The Mphaphulis are the Singos. During King Thohoyandou’s reign, the Venda high priest (Tshifhe) was Gole, the founder of the Mphaphuli house. Oral history has it that Gole was nicknamed Mphaphuli due to the fact that, when in combat, he used to chop enemies to pieces. People praised him by saying that “Gole u phaphula maswina” (Gole chops enemies). People started calling him Muphaphuli. This was later corrupted to Mphaphuli.

During King Thohoyandou’s reign, the Vhavenda kingdom was divided into different chiefdoms ruled by people from the Singo clan appointed by Thohoyandou. This was done to entrench and consolidate Thohoyandou’s hegemony over the entire nation. Munzhedzi Mpofu, Thohoyandou’s son, occupied the south-western flank of Venda with a base at Songozwi (present day Makhado town). Tshisevhe, Thohoyandou’s brother, occupied the Mutale valley with a base at Makonde. Raluswielo (Tshivhase), who was also Thohoyandou’s brother, occupied the central highlands flanks with its base at Phiphidi. Tshilala Mphaphuli, Gole’s son, occupied the south-eastern flank with its base at Tshitomboni. Tshilala was given the responsibility of protecting the kingdom from invaders from the south-east.

The Singo tradition has it that King Thohoyandou disappeared without a trace in 1770. It was believed that he had gone to Vhukalanga (Zimbabwe), the land of his forefathers. Tshisevhe, Thohoyandou’s brother, was installed as acting king. It was believed that Thohoyandou would come back. It later transpired that Thohoyandou had died. But Tshisevhe refused to step down as acting king, and this led to a conflict between him and Thohoyandou’s son, Munzhedzi Mpofu.

Nandoni Dam, found at Tshitomboni, Thohoyandou.


Luvuvhu River Flowing into Nandoni Dam

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