The late Thovhele Nngwedzeni Mphaphuli of Hatshikonelo. Photo supplied.
The royal Mphaphuli family and communities of Hatshikonelo are in mourning, following the passing of Thovhele Nngwedzeni Mphaphuli. The beloved traditional leader peacefully departed at his palace in Hatshikonelo on Wednesday, 8 November, after a prolonged illness. At the time of his death, he was 79 years old.
Born in 1944 at Hatshikonelo, Thovhele Nngwedzeni Mphaphuli was the eldest son of Thovhele Stefanus Tshikonelo Mphaphuli, who passed away in 1993. His educational journey began at Mukula Primary School, and he later attended the Arabie School for Royalties in Marble Hall. He continued his studies at Mphephu High School, where he resided at the Dzanani palace.
Vhamusanda Sam Mphaphuli, the spokesperson for the Mphaphuli royal council in Hatshikonelo, described Thovhele Nngwedzeni Mphaphuli as one of the most hardworking senior traditional leaders who had dedicated himself to developing his area. “During his tenure, he made a huge impact in the lives of his communities. He was a leader characterised by love, generosity, and fairness,” said Vhamusanda Mphaphuli.
After working at the Department of Agriculture until his retirement in 1994, Mphaphuli was inaugurated as Thovhele (senior traditional leader) of the Tshikonelo communities. He led 13 villages under the Tshikonelo Traditional Council. Recognising the challenges faced by his impoverished villages in deep rural areas, he leased 104 hectares of his own farming plot to his people to support agricultural activities.
Mr Basikopo Makamu, the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements, and Traditional Affairs, paid tribute to the late senior traditional leader, offering heartfelt condolences to the royal family and the Tshikonelo communities. “The past few weeks have been very sad for the department and the whole of Limpopo Province, as we have lost several senior traditional leaders. We commit ourselves to shouldering the families in support during these difficult times,” he expressed.
Thovhele Nthumeni Masia of the Office of the Vhavenda Kingship praised Thovhele Nngwedzeni Mphaphuli as an exemplary leader throughout his tenure, never acting in a manner that brought the royal leadership into disrepute.
The late traditional leader will be laid to rest in the zwiendelu (sacred place) at Hatshikonelo on Friday, 17 November.
Date:17 November 2023