Princess Constance Magoga kaDinuzulu kaCetshwayo kaMpande kaSenzangakhona


Born at the Usuthu royal homestead at Nongoma in 1900, Princess Constance Magoga kaDinuzulu kaCetshwayo kaMpande kaSenzangakhona is a direct descendent of the Zulu royal lineage. Her father was the late paramount chief Dinuzulu (1868 1913) son of King Cetshwayo, son of Mpande, son of Senzangakhona, and brother of Shaka and Dingane). Princess Magoga was the first child born to Silomo (daughter of Ntuzwa, son of Ntlaka, of the Mdlalose clan) principle wife of Dinizulu, after Dinizulu's return from banishment on the island of St. Helena after the Anglo-Boer war. Her earliest musical education, so she claims, was at the hands of her grandmothers, the widowed queens of King Cetshwayo, in whose huts she frequently slept as a child, as well as her mother and her mothers co-wives. On one occasion the Princess narrowly escaped death through the jealousy of another of the wives of Dinizulu. During the Bhambatha rebellion the Princess was sent to live in safety with the Buthulezi clan, where she was cared for by Sonkeshana. When peace returned she went back to her parents. Her mother, Silomo, died soon afterwards and the responsibility fell upon Princess Magoga, at an early age , to look after her two brothers, Solomon Maphumuzana Nkayishana, and Mshiyeni, until such time as they obtained wives of their own. (Solomon later reigned as Paramount Chief from 1916 to 1933, and Mshiyeni served as regent from 1933 to 1945 during the minority of Solomons's heir, Cyprian). Princess Magoga attended Nkonjeni school, at Mahlabathini, where she learned to read and write in Zulu, but did not study English. After he fathers death, and the accession of brother Solomon as Paramount Chief, the royal capital was sent further North and Princess Magoga went to live there also. In 1923, her brother, Paramount Chief Solomon, sent an emissary to the ruling chief of the Buthulezi clan, Chief Mathole, to suggest that a marriage be arranged between him and Princess Magoga. Chief Mathole responded according to strict Zulu etiquette, by giving the messenger a present of snuff, thereby indicating his assent to the proposition. She became his tenth, but principle wife. Marriage cattle, amounting to 118, and a cash dowry of pounds 44, were subscribed by the Buthulezi clan as a whole., and the marriage festivities continued for two weeks. Chief Mathole built for the Princess a new homestead, named kwaPhindangene, on the hills above Mahlabathini. This has remained her home ever since and is now also the home of her first born son, Chief Ashpenaz Nathan Mangosutho Gatsha Buthulezi, who is now Chief Executive Councillor of the kwaZulu Government. The Princess also has two daughters, Morgina Phikabesho (now married to Dr. Dotwana) and Admara Phhokunani (now Mrs. Vilakazi). She is blessed with many grandchildren, to whom she makes a point of passing on treasures from the Zulu and Buthulezi musical heritage. The Buthulezi were the first of many related clans to be conquered by Shaka, in the early nineteenth century, and incorporated into the Zulu nation. Throughout their subsequent history the Buthulezi have always maintained a specially close relationship to the Zulu royal lineage. Ngqengelele (born 1790) served as a personal steward to Shaka. After Shaka's death, Klwana rose to become one of Dingane's war-captains. Thereafter, Mnyamana held the same position under Mpande, and in Cetshwayo's time became virtual prime minister of the Zulu nation. Succession in the Buthulezi chieftainship passed on through his descendents, Tshanibezwe (died 1906) and Mathole (late husband of Princess Magoga).


David Rycroft :


Her talents received a wider audience in 1939, when the late Dr Hugh Tracey made a number of recordings of her performances.



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