cattle and the Bhacas saw an opportunity to attack and raid. Between 1837/39/40, the Boers are said to have been fighting in Natal when the Bhacas teamed up with the Bushmen and raided.
In about February 1838 the Boers settled in the upland of Natal and had successfully set the foundation upon which they could erect the Republic of Natalia, which after their victories over Dingane, they extended northward to uMfolozi and St. Lucia Bay (Blue Book on Native Affairs, 1885). The Boers had managed to get into arrangements with other Kings but and therefore did not consider them as potential enemies anymore. For an example they considered King Faku as friendly King and rated Ncapayi as having a powerful military and also a threat.
When the Boers came back, they decided to attack the Bhacas (Bryant, p. 400) and raided 700 and 50 horses (Nchanga, 119). This is said to have provided the spark for the British intervention in the Bhaca land (At this time this land had become part of Natal). There is still an area near the town of Maclear which is still called Ncapayi land (Kapayi land – because they could not pronounce “Nca”).
By 1845 the Bhacas had already been stripped off their Kingdom through Maitland Treaty. Ncapayi, the First Enemy in the Maitland Treaty dies and was survived by his first son from his great wife, Diko. But Diko is to be reduced to a headman later on.
INkosi Diko was a hero, a stubborn and a fearless leader of courage. He led amaBhaca nation for 35 years from 1845 to 1880 after the death of his father iKumkani Ncapayi ka Madzikane. INkosi Diko was the grand-son of King Madzikane ka Zulu.
iNkosi Diko was a fierce leader who fought against the annexation of the land by the British Colonial Government and he even resisted handing over amaBhaca nation to become British subjects. As a result of his resistance to the oppressive rule of the colonisers he never became the favourite of colonial government of his time. That government could not stand him and they decided to overthrow in 1880. The oppression of Diko’s house has been felt by all eight (8) generations, for a period of 130 years.
According to the writings of Anderson Mhlawuli Makaula (1988), by virtue of birth and according to tradition, Diko was the heir to iKumkani Ncaphayi, but, because of some councillors of amaBhaca who liked Mamjucu, the mother of Makaula, she was fraudulently made a great wife, hence her son attained chieftainship. Makhohlisa (the mother of Diko and Sogoni) who was Ncaphayi’s wife of the great house (uNdlunkulu), was not loved by these councillors, hence they plotted against her.
It happened that Ncaphayi had killed a man in one of the Mfecane battles and according to amaBhaca tradition, iNkosi was not supposed to have any contact with his wives until he had undergone some medical treatment. A separate accommodation was to be provided for him. Ncaphayi was then placed in isolation for a stipulated period. It was further conspired by the councillors under Qulu Siwela that the wife who goes to cook for iNkosi Ncaphayi in isolation and conceives during that period would be the one who would give birth to the chief that would succeed Ncaphayi after his death.
The councillors first went to uNdlunkulu Makhohlisa, (Diko and Sogoni’s mother) and deceived her that she must not dare put her foot in the isolation place where Ncaphayi was sleeping, because this would weaken her sons and thus cause death by assegai among her children. This sounded reasonable to Makhohlisa. Thereafter the same councillors went to advised Mamjucu, (the second wife) to go and cook for iNkosi Ncaphayi in the isolation place. She acted as instructed and her son, Makaula was then made iNkosi of amaBhaca.
Ever-since then, because of this conspiracy, this trick and treachery, the Great House of Ncaphayi has suffered a great deal of disrespect, degradation and injustice throughout generations that followed.
After iNkosi Ncaphayi’s death Diko (his first and eldest son) led amaBhaca from 1845. iNkosi Diko was always in conflict with the British Government and he blatantly refused the annexation of the land of amaBhaca nation. When the British supremacy pervaded the Transkei territory during the 1860s, the government pioneered the annexation of the Transkeian territories. Amakhosi were to give up their power and paramount and become subjects of the British Colonial government. Magistrates were to take over the power from amaKhosi, especially those who refused submitting their nations to be under the British rule. iNkosi Diko was one of those traditional leaders who resisted and he was then overthrown as iNkosi, deposed and made headman by the colonial government in 1880.
Battles were fought throughout this period, for an example, a friend to iNkosi Diko was iNkosi Mhlontlo of amaMpondomise who is said to have killed a magistrate at Qumbu in resistance against such annexation. Other amaKhosi who accepted annexation were rewarded for their loyalty to the oppressive colonial government and eventually they were looked after and treated well by the colonial government.
The plan to destroy any trace of iNkosi Diko and his descendants has prevailed over generations after this great hero had died. Even today, Diko’s files, from iNkosi Diko himself, Qoza ka-Diko, Mthakathi ka-Qoza, Mabhijela ka-Mthakathi, Dingumhlaba ka-Mabhijela and Mzawugugi ka-Dingumhlaba (all the descendants of Diko) have been removed from the archives in Mthatha. The big question is: What happened to these files and where are they?
AmaBhaca are mainly found in the small towns such as Mount Frere, uMzimkhulu, Xopo and some surrounding areas. The isiBhaca language is a mixture of isiXhosa, isiZulu and isiSwati. The language of isiSwati was influenced by the fact that King Madzikane’s mother was from one of the Royal Houses of the Swatis of aMalambo. He grew up within the Swatis from his mother’s side and therefore spoke the language. Although he accepts that he is not an authority on this, Jordan, A.C. (1953) argues also assets that in the traditional history of the Bhacas, “uDlamini and kwaDlamini” figure a great deal (P.5). He further states that the Bhaca language was stifled to death chiefly by isiXhasa through, amongst others, schools and churches and that a large number of enlightened Bhacas were taught to look down upon their mother tongue.
Diko is the first son of Ncapayi, (Makhohlisa a daughter of Dzanibe clan was the first wife of Ncapayi) with his younger brother Sogoni from the first wife of Ncaphayi. The younger brother from the second wife was Inkosi Makaula followed by Inkosi Dabula and others from other younger wives. Inkosi Madzikane ll Diko is the Crown Prince of iNkosi Dilizintaba, ka Dingumhlaba, ka Mabhijela i, ka kaMthakathi, kaQoza ka Diko ka Ncaphayi, ka Madzikane, ka Khalimeshe, ka Vebi, ka Wabane, ka Didi, ka Zulu, ka Ntombela, ka Malandela, ka Dlungwana, ka Ndaba.
INkosi Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko is currently the Head of the kwaBhaca/LuBhacweni Traditional Council at ELundzini Royal Kraal, Ncunteni Great Place, LuBhacweni A/A in Mount Frere, KwaBhaca.
AmaBhaca were therefore stripped off their dignity and their Kingdomship by the Colonial Powers, the Boers, the Griquas and later on, the apartheid systems did not make it any better. The home of the Bhacas is in Mount Frere, while other Bhacas who went back to KwaZulu are in Mzimkhulu and Ixopo under the Zulu Kingdom.