A List Of Unique Xhosa Clan Names, Surnames and Royal Names

The Xhosa nation has one of the most interesting cultures in Mzansi when it comes to naming. In isiXhosa culture, the choice of name for a child is very important, especially in traditional homes. As a result, a ceremony known as imbeleko is usually held when a child is born and the ceremony is a means of introducing the child to the ancestors and the community as well. Also, in Xhosa culture, clan names are more important than both surnames and names as they serve a different purpose. One of its purposes is that it helps to keep the memory of the ancestors who prepared the way for the Xhosa people.

Thus, a Xhosa clan name commemorates ancestors and keep their memory alive. The amaXhosa is a nation from Southern Africa whose homeland is within the modern-day Eastern Cape. They are named after one of their kings, Xhosa who was the father of Malanga. The amaXhosa people have a total population of over 7.5 million in South Africa. Their clan names, known as iziduko, are very vital to knowing their Xhosa identity. Hence, it is considered a shame for a Xhosa person not to know his or her clan name as this matters most to the Xhosa nation.

What is a Clan Name?

Among the Xhosa people, who are also referred to as the amaXhosa, a clan name serves as a link between a person and his or her identity within the Xhosa kingdom. Thus, clan names are one of the most important forms of identity among the amaXhosa. Just like Scotland’s clan system, Xhosa people can use their clan names to trace their family history back to a specific male ancestor. This makes the name very vital in the Xhosa kingdom as it is the crux of understanding oneself.

Xhosa clan names have more to do with cultural identity. They are the embodiment of the high culture and are a central part of the isiXhosa language pertaining to ancestor reverence. As a result, these family names are regarded highly than surnames. Among Xhosa people, clan names, called isiduko (singular) and iziduko (plural), are very important, and with the names being shared across the clans within the culture, the clan name system is commemorative in nature. These family names are used in the everyday lives of Xhosa men, women, and children.

It is considered the highest form of respect when one mentions the Xhosa clan name of the person he or she wishes to thank. Additionally, when two Xhosa persons meet, they are expected to enquire after each other’s clan name, which is seen as a polite thing to do. When a Xhosa woman gets married, even though she may take her husband’s surname, she always keeps her clan name and adds the prefix ‘Ma’ to it. The importance of Xhosa clan names is also reflected in their relationships, such that if a man and woman have the same clan name, they can’t be allowed to get married because they are considered to be of the same relation.

Furthermore, among Xhosa people, two persons with the same surname but different clan names are seen as total strangers while two people with the same clan name but different surnames are considered close relatives. This forms the basis of ubuntu (human kindness) in Xhosa as their tribes are known to be extending a helping hand to a complete stranger when in need as a result of sharing the same clan name.

How Many Xhosa Clans are There?

The Xhosa nation comprises of two main sub-tribes – The AmaGcaleka in the East of the Kei River and AmaRharhabe to the West. The AmaRharhabe comprises of different tribes such as AmaMbalu, AmaNgqika, AmaNdlama, and imiDushane. There are more than 10 Xhosa tribes in Mzansi and they have numerous clans scattered under them. As a result, it’s still uncertain how many Xhosa clans exist. In the Xhosa nation, many clans make up a tribe and a few of the well-known clans in Xhosa are;

  • Tshawe
  • Madiba
  • Tshonyane
  • Mtshengu
  • Qoma
  • Mngxongo
  • Khumalo
  • Rhoyi
  • Nyase
  • Ndlovu
  • Gcuma
  • Tshezi
  • Radebe
  • Nozulu
  • Ndunu
  • Thiyane
  • Nyosi
  • Dzana
  • Bhele

Some of the Xhosa tribes are as follows:

  • AmaFingwa
  • AmaRigwa
  • AmaFingo
  • AmaBomvana
  • AmaQadi
  • AmaMpondo
  • AmaXesibe
  • AmaNgwevu
  • AmaSan and Khoi
  • AmaGqunukweba
  • AmaHigwa
  • AmaMpondomise
  • AmaNtinde

List of Uncommon Xhosa Clans/Clan Names and Origins or Historial Significance

1. Tshawe

The Tshawe clan is the ruling house of the Xhosa nation. They can constitute a small nation on their own if extricated from amaXhosa people.

Tshawe Clan Names: Ngconde, Langa, Malangana, Hlanga, Tshawe, Ntu, Sihomo, Ngoni, Xhosa, Nkosiyamntu, Togu, Mnguni, Ngcwangu, Gando Tshiwo, Sarhili/Krele, Phalo, Khawuta, Ngangomhlaba Mpisekhaya, Gcaleka, Hintsa, Xolilzwe, Sigcawu, and Gwebinkumbi.

2. Gcina 

The Gcina clan is originally from Lady Frere in the Eastern Cape. Having been a dominant clan, the people of Gcina, also known as amaGcina are believed to be kings of Lady Frere.

Gcina Clan Names: Malambedlile, Helushe, Nokwindla, Xhamela Ncancashe, Thyopho, Isizukulwana sika Nomagwayi, uhamba epheth’isali ihashe ulifumana emfengwini, bathi iigusha ziziduli zethafa, umbon’obomvu wase mbo, izintho zabantu abazibi koko bayazigcina, and Malambayendle elambel’inyama yenyamakazi.

3. Jola

The Jola clan are the royalties of the Mondomise sub-group.

Jola Clan Names: OoNgwanya, SingaMampondomise ngohlanga, oncancisa naphesheya komlambo, ooMphaNkomo, nomakhala, sithandwa mhla kukubi, ooJola, hakaha, oncancisa naphesheya komlambo, hoshode, OoNgwanya, njuza, ooJoliNkomo, sthukuthezi, njuza, ooQengeba, and mfaz’ obele ‘nye omabele made.

4. Khumalo

The Khumalo clan share a clan name – Mzilikazi kaMashobane with the Hlubi clan.

Khumalo Clan Names: ah! ndabezitha, mntungwa, sichaba, imidietye, dibandiela, oomadibanisa indonga, and noyila.

5. Khwetshube

Khwetshube clan shares some clan names with the Mpondo clan and they include Ndelemane, Njenjani, Mabude, and Detshe.

Khwetshube Clan Names: kaXhanga, Bhongxa, Mhlang’olal ‘intake Kaz’ utshile nje zolala phi! Ndlu kaYokazi, Ngcawukana, Xhanga, and Bipha.

6. Debeza

The Dabeza clan are the royalties of the AmaMpondomise tribe. Their main concentration is in the former Transkei, in Qumbu, Tsolo, Umthatha in the Eastern Cape.

Dabeze Clan Names: ngoJebe, OoDebeza, Mbeka Ntshiyini Bathi uqumbile, Nonyanya, Khonkcoshe Mbokodo engave mkwetsho, and Nongoqo.

7. Mpinga

Mpinga is the clan of Enoch Sontonga, the author of the “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” part of the Republic of South Africa’s National Anthem.

Mpinga Clan Names: Ntose, Mbaka kaNkqoshe, Ngwangwashe, Pondomise, Nyaw’zinoshukela, yazi b’inobaya ifanelwe ngabafana, Mawawa, uSenzwa, Mbetshane, Ngceza, mzukulu kaSityulu, Sintila, Kheth’omthandayo, and Sineka.

8. Ndungwane

These are the descendants of the Abathembu people.

Ndugwane Clan Names: Buhle bendoda ziinkomo, Bukhali bentonga, Bhejula, Isagweba esavala iindonga kukubi, Ngqolomsila, Bukhali bentonga, uSandla senkosi, Sophitsho, Yem yem, uSoze, uMsimelelo, and Ngibiselwano.

9. Nkwali

The Nkwali clan people are originally from Mkhwanazi and were born ebukhosini buka Ndwandwa. They are part of the amaHlubi tribe and were famous during the rule of Dlomo the Hlubi king. Maphela and Bhukula originate from the Nkwalis.

Nkwali Clan Names: Mkhanazi, Bhukula, and Nkwali yeNkosi.

10. Nyawuza

Nyawuza clan is the ruling line in the Mpondo tribe.

Nyawuza Clan Names: Bokleni, Faku, Ndamase, and Sigcau.

11. Bhayi

The Bhayi clan belongs to the AmaVundle tribe.

Bhayi Clan Names: Msuthu, Nyokemnyama ecad’iziziba, Khetshe, Camsholo, Mkhumbeni, Nkonjane ebhabh’ emafini, Gwaca, Mkentane, Khayisa, and Mevamhlophe.

12. Deyi

Deyi Clan Names: Manzini, Xolo, Cebisa, Wayisi, Bhangushe, Makhoba, Hlathi, Cume, Gabisa, Ncume, Mako, Dei, Bhengu, Mjoli, Nkuna, Mbokazi, Wushe, Sengwayo, Khusi, Mthwakazi, Nonina, Ndeki, Dlakana, Vezi, Fusana, Mbelani, Noconjo, Mphafane, Bekiswa, Mzungu, Qhakaza, Ndudane, Zikhali, Mancini, Farru, Zungulu, Mase, Finini, Geda, Bekiso, Mbokazi, Sinyali, Mphephu, Hambashe, Khusher, Nkuna, Phaahla, Gwabini, Phakwe, Gwaru, Babalo, Nkatha, Phoi, Wushe, Ham, Pepu, Xhakaza, Qubulashe, Khwswa, Shwawu, Diko, Qamata, Xhonti, Mshwawu, Diya, Gqigqigqi, Valela, Mbovu, Lambatha, Soreh, Noma-Ndzo-Ndzo ka Phika’ne’langa, and Nduli.

13. Bhele

Bhele Clan Names: Nondela, Pheketha, Bharhodi, Nebhunda, Makubalo, Bhungezi, Mbeko, Sikwethu, Mbai, Mavuso, Mzozo, Salaivha, Madzikana, Kaifur, Ndzikame, Notell, safi, Ciya, dez, Gume, Lahilathi, Mandela, Mzaku, Mbidaniso, Siqenduka, Msomi, Mfunisa, Rhamente, Mzotho, Msuku, Hasheki, Nduku, Mishekwi, Ndzeku, Ntulo, Qwiba, Ngamlana, gamle, Ndizakazi, Masela, Nteko, Jonnas, Ntonga, festile, Mtembu, Mqwathi, Mehlomade, Maduna, Nyembe, Shezi, Zwai, qwasana, Mbekeni, Nxasana, Gagashe, Ludeke, Madikizela, Ntsele, Ndayi, Magidela, Tshawe, Gwara, Ngutyana, Mgabadeli, Fukutha, Nqala, Mtengwana, Shumeka, Mazwai, Ngcingwana  mathambo, Tamse, Photshozwayo, Nodada, Thwasa, Mgoma, Mofokeng, Majeke, Mafikeni, mtholesi, Mlaba, Ka Mvumbi ka Ngigame Notha, Jere, amd Mfeka.

14. Cirha

Cirha Clan Names: Qhangqolo, Langa, Hlanga, Xhosa, Nojaholo, Ntu, Ntswentswe, Nkosiyamntu, Nciba[ne], Nojaholo, Nkosiyane, Mlangana, Oniwe, Rhubusana, Malandela, Mhlant’endlovu, Bonga, Sihlobo, Tyiwa, SikaTshawe, Nyembezi[ana], Dlakalashe, Hasa Ntlokw’enyani, Hloml’phuthu lidala lineempondo, and Gabha.

15. Ngcwangule

Ngcwangule clan belongs to the AmaMpondo tribe.

Ngcwangule Clan Names: Nqashiya, mgazil oblellinye owaliphosa pheyeya komlanjana bahluthutha bonke abasemangcwaguleni, Ntombi zithi ndizeke Bhuti noba awunankomo, Phelwani, Sikhuni somga nesomthole, ntombi ziyamlilela zithi Bhuti usishiyela ntoni sikhuthanda nje, and umntu awagwazumntu emasendeni.

16. Madiba

Madiba Clan Names: Jumba, Mthikrakra, Joyi, Buyelekhaya, Ngangelizwe, Sabatha, and Dalindyebo.

17. Dontsa

These are the descendants of the Hlubi tribe.

Dontsa Clan Names: lntlanzi enkulu yase Mzimkhulu, uDontsa ongena mafinyila, oDludlu, Bele lide linisela ngaphesheya ngomfula, oMntungwa uNdukuMkhonto, uShembe, Nyathikazi ka Luvuno, Thupa lengwe elabonwa ngabathezi bentaba bathi bakulibona balithandabuza oShwahla, bath’ uDontsa akananyongo kant’ abay’bon’ uba igqunywe ngeshbhadlalala so mhlehlo, and uMagawula ngo jece abanye begawula nge zembe.

18. mNdlane

mNdlane clan is made up of the descendants of the Thembu people.

mNdlane Clan Names: Nomdimba, Ntlokwan’ibanzana, and Tutuse.

19. Mdlangathi

Mdlangathi Clan Names: Ngwenduna, Juta, Mome mome Sirhama Somntwana, Mencwa, Ntaba ayikhonjwa ikhonjwa Ngamadlangathi odwa, Ntlangwane, ntshozina, Nyonyoza ka Nyinywa, Nobhedu, Nyame’enja eyafel’emfuleni yeza ngokunuka elalini, mth’ugawlwe ngabangangaye ngamapilinya, Mkhobela, mfaz’othakathayo ubonwa ngeempund’uxweba xa kbanda, u-hagu hagu ndubolek’umbombo ndiqebul’amafusi ndakuph’iingqweqwe mhla ndafula, u juba lalal’emthinj ngokuzbonakalisa, Bhalangilr ka toto, nzipho zekati ziyi nkcalankcala zithul’ibhekile yetiki ixhonywe emahlantini ob’hlanti, mbembe ka mahlalela, ndakthum’ebhisdolophu walibala kusel’iti enempukane, and nkunz’emnyana bakhuz’ukuhlaba ngoba zonk’izizwe ziyzwil’ukulila.

20. Nyosi

Nyosi Clan Names: cuba, cesane ndabanzana nyosi, ntozakhe, mbewana, jokweni, Khwange, dlula, mbona obomvu  zalamzi, nodala, ntimela, ntunwana, kuvel’ ithokazi lenkomo nyos’ eneqeba ngaphambili, nophungula, babangalithena liyabhebha, msuthu, abantu abathunda enkundleni, maswakuza njengenyamazana, and ngoba eziphantsi ziyabasinekela khwange lenkomo.

21. Ndaba

Ndaba Clan Names: Bhadela, Nogubel’egoduka, Nkuluka, Njujane, Tshibase, Nzipho zimnyama kukuqhwaya, Nonunu, Mntungwa, Dzujana, Ntombezintle nabayeni bazo, Myelase, Oboboka nje ngomkhuma woThukela, Nwayo zimhlophe noxa zinodaka, Manyuza, Ngabaphakela umyeni esithebeni kuba besonga amazimba, Nomangcangca, Nothuli, Bharuza, Magutwa, Khand’iyeza etyeni, Mntungwa ombulazi owadl’umntu emyenga ngeendaba, Mvelase, Mgubo odliwa ngabahambi bendlela, and Nompundwana zinzinane yanga zingongiwa linunu entle engali mintu.

22. Mphuthi

Mphuthi Clan Names: Amathol’enkomo zikaNyathi, Msuthu, Izilwana zona zehla ezintabeni zokhahlamba ngeziluluthwana, Rhabani, ebePhuth’ephuthini! Oozishuba zimdakana phesheya komlanjana weggili, Oogaxel’umbengo, Tsiki, boya beNyathi, abeSuthu, Esikhoyo isikululwana sesabo OoQhaziyana, and sithetha ngenzala ka Nose (Nhose) kubafazi bakhe abathathu kuMawushe ewe uMatshezu naye uMamhlwane.

23. Jwarha

Jwarha Clan Names: Bantw’abahle noba bapheth’izikhali, and Hlanga.

24. Zulu

Zulu Clan Names: Phungulam Tshaka, Ndabakazi, Mpundzima, Ntombela, Seme, Ndlovana, Sakhephi, Lombeki, Mhlehluwile, Mbilingati, Sikamade, Ngwana, Mtungwa, Lemba, and Mpungose.

25. Mtolo

Mtolo Clan Names: Amajubantlantsi, Nongwadla, Mfingo, Ngwenyankomo, Masali, Bhanekazi, Tolo, Nozinja ziyafulathelana, Mchenge, Umlamb’ awuwelwa, Vumba lempongo liyanuka, Kanti zenz’umntwana, Zona zimaphiko made, Uwelwa ziinkonjane kuphela, kuba zithezwe yinkosazana, Nozinja ziyakhonkotha, Bona babasa amadaka eenkomo zabo, Izinto ezifuye Inkomo zafuya negusha nehashe, and Nkomo zikaGaxaza!

26. Ndlovu

Ndlovu Clan Name: Mntungwa Gengesu Malunga Mancoba (zidlekhaya ngokuswela umalusi).

27. Mbongwe

Mbongwe Clan Names: Sigudu sebhokwe, Mbuyisa, Mathobela, Sandamela, Nkob’aziphekwa ngamavila ziphekwa zizikhuthali, Ndimande ka qaqaqa, Mvemnyama, Ndanwonde, Khoza, and Madas’elangeni.

28. Sukwini

The Sukwini clan are members of the Khoi-Khoi ancestry.

Sukwini Clan Names: Somda, Ndela, Deyi, Tik’ayivumani, Lawu, Nja-bomvu, Somchiza, Dibashe, Zazi ngezulu, nepokotho, Ndlakhwe, Nobinye masiyixhele Zininzi entabeni, Ithole loMghwakazi, Mvaba yiketile, Sandlala-ngca, and Bhunguza yintloko.

29. Zoko

Zoko Clan Names: Makhawini, Nyumbana, mntomhle njenjomi, Chatha, Diya malandelwa yintombi ithi ngizeke noma awunkomo, Ngqambashe, Maniza, Bhokomela, Mazwana, Nduluka, Tseku, Mafumbatha, Gojana, Matana, Kitana, Bekwa, Mathathesuka njeNyamazane, Mbhantso, and Dlokovana.

30. Mqwambi

Mqwambi Clan Names: Somjembu, Nkosiyamntu, Hlanga, Xhisa, Tyhala, Mpaku, Mqwambi, Ntshingolo, Ntu, Langa, Ngoni, Holomi, Tshazibane, Jelwayo, Mnguni, Manana, Ntsunswana, Bhangqa, Nkwazi, Dubani, Manyhanyha, Magudumana, Sahluko, Nyawo Zinentsente, Intsimbebomvu, Maroloma, Into Ezaphuma Zabheke’ngqina Zabuya Nethambo le Bhubesi, Gagalagaga, and Imbizenyam’isemlanjeni.

31. Nala

Nala Clan Names: Ndokose ozila zimkhonto zimangqangqase, Nojakadelana, Ngqume, osibhekuza, Osibhekuza, Mpembe, omakhanya ehlungwini kuhlwile, inkomo enhke yaphiwa amaNala nobuhle bayo, Uyokubafumana phesheya KweNciba, and bona abaphembela umlilo emanzini uvuthe, ikomkhulu LiseNgcobo.

32. Sukude

Sukude clans belong to the AmaMpondo tribe.

Sukude Clan Names: Umfo olal’ebanjiwe kodwa avuke kusasa engenatyala, Mkhondwane, Zika Hlambangobubebenda, Sikhonza esikhonz’ufaz’obele linye phesheye komlanjana, Rharh’orhalayo engarhalel’izityalo zabelungu, UNontwenandi, Mbokod’ebomvu yokusil’ucumsi, Zika Gxarha, Mancam’iinkomo ethenga iyeza kuba ngugqirha wamaMpondo, Zika Mthwa ka Sihula, Umthondo omhle ozala amakhosi, Zika Gxarheliphezulu, and Izibaya zika Santsabe.

33. AmaGiqwa

AmaGiqwa Clan Names: Nkosana, Qobi, Jikijwa, Mvabe, Bhaxa, OoNtshinga ay’khwazwa ikhwazwa ngabayazo, Belethe, Mdeyama, Ncudwana, Xhe, Nonesi, Meqo, Qhirama, and Thotywayo.

34. Zoko

Zoko Clan Names: Diya malandelwa yintombi ithi ngizeke noma awunkomo, Dlokovana, Bhokomela, Ngqambashe, Tseku, Chatha, Gojane, Mkhosana, Mathathesuka, Nduluka, Mafumbatha, Makhawini, mntomhle njenjomi, Maniza, Matana, Mbhantso, Kitana, Bekwa, and Nyumbana.

35. Skhoji

Skhoji clan people are direct descendants of William Saunders, a Scottish man who befriended a Xhosa girl but they later went their separate ways. They are Xhosa-speaking people occupying a small town on the Tsitsa valley called Tsolo.

36. Mnkabane

Mnkabane Clan Names: Nkomo zika Marhama, zika Khamanzana, Majeke, unyawo zipinki noba zinentsente, Mthwembotyi, uNkoma zakwa Ntleki, Nduntsha, Mbuswana, zika Ngxalenye, Mayeye, uMthondwana, Undlunkulu wamaNkabane use Dutywa kwisithili sase Taleni, Mabandla ka Rhanjana, Noqazo, Nyawbelemntwini, Mzilanto, and mfaz’obele linye.

37. Bhuku

Bhuku Clan Names: Nkamangane, Mfazi obele lide oncancisela ngaphesheya komfula, Mbhamla, iingonyama ezigqumela ngaphakathi ngokuthanda isizwe sama Xesibe, and Sinqasha.

38. AmaZangwa

AmaZangwa Clan Names: Mjingwane, Khwalo, Tshikila, Mlanjana, Sohobese, Nkume, Ncuthu, and Ncence.

39. Skhosana

The members of this clan are of Ndebele ancestry.

Skhosana Clan Names: Musi ka Mhlanga ayihlangani ihlangana etla kwesithebe, Nozulu, Thukela, Mntungwa, Skhosana, Ntuthwana eyabikela izizwe nezizwana ngoSkhosana, Suza, Novaphi, and Mpafana.

40. Bisha

Bisha Clan Names: Bathi Nonyawana zincinane knati zinkulu oku kwe Bhlayi letolofiya, Gaba, Gogoba, AmaNtambo, Zotsho, Xho’ndlovu, Gantsa, and Mvundl’olubhelu.

Uncommon Xhosa Royal Names

1. Phalo

2. Xolilzwe

3. Matazima

4. Nqoko

5. Jonguxolo

6. Zwelidumile

7. Mpisekhaya

8. Khawuta

9. Hintsa

10. Maqoma

11. Sandile

12. Mgolombane

13. Mamani

14. Zwelonke

15. Ngubengcuka

16. Dalindyebo

17. Nkosiyamatu

18. Ngconde

19. Thandela

20. Mdushane

21. Mxolisi

22. Daliza

23. Sikhomo

Historical Backgrounds of Some of The Unique Xhosa Royal Names

  • Phalo – Paramount chief of the Xhosa kingdom, Phalo ka Tshiwo ruled the amaXhosa from 1736 until he died in 1775.
  • Khawuta – Khawuta ka Gcaleka emerged as the king of the Xhosa people in 1792. He was a direct descendant of Phalo’s Great House.
  • Mamani – Mamani KaPhalo was a Queen of the AmaMpondomise tribe in the late 1700s. As the oldest daughter of king Phahlo of Mpondomise, she successfully challenged her half-brothers from the smaller houses upon her father’s demise. She died in the late 1700s.
  • Zwelonke – King Zwelonke was the 12th king of the Xhosa nation. He took over the throne after the death of his father, Xolilizwe Mzikayise Sigcawu in late 2005. He was then named the new king of the Xhosa kingdom by the royal house in January 2006.
  • Jonguxolo – The tenth king of the AmaRharhabe sub-tribe of the Xhosa kingdom was born on July 31st, 1992. Jonguxolo is the reigning king of the Xhosa sub-group and his ascension was announced during the funeral of his mother, Queen Noloyiso on July 12th, 2020. He is the son of king Maxhobayakhawuleza Sandile and grandson of Zulu king, Cyprian Bhekuzuku kaSolomon.
Xhosa clan names
King Jonguxolo of the AmaRharhabe sub-tribe of Xhosa (Image Source)
  • Xolilzwe – King Xolilzwe was the oldest son of king Zwelidumile. He was an active member of the National House of Traditional Leaders. He ruled the Xhosa people from April 10th, 1965 to December 31st, 2005 when he died in Pretoria at the age of 79.
  • Daliza Sigcawu – Daliza was the 8th king of the AmaGcaleka sub-tribe of the Xhosa Kingdom. He was the son of the 6th chief of AmaGcaleka, Sigcawu ka Sarill. His reign ended in 1923 when he handed over to his nephew, Mpisekhaya Ngangomhlaba Sigcawu.
  • Maqoma – Maqoma was one of the greatest Xhosa military commanders in history. He played a major role in the Sixth and Eighth Xhosa Wars. He was also a Xhosa chief and was the son of king Ngqika of the AmaRharhabe sub-tribe. He died in 1873 at the age of 75.
  • Mpisekhaya – Mpisekhaya Ngangomhlaba Sigcawu ruled the AmaGcaleka sub-tribe of Xhosa from 1923 to June 2nd, 1933 when he died. He was the 9th king of the sub-tribe and the son of Salukaphathwa Gwebi’nkumbi Sigcawu, the 7th king of the AmaGcaleka.
  • Matazima – Lwandile Zwelenkosi Matanzima was another Xhosa royalty. He was a clan leader and king of Western Thembuland, as well as a great-great-nephew of former South African president, Nelson Mandela. He ruled the Thembu people as one of the six traditional kings in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. King Matanzima died at the age of 39 in East London, South Africa, on May 22nd, 2010.
  • Ngubengcuka – Also known as Vusani, king Ngubengcuka ruled the Thembu people in the southern part of the Transkei region of South Africa. He succeeded his father as king in 1810 and became famous for uniting the Thembu nation before it was subjected to British colonial rule. Among Ngubengcuka’s many descendants is Nelson Mandela.
  • Dalindyebo – With the Thembu people being divided into two kingdoms, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo rules the BakaDalindyebo kingdom while king Matanzima ruled the Western Thembu kingdom. He is a descendant of the amaHala dynasty.
  • Nqoko – Nqoko ka Gcaleka was the 3rd king of the AmaGcaleka sub-tribe of the Xhosa Kingdom. As the third son of king Gcaleka ka Phalo, he took over the throne as a regent following the death of his brother, King Khawuta ka Gcaleka in 1804. He handed over power to his nephew Hintsa ka Khawuta in 1820 and died in 1822.
  • Mgolombane – Mgolombane Sandile was another great king of the Xhosa nation. He led the Xhosa armies to several Cape-Xhosa Frontier Wars. He was the king of the Rharhabe sub-tribe of Xhosa and the king of Ngqika. He died in the year 1878 in a shootout with Fingo soldiers.
  • Hintsa – King Hintsa ruled the Xhosa nation from 1820 until he died in 1835. From the reign of king Xhosa, he was the 13th king of amaXhosa. The great king led the most powerful Xhosa kingdom in Eastern Cape. His kingdom fought white colonial expansion in Southern Africa over generations; for a period of one hundred years.

List of Unique Xhosa Surnames and Their Meanings

Here are some of the unique Xhosa surnames in existence. While the meanings of some of the names are known, the meanings of a few of them are yet to be discovered.

  • Mandela – This surname is popular with Thembu royalty in the Xhosa nation. It means “gift of God.”
  • Sandile means “we increased.” The name is also popular with Zulu and Ndebele people. It has variants such as Bandile, Andile, and Ayanda.
  • Madikizela means “brave.”
  • Makeba means “precious jewel.”
  • Ndugane means “strength.”
  • Matanzima
  • Jabavu
  • Mzamane
  • Makwetu
  • Sisulu
  • Mxenge
  • Mbeki
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