Scores of people gathered in Giyani in Limpopo to celebrate Nghunghunyane Day. The day is used to celebrate the life and contribution of King Ngunghunyane of the Vatsonga-Machangana tribe.

The Gaza Kingdom spokesperson Makhayinge Ernest Nkanyane says Ngungunyane reigned from 1884.

Nkanyane says the day is also aimed at uniting the Vatsonga-Machangana people.

Various musical traditional groups and Xitsonga artists entertained about 500 people who attended Nghunghunyane Day celebrations.

Transport minister Joe Maswanganyi read the history of Nghunghunyane and listed the areas he ruled in the 19th century.

Minister Maswanganyi told the crowd that the Gaza Kingdom under the kingship of King Soshangana, Mawewe, Mzila and Nghunghunyane has built a nation of Vatsonga-Machangana by incorporating different tribes.

Nghunghunganye also fought wars between 1895 and 1897 in some parts of the SADC region.

The Gaza Kingdom spokesperson, Makhayinge Ernest Nkanyane says the day is also aimed at uniting the Vatsonga-Machangana people:

“He was in charge of a very vast area from the Indian Ocean to the Zambezi river and it was well known that he built the nation and the nation is only known as Machangana its only today that we hear of the double barrel it is not wrong we are the same nation, because even before then it was this group that formed the Shangan nation even if today we are saying we are the Shangan-Tsonga nation we are one people.”

Some of the people attending Nghunghunyane Day celebrations called on the government to grant the Vatsonga-Machangane tribe a king.

The Nhlapo Commission recommended in 2010 not to grant Vatsonga-Machangane kingship status.

Those at the celebrations say they want their royal house to be afforded kingship status, one of the attendees saying:

“We as the Tsonga nation the previous Gazankulu government was trying to put us together so in this new dispensation we need to push hard, so that we have to get our new King.”

Doctor Sylvester Hlathi who lead a formation of traditional healers opened the celebrations by conducting a cleansing ceremony.

“It’s very important for us as traditional practitioners to have a night vigil summoning ancestors so that they have to be with us we have requested them to protect us, so that they know that we are with them so that in one of the good days we can have our own King.”

The Vatsonga-Machangana launched a campaign to be granted a kingship certificate in 2006.

The Nhlapo Commission for traditional leadership released a report in 2010 recommending the kingship does not exist in South Africa as king Nghunghunyane died in Mozambique.

The royal house has however not given up as they are continuing the fight for the kingship in court.