Amagqobhoka in Song

Amagqobhoka was the main way that amaXhosa identified those who chose to leave behind their own faith in the ancestors to follow the way of Christianity. The word amagqobhoka is rarely used in celebration or commendation; it is a loaded term that inspires mixed emotions. To some these were a brave people, a people of faith, but through the pages of history, one discerns an aroma of resentment towards them, a feeling that history judges them as a people lost and a people who rejected their own roots and therefore betrayed their own sense of self.

I am the first born daughter of the chief of the amaKhuzeni people Ah! Gcinisizwe! I am also a Christian, of the order of Amagqobhoka. I am the first sign of strength of the house of Khayalethu (Gcini’sizwe), the son of Mbuso, the son of Nqweniso, the son of Skepe, the son of Mqalo. My place was to stand as guardian amongst my people, a gatekeeper for our customs and way of life. I was meant to be the mother of chiefs, and kings, a fount of knowledge and wisdom from which the generations to come suckle and glean a sense of where they come from.

But times have changed, the world has become a global village and somewhere in my tender years during my privileged private school education I was wrecked by an encounter with the Christian God. I say wrecked because somehow I have never quite come together again. Some friends and family members have sometimes joked that perhaps “ndingumntu omhlophe” i.e. one set apart for priesthood to the ancestors; such is the peculiarity of my walk of faith.

I am the daughter of the house of Phalo, I have the blood of kings and Xhosa warriors running in my veins, and yet I am also a daughter, servant and believer in the “one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father”.

The journey of my life has been about growing, nevegating the tension in the seeming paradox in being umXhosa and igqobhoka, umKrestu (a Christian); ultimately coming to a place where I can hear and release the sound of heaven in the rhythms, clicks and movements of my own people.

I invite you to an evening of song and dialog, a celebration of the journey of the discovery of the Xhosa song in the heart of igqobhoka.

Amagqoboka in Song: 28 July 2017 at 6:30 pm ; 45 Inverleith Terrace, Quigney (GA church hall)

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