King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu. Picture: Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA)

Willowvale - For royal guidance and dignity befitting the send-off of a king, the Xhosa royal family has appointed senior traditional leader Chief Anderson Dumehleli Mapasa as an interim overseer, to lead the royal protocol for the burial of King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu.

This was announced at Nqadu Great Place in Willowvale in the Eastern Cape on Monday following a meeting attended by the royal families of Phalo House.

The two families, who deliberated over the interim overseer, are the AmaXhosa kingdom at Nqadu and AmaRharhabe kingdom at Mngqesha Great Place, outside King William’s Town.

The Xhosa kingdom in Nqadu enjoys the seniority as it is a great house, while AmaRharhabe are a right hand house.

On behalf of AmaRharhabe kingdom, Prince Zolile Burns-Ncamashe told the media that the meeting had agreed on Chief Mapasa.

“Chief Dumehleli Mapasa received the nod and endorsement from Her Majesty Queen Noloyiso Sandile. Today we are very decided to tell the nation because we agreed on followed royal protocols and customs.

“Chief Mapasa will guide the Xhosa nation on the royal protocol to be followed when we bury the king. Chief Mapasa comes from a lineage of King Khawuta, who gave birth to King Hintsa.

"In terms of customs, he is one of our senior traditional leaders. In fact, in terms of custom, he is the grandfather to King Zwelonke Sigcawu,” Burns-Ncamashe said.

The royal family meeting was also attended by Princess NomaXhosa Sigcawu. Princess NomaXhosa has been at loggerheads with members of the royal family, arguing she should have been the one taking over the reins of the Xhosa monarch following the death of King Xolilizwe Sigcawu in December 2005.

King Xolilizwe Sigcawu is the father to King Zwelonke Sigcawu.

NomaXhosa's argument is based on the fact that she comes from the great house of amaXhosa and that King Zwelonke comes from the support house of the great house.

The rift even led to the delay of King Zwelonke’s coronation, which was scheduled for 2011.

His coronation took place in 2015 with NomaXhosa not in attendance.

Burns-Ncamashe said King Zwelonke’s successor will be announced to the nation after the burial.

Meanwhile, the royal family confirmed six memorial services, four in South Africa and two outside the country.

The dates for the memorial services in the Eastern Cape, Cape Town and Bloemfontein are yet to be confirmed. Prince Xhanti Sigcawu said the royal family would announce dates during the course of the week.

“In Johannesburg, the memorial service will be held at Market Theatre at 2pm on November 21. In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the memorial service will be held on November 23, while a memorial service in Gaborone, Botswana, will be held on November 25,” Prince Xhanti said.

King Zwelonke will be buried at Nqadu Great Place next Friday.

Political Bureau