Queen Manthatisi (1781-1836)

Queen Manthatisi took the throne in 1815 after her husband passed away. She acted on behalf of her son, Sekonyela, who was then still a minor. Queen Manthatisi was known as a strong, brave and capable leader, both in times of peace and war. She was referred to by her followers as “Mosayane” (the tiny one) because of her small stature. Although her tribe was known as Batlokwa, during her reign, they came to be known as Manthatisi. Due to her staunch character, all Sotho-Tswana raiders became known as boo-Mmanthatisi or Manthatee Horde by the English. In the midst of the Mfecane/Difaqane wars, Manthatisi managed to keep her people together, despite the frequent raids by the Nguni group.
Jwala-Boholo – Majestic Mountain – located East of Ficksburg in the Free State was first occupied by a branch of the Bakoena tribe, known as Moraba. It was later wrestled from them by the Batlokwa under the command of Queen Manthatisi in the mid-1800s. There was a time when men trembled at the mention of her name – this proves how powerful the Queen was. Her reputation strode grimly before her. This natural fortress served as her capital for more than 30 years. It was here where many a war of conquest was planned; including the battle of Butha-Bothe which caused King Moshoeshoe to flee to Thaba-Bosiou. Queen Manthatisi was laid to rest on Jwala-Boholo. In 1853, King Moshoeshoe became very powerful and conquered the Mountain from Sekonyela.
With her power, dedication, bravery and staunch character, she managed to keep her people together, despite the divisions that were caused by the Mfecane/Difaqane wars that prevailed in the 1800s. Queen Manthatisi should be renowned for such an act of bravery. Women at that time were seen as rather secondary citizens, or ones that could not lead a whole nation; however, Queen Manthatisi got rid of that fallacy. This should be a lesson for every woman out there; to remind them that amongst all the challenges that threaten their feminism in this world, they are still able to carry the nation on their shoulders.
The distortion of history aims to demean the legacy of Manthatisi; however if the black people tell their own history and be proud of their heritage, such distortion would be rid of for good.
Ntando PZ Mbatha


One response to “Queen Manthatisi (1781-1836)

  1. Dumela!
    Thanks so much for the post. Its proved quite useful for my art research. I noticed that finding comprehensive online information on Queen Manthatisi isn’t easy, unlike boMoshoeshoe and other male leaders. For me it confirms that not enough people know about her contribution to Southern African her story. You are right, we need to tell more of our own stories.
    Thanks again

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