The Mpondo Festival 


The Pondo Heritage and Cultural Festival of 2022 was held in Matshona Village, Ntabankulu in the Eastern Cape over the weekend.

Her Majesty Acting Queen Nobandla Sigcau and the Royal family as well as the Turkish Ambassador and a variety of cultures from South Africa and beyond which included Pedi, Venda, Tswana, Sotho, Ndebele, Xhosa, Bhaca, Tsonga Kingdoms and Chieftainships were present.

The Mpondo Culture and Heritage Festival has taken place annually since 2006 , Princess Stella Sigcau II ensured that this years event was full of entertainment including the Reed dance, horse parade and sightseeing of the Kingdom. 

Mpondo Festival

The Mpondo kingdom was established as far back as the year 1280, Njanya fathered twins , Mpondo and Mpondomise. Mpondo went on to establish the amaMpondo while Mpondomise established the amaMpondomise. People of the Pondo nation speak a Nguni called isiMpondo, one of the 12 Xhosa speaking tribes. The kingdom which has approximately 10 million people who occupy the land between the Mtata and Mtamvuna rivers is currently under the rule of His Majesty King Nkosi Jongilanga Sigcau after the passing of His Majesty King Zanozuko Sigcau at the end of May 2022 aged 47 years.

The King of Mpondo

The amaMpondo are currently calling for their language to be recognised as the 12th official language of South Africa.

The amaPondo proudly celebrate their culture , traditions and heritage. The vibrant coloured houses dot the rolling hills, interestingly the Pondo Palm is only found on the north bank of 2 specific rivers in Mpondoland. This magnificent landscape is filled with waterfalls that cascade over high rocks , deep river gorges that curve between the mountains and the horse shoe bend where the river changes direction. Not to be forgotten are the unspoilt beaches that make up the Wild Coast where for centuries many shipwrecks have taken place due to the rough seas. The first recored shipwreck in the area was in 1552.

The weekends festivities included performances from musicians, dancers, school choirs and presentations from the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Healers, the local municipality and the royal families. 

My favourite food was the dombolo bread, a traditional South African steamed bread . The bread is prepared in a container in a pot of boiling water as opposed to being baked. It is prepared using yeast instead of baking powder. Everyone who attended went home  with a full stomach and a happy heart. Immersing oneself in to the traditional ways of South Africas’ people reminds us what a beautiful and diverse country we live in.

Dombolo Bread