Tributes for late king at New Brighton memorial service

PLEA FOR UNITY: A memorial service of the late AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu was held at the Bantu Church of Christ in New Brighton on Wednesday evening
PLEA FOR UNITY: A memorial service of the late AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu was held at the Bantu Church of Christ in New Brighton on Wednesday evening
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

A man of his word with calibre, love for his people and a community builder.

Those were the words used to describe the late amaXhosa King Mpendulo Calvin Zwelonke Sigcawu at a memorial service held at the Bantu Church of Christ in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

The  king, 51,  died at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha on November 14.

More than 100 people gathered for the memorial service, among them Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani, members of the mayoral committee, delegates from the royal family, traditional leaders, Bantu Church of Christ congregation and members of the public.

Prince Zolile Burns-Ncamashe from the amaRharhabe royal house said Sigcawu was the embodiment of true leadership.

“He was very humble, accessible, forthright and firm with strong views, especially with issues that seek to upload and promote our indigenous heritage,” Ncamashe said.

He said his legendary footsteps typified unity among the house of Phalo.

He was a king with a clear vision. He will forever inspire generations to come not, only of the Xhosa [people] but also of all the other nations who subscribe to the fundamental principles of peace and prosperity,” he said.

Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA regional secretary Siviwe Kwake said Sigcawu had died with a dream of uniting all the Xhosa-speaking nations.

“The king had so much hope in unifying Xhosa people, he had initiatives of bringing back the old traditions, Xhosa practices and Ubuntu," Kwakhe said.

National House of Traditional Leaders executive member Nkosi Xolile Ndevu said Sigcawu was passionate about fighting poverty and unemployment for his people.

“He despised poverty, and right after his coronation in 2015 he formed a development trust and foundation to uplift black people and also promote Xhosa heritage,” Ndevu said.

He did all this for Xhosa people because he wanted to avoid his people relocating to big cities outside the Eastern Cape.

NMB council speaker Buyelwa Mafaya said she hoped Sicgawy’s death could bring about unity.

“We are gathered here pained by the death of a king, but we are also here to pray and plead with our elders that when we are done here, there should be peace and unity in our Metro,” Mafaya said.

Delivering the benediction, Bantu Church of Christ Bishop John Bolana said when the head of the nation died, there must be unity.

“He was still a young man, but within the short period he had done a lot for his people,” Bolana said.

He added that he was courageous and had revived the Xhosa nation.

“He still had a lot to do, but we must allow him to rest in peace and pray that God accepts his soul and unites him with his forefathers,” Bolana said.  

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