Commissioned by The National Heritage Project
View-able by public at Century City, Capetown.
This is King Nyabela of the Ndebele tribe in 1893. I have depicted the King going to war. Carrying his traditional spear and shield in one hand and in the other a rifle - such as the Martini Henry- which was needed in the fight against the Boers. The only pictures I have of him were taken in prison (Find link above). I have modeled his face as best I could from the pictures provided (see below).
A brief history of King Nyabela: Mapoch was the first real leader of the Ndzundza Ndebele who settled up near Dullstroom (as opposed to Mzilikazi’s followers who became the Matebele and the Amanala Ndebele north of Pretoria). Mapoch built the ‘caves’ or fortified settlements at what is now Roossenekal. When he died and his son was too young to succeed, Nyabela became regent. During 1892 – 1893 King Nyabela fought what is known as the Mapoch War against the Boers and was defeated and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Caves were under siege by the Boers for 8 months. When Nyabela eventually surrendered all the fit and able of the clan were divided amongst the farmers as indentured labourers and the old, infirm and very young left to die. He was let out of prison in 1899, then died 1902 years later. This is the tribe that later became the people who are known as the Ndebele, with their colourful home decorations and dress designs. They became a symbolic way for the people to identify themselves to each other and show solidarity.
This sculpture was commissioned by the National Heritage Monument. It will be one of 400 proposed figures to be created by South African artists. They represent our country's history, of the struggle for freedom and human rights, and all the major characters who contributed to South Africa today.
The sculpture will join the rest of the National Heritage Monument figures at the Fountains Nature reserve in Brooklyn Pretoria. Visit this site for more information : www.nhmsa.co.za . Also viewable on Facebook https://web.facebook.com/LongMarchToFreedom/
For a short YouTube video showing the sculptures in Century City, Capetown https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV0pwm_Sk5U