T/Shabalala Clan Origin
The T/Shabalala clan has its origins at Mhlongamvula in the Simakadze region in Zululand (now Mpumalanga). Their first interaction with the Swazi people occurred during the reign of King Mswati II, who attacked them at Mhlongamvula through the Inyatsi regiment. During the clash, their (Shabalala) leader Mafalaza 1, was killed and his senior son Maphokela, along with his mother LaMadonsela were kidnapped and brought back to Swaziland. On the way back, LaMadonsela, who was heavily pregnant, developed labour pains and gave birth to a baby girl who was named Lonyatsi, after the Swazi regiment that had conquered her father’s people.
Maphokela grew up within the Swazi royal household, and later became an apprentice (Luhlaka) to traditional healer Majumba Madonsela, who was as good as his uncle.
Around 1852, King Mswati II established a new residence in the Northern Hhohho region. He then betrothed Fusi Somkhanda LaSicaga Mabizela, who was from Ntondozi and made her the senior wife at the new residence. Other records dispute this fact, claiming that King Mswati died while LaMabizela was still liphovela and not a fully-fledged Inkhosikati. Mafalaza’s son Maphokela was also staying at this residence, and had become a highly respected traditional healer with magical powers. He was also the war doctor and treated the regiment everytime they went to war. Among his occult powers, Maphokela was said to be able to curse a cow or a wild animal by simply pointing, and the poor animal would break one of its legs, thus incapacitating itself.
Upon the King (Mswati II) death in 1865, Maphokela got romantically involved with LaMabizela, and their illicit courtship (relationship) resulted in the birth of an ‘illegitimate’ child, who was named Luvuno. Around 1876, both Maphokela and LaMabizela eloped to the Eastern Transvaal, where they sought refuge among the Ndebele people, after their scandalous union was unraveled.
Many years later, Swazi traditional authorities through King Bhunu, sent Chief Mhlaba Matsa, who was the insila to King Mswati II, to go and convince the couple (Maphokela and LaMabizela) to return back home as all had been forgiven.
Swazi traditional authorities ordered them (Maphokela and LaMabizela) to return back home. The [adulterous couple’s] return was triggered by King Bhunu’s, who was worryied about a ‘royal’ child growing up in the wilderness – as some factions were not convinced that Luvuno was the product of his mother’s adulterous affair with Maphokela. They were of the belief that King Mswati II may have died after LaMabizela had conceived him, and (thus) the child is not a Shabalala as many believed.
Nevertheless Maphokela, exercising extreme caution, as he was aware of the gravity of his crime, reluctantly agreed to return home with his family; but first pleaded that he be given time to bid farewell to the Mlambo people who had treated him so well during his sojourn with them. But, instead of doing that, Maphokela left for Zululand, where he stayed for two years. He was no very sure as to what the Swazi’s wanted to do with him, and was bemused as to how they had found out of his whereabouts.
When Chief Mhlaba went back to check on him among the Ndebele people at Bhalule, he only found the remains of the homestead as Maphokela was now living in Zululand. Acting on a tip-off, Chief Mhlaba eventually found Maphokela at Luthaka and convinced him that the King meant no harm.
Luvuno, who had grown up considerably then, had his name changed to Maveletiveni, in recognition of his parent’s adulterous exile. Luvuno died on the 6th of September 1968, the day Swaziland regained her independence from the British, further symbolising ‘Maveletiveni’ – the name given to him by Swazi Indlovukati.
Chief Mhlaba later presented Maphokela to King Bhunu who only asked him whether he still practised traditional medicine of which Maphokela answered to the affirmative.
This happens at a time when the Butimba hunt was in progress and the King demanded that Maphokela proved that he was still a potent mutiman. Maphokela proved himself by returning back to the King carrying a dead bush buck, which did not spot even a single wound. This, he had managed to do by using his special magical powers and had merely pointed at the animal, which just dropped dead.
It was in this strength that the King forgave Maphokela and rewarded him with a vast expanse of land at present day Dvwalile area in the Mangcongco Inkundla, where the clan (Tshabalala’s) established itself.
Maphokela died before 1923, and on the orders of the Swazi traditional elders, he was buried near the high school Zombodze II in the Shiselweni region.