A Matobo woman whose relatives claim was wife to one of King Lobengula Khumalo’s medicine men, Sincengani Ndawana Ndlovu, has died aged 109.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Ndlovu died on April 14, three days after she was diagnosed with cancer and her family believes she died of stress related to the diagnostic trauma.
She was born in 1906 and got married in 1917 aged 11. According to her family, she was given away as compensation to the medicine man (inyanga) for a misdemeanor by her father.
Her husband was a former junior medicine man for the Ndebele king.
Ndlovu’s great grandchild, a historian, said she was a traditionalist and loved life.
“Sezile Ndlovu eventually became a herbalist after her husband but converted to Christianity through the Seventh-Day Adventist church,” she said.
Sezile said Ndlovu could still walk for about eight km every week, before her death.
“In the past few weeks she had been a bit under the weather and the cancer diagnosis seemed to have worsened her condition leading to her passing away,” she added.
Hloniphani Sibanda, a fifth generation grandchild of Ndlovu said she had six surviving children who were also inyangas. She said Ndlovu will be remembered for her love of children and as a reservoir for dying local culture.
Sezile said Ndlovu grew up at a time the Ndebele State had just dissipated and its citizens were pondering the “disappearance” of Lobengula.
She saw the establishment of mission institutions, imposition of taxes and recruitment of men into farms, mines and sprouting compounds and early makeshift urban centres then called dorps (amadolobho).
Sezile added: “She witnessed the slow withdrawal of loin skins and morasses and the power of the gun over the knobkerrie.
“She moved into early resistance against white rule; saw her children going into the liberation war; into independence and into poverty and the Diaspora.”
Hloniphani said the Ndlovu famlily was celebrating the rich and varied life their great grandmother lived.