Chief Tina Gcinisizwe Mtwa was only 22 and looking forward to a career in teaching, when his father died and he was forced to take over as AmaXesibe chief.
At the time, Mtwa had just graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree and was applying for vacant teacher posts in Mthatha and Mqanduli. Now, at the age of 31, Mtwa is considered the “pride of the nation” and last Friday, was honoured at an enrobing ceremony at Lower Ngqarhu Village on Friday.
Mtwa, whose father Ntozabantu Ngubesizwe Mtwa, was only 46 when he died in June 2007, had reservations initially and used furthering his studies as an excuse not to take over the reins.
However, his uncles and traditional councillors would not take no for an answer. Mtwa was already a university graduate, had undergone the initiation rite and was over 21 years of age.
“I eventually agreed,” said Mtwa, who is traditional leader of 21 villages at Lower Ngqwarha Great Place in Mqanduli.
Now eight years later, the 31-year-old is considered the pride of the AmaXesibe nation.
His endeavours to promote education, agricultural growth, instilling law and order and respect for elders and the fight against women and child abuse, are some of his achievements locals celebrated last Friday.
Each household contributed R50 towards the enrobing ceremony.
Outlining his development plans with the Daily Dispatch, Mtwa said his nation was poor. “We are using agriculture as one of the developmental strategies to turn around the situation and in the process create jobs among the people I serve.
“We have plenty of land that needs to be worked and produce for my people. We have revived the fields that have been lying fallow for many years,” Mthwa said.
They were working with government to improve livestock in the community and ensure that owners generated revenue from it.
“Currently, there is a land care project where people are employed to fill in dongas in a fight against soil erosion. Two private companies are mining crushed stone and sabunga as part of the effort to have the people I serve generate income from our mineral resources,” Mtwa said.
His uncle, Mphenduleni Manzolwandle, said there were plans to allow the chief to further his studies. “We want educated traditional leaders. Although Gcinisizwe is a graduate, he still wants to study further,” Manzolwandle said.
Mtwa’s wife Zusakhe Ondela Mtwa, is also a school teacher and BEd graduate.
They have three children.