9 September 1873 – Maqoma Dies

I shave my head in mourning

I hide myself in grief

I lock my voice in sadness


I paint my house in mud of bereavement

I drown my joy in sorry

I lift my heart in remembrance


I cancel my festival to show respect

Ahh! Jongumsobomvu

Ingwe ka Fodayisi!!



He was killed 149 years ago on Robben Island at age 75, the date was “09 September 1873 the Nkosi, according to the institution’s Anglican Chaplain, died ‘of old age and dejection, at being here alone – no wife, or child, or attendant’. The surgeon wrote a brief note that Jongumsobomvu’s ‘cause of death was natural decay’. Ironically, several days before passing away the half-conscious Maqoma, who had spent most of his life resisting colonial intrusion into Xhosa society and who had ultimately rejected the missionaries, was baptised against his will.

Not satisfied with stealing Maqoma’s land, people and cattle, the Europeans also wanted his soul.

The once powerful Jingqi leader was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave…” pg 265 Maqoma: The Legend of a Great Xhosa Warrior, by Timothy Stapleton.

To commemorate, the Steve Biko Centre in King William’s Town will host the launch of this book by Amava Heritage Publishing at 18:00hrs, for RSVP email: info@amavaheritage.co.za


Themba Ngada



3 replies
  1. Linda Maqoma
    Linda Maqoma says:

    Ahh! Jongumsobomvu

    So September this year then marks 150 years of his departure. Please let me know whether there are any plans to commemorate this so we can take part.


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