DOWN MEMORY LANE
Today, in 1920, a Great Great Grandson of Zwangendaba was born, far away from his ancestral home in St Lucia Bay.Chipata in Eastern Zambia, would be the place where this Ngoni warrior would be born from.
He was born at a time when the empire founded by his Great Grandfather, Mphezeni, had fallen at the hands of the Europeans.The Europeans sought to completely alter the Ngoni way of life to easily CONTROL them. Christianity was heavily used to achieve this feat. Thus he was given a Portuguese name of Pontino.
But the Ngonis themselves would also give him names of his heritage, Msandulezeni and Khuzwayo. But just who was Pontino and why is he being immortalized in this article today?
Pontino Msandulezeni Khuzwayo Jele was the son of King Gabriel Chiloah Jele (Mphezeni 2) and Queen Justina Tembo of Nthombimbi village. He became an automatic Crown Prince after the ‘mysterious’ death of his elder brother, Sheba ‘Mbobo’ Jele who died whilst still a boy-the Khuzwayo name of Pontino is because of this death of his elder brother.
As he was growing up he witnessed for himself the type of society that the Europeans had created in his father’s land. Unlike his father who atleast witnessed the hosting of the Angoni’s most scared Symbol of Pride, the Incwala,Pontino grew up in a difficult period where his forefathers heritage was arrested by the colonial government which argued it would birth a resistance like the one Nsingo had inspired in 1898.
In 1941, Pontino would be the one leading the Ngoni Nation following the resting of his father, King Gabriel. He thus took a leading role in the fight to liberate his nation. During the reign of King George in England, King Pontino was part of other distinguished Traditional Leaders that went to England to resist the Federation.
He was escorted to the airport by his Impis who sang songs of solidarity for their King. The famous Ingoma song, ‘Amphezeni Kumukuya’ was composed right there on the airport as the Impis sang forbidding their King not to accept the Federation. King Lewanika and Inkhosi Mpanza were the other two traditional leaders that travelled to England for the same task.
Back home, King Pontino was an avid hunter and was a very close friend of Chief Kambwili of the Bisa Speaking People of Northern Zambia. In fact his first born son was named Kambwili. The Ingoma dance was his other love. Although the Incwala was still not being celebrated during much of his reign days, King Pontino danced the Ingoma dance right in the Isibaya and loved the ‘nguba’ song which was composed by his grandfather during the 1898 skirmshes.
Recognizing the importance of reverting back to his forefather’s ways of honoring the spirits, King Pontino started to push for the rebirth of the Incwala. His tenacity soon paid off when in the late1970s, finally there was a government will to see the same ceremony being reinstated.
In 1980, the rest of the Zambian society had literally shifted their attention to Luangeni where a 60 year old descendant of Zwangendaba was leading his people on a royal pilgrimage of the Ncwala. In a glorious style, the King and his people started off the journey on foot from Laungeni and soon reached the terrain of Inkhosi Saili Jele. They then continued their warrior walk to finally reach Inkhosi Nzamane Jele and finally reached Mthenguleni under Inkhosi Madzimawe to a heroic welcome.
Finally, King Pontino had added a last glorious chapter to his life. Reviving the Ncwala continues being his most iconic moment of his reign. King Pontino died on 12 June 1981 and is sleeping alongside his father at Feni village in the Luangeni area.
Attached; Standing just In front of chief returner is His Majesty King Pontino Khuzwayo Jele (Mphezeni III), on his right with a shield is Mr Hudson Chiwele Maimisa, on his left is Mr Chimzinga Chiwele with a shield too- elder brother to Hudson and the rest is the Chimuzinga family. The picture was taken in Kitwe, River Side at the Chimzinga residence.
The Maimisa’s too have written their chapter in the Ngoni History Book. They are from Phangweni/Chiwele village under Mphakathi Isibaya. In fact Hudson Maimisa’s mother was also from royalty as she was the daughter of Inkhosi Saili 3. Chimzinga Chiwele, operated a bus company that was based on the Copperbelt.
Shared by #Gumbi Kaziguda Jele
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