Kaiser Matanzima

Kaiser Matanzima

Kaiser Matanzima (15 June 1915 – 15 June 2003) was a former leader of the Transkei in South Africa.



Born in Qamata, Eastern Cape, a nephew of Nelson Mandela, Matanzima received the name Daliwonga upon reaching manhood as an "isikhahlelo" (praise name). It means "Maker of Majesty". Matanzima studied law at Fort Hare University and completed his articles in the Transkei capital, Mthatha, in 1948. He never practised law however, instead involving himself in Transkei politics.

Public service

Made paramount chief of the Emigrant Thembus, a breakaway and subservient group to the Thembus, Matanzima's support of the South African government's Bantu Authorities Act (1951), which looked to foster traditional African leadership structures, gave the Act credibility in the eyes of many chiefs but saw him part ways with Mandela politically (although the two initially remained friends, with Matanzima acting as best man at Mandela's wedding).


Mandela condemned Matanzima's de facto support of apartheid, and in his 1975 book Independence my Way, Matanzima argued that liberation would come through a federation of black states, such as Transkei, rather than through liberation movements like the Mandela-led African National Congress.

Matanzima became a member of the United Transkeian Territorial Council in 1955 and an Executive Council member of the newly created Transkeian Territorial Authority (TTA) in 1956. In 1961 he graduated to Chairman of the TTA, survived an assassination attempt in December 1962 by members of the Pan Africanist Congress, and in 1963 was an obvious candidate for Chief Minister of the newly formed Transkeian Legislative Assembly. Matanzima founded the Transkei National Independence Party, led it to election victories in 1968 and 1973, and was sworn in as Prime Minister in 1976 when Transkei became the first bantustan to gain nominal independence. According to an article published in Time Magazine at the time, though Transkei declared independence theoretically as a “free state”, Matanzima ruled the territory as a de facto puppet-state dictator, banning local opposition parties and buying at subsided prices Transkei farmlands offered by the South African government.[1]

Matanzima clashed with the South African government over various issues, mostly connected with territorial demands made by Matanzima. This led to his announcement on 2 February 1978 that Transkei would break all diplomatic ties with South Africa, including the non-aggression pact between them. He ordered that all South African Defence Force members seconded to the Transkei Army leave Transkei by 31 March. But he soon backed down in the face of Transkei's dependence on South African economic aid.


In 1979 Matanzima became State President, with his brother George as Prime Minister. Their approach included gaoling protesters and banning such opposition parties as, in 1980, the Democratic Progressive Party. That party's leader, Thembu King Sabata Dalindyebo, was convicted of "violating the dignity" as President of Matanzima, but escaped to Zambia and joined the ANC.

Mandela's father-in-law was a member of the Transkei cabinet, and Matanzima attempted to persuade Mandela to accept exile in Transkei in lieu of imprisonment. Mandela not only refused, but declined to see Matanzima during his imprisonment on Robben Island, fearing that such a meeting would legitimise the bantustans to the international community.


On 20 February 1986, faced with South Africa's evidence of corruption, Matanzima was forced to retire as President. He was succeeded by his brother George, but the two fell out and Matanzima himself was temporarily detained in the Transkei gaols in 1987; upon release, he was restricted to Qamata.

Matanzima died in Queenstown on his 88th birthday. He received an official funeral, but not a state one as former allies and supporters had hoped. The continued mixed feelings toward him in South Africa were reflected in President Thabo Mbeki's eulogy for him, and Mandela's speaking warmly of Matanzima's role as a Thembu elder.

Matanzima's grandson, King Lwandile Zwelenkosi Matanzima, ruler of Western Thembuland of Eastern Cape, died on 22 May 2010.[2]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kaiser Matanzima — (15 juin 1915 15 juin 2003) est un ancien dirigeant du Transkei en Afrique du Sud. Neveu de Nelson Mandela, il est chef d un groupe de Thembus qui soutient la politique du gouvernement sud africain de création de bantoustan. Il est condamné par… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kaiser Matanzima — Kaiser Daliwonga Matanzima (15 de junio de 1915 15 de junio de 2003) fue un político sudafricano, líder del bantustán de Transkei en Sudáfrica. Nacido en Qamata, sobrino de Nelson Mandela, a Matanzima se le dio el nombre de Daliwonga como su… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Transkei — 1976 – 1994 Drapeau Hymne : Nkosi sikelel iAfrika (Dieu bénisse l Afrique) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Transkei — República de Transkei ← …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bantustán — es el término que designa cada uno de los veinte territorios que operaron como reservas tribales de habitantes no blancos en Sudáfrica y África del Sudoeste (actual Namibia), en el marco de las políticas segregacionistas impuestas durante la… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ciskei — Republic of Ciskei iRiphabliki ye Ciskei Bantustan ← …   Wikipedia

  • Cap-Oriental — 32° S 27° E / 32, 27 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Nelson Mandela — « Mandela » redirige ici. Pour les autres significations, voir Mandela (homonymie). Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela, en 2008 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • OR Tambo International Airport — Johannesburg International Airport IATA: JNB – ICAO: FAJS – WMO: 68368 …   Wikipedia

  • Mthatha — Umtata   Town   Panoramic view of Mthatha and the Drakensberg mountains (1913) by Caesar Carl Hans Henkel …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.