From Dzata to Dopeni

The Singo domination of Venda was entrenched during King Thohoyandou’s rule. During his reign, Thohoyandou deployed his son Munzhedzi Mpofu, to Songozwi, and his brother Raluswielo (Tshivhasa Midi ya Vhathu) to Dopeni.

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.

Tshisevhe was defeated in the war of succession and was assassinated by Munzhedzi Mpofu. Tshisevhe’s son, Ravhura, fled to Makonde after his father was assassinated in the war of succession. Munzhedzi Mpofu became the new king of Venda. But Raluswielo (Tshivhase), who was at Dopeni, wanted the kingship. He attempted to return to Dzata to usurp the throne. Raluswielo, just like Tshisevhe, was defeated by Munzhedzi Mpofu.

Munzhedzi Mpofu later relocated from Dzata to Songozwi. This was because Songozwi was strategically situated, as one could see the whole kingdom from the summit. Tshivhase once again mobilized an army and invaded Munzhedzi Mpofu at Songozwi. The battle was fought along the banks of a river that became red with blood. It was consequently known as Khwivhila, which means red. Tshivhase lost the battle. Having been defeated twice, first at Dzata and then at Khwivhila, Tshivhase fled. Munzhedzi Mpofu remained king of Vhavenda.

Mukhesi: From Dopeni to Phiphidi

Raluswielo (also known as Tshivhasa Midi ya Vhathu) ruled the land of Vhuphani, and it became known as Ha-Tshivhasa.

Raluswielo died at Dopeni and was succeeded by his son Mukhesi. Mukhesi moved the Tshivhasa royal kraal from Dopeni to Phiphidi. There he attacked and subjugated the Vhangona of Phiphidi who were ruled by Nephiphidi.

Mukhesi also attacked Nemukumbani and Netshivhungululu at Mukumbani and Tshivhungululu respectively.

Luvhengo: From Phiphidi to Mukumbani

Mukhesi was succeeded by his son, Luvhengo. Luvhengo moved the royal kraal from Phiphidi to Mukumbani.

Luvhengo’s sons were Lihalima, Tshivhenga, Masiagwala, Petamadungo, Ravele, Ligegise and Makhavhu. Luvhengo placed his sons at different villages. Lihalima was placed at Tshivhungululu. Tshivhenga was sent to Tshilapfene. Petamadungo stayed at Duthuni. Makhavhu was sent to Tshiheni and dislodged Khosi Netshiheni to be Vhamusanda of Tshiheni. Masiagwala and Ravele occupied Maungani and Mapate respectively.

Luvhengo’s sons started fighting for the throne when their father was still alive. Tshivhenga, Luvhengo’s second son, is alleged to have killed his elder brother, Lihalima, by poisoning him. This led to his father disowning him. Luvhengo called a family meeting and told everybody that was present that he had disowned Tshivhenga, and that Ligegise, his youngest son, should succeed him. Tshivhenga was expelled from Tshilapfene.

Luvhengo was on good terms with the Ramabulanas. He even dispatched his regiment to be part of the Venda army that conquered Botlokwa. But while his regiment was conquering Botlokwa, Luvhengo died. Tshivhenga who was disowned by his father, took advantage of the fact that the regiment was away, and crowned himself the Khosi of Ha-Tshivhasa.

Tshatshingo Potholes.


The Ramabulana and Tshivhase regiments succeeded in conquering Botlokwa. On their way back to Tshirululuni, they learnt that Tshivhenga had crowned himself Khosi of Ha-Tshivhasa. The two regiments went to Mukumbani to kick Tshivhenga out. Tshivhenga surrendered without a fight, and was expelled from Ha-Tshivhasa.

Ligegise became the new Khosi of Ha-Tshivhasa and was given the title of Ramarumo. But Tshivhenga did not give up easily. He requested help from the Mphaphulis and the Ramabulanas. They both told him that they recognised Ligegise as the Khosi of Ha-Tshivhasa. He even went as far as Mozambique and Swaziland to enlist the help of the Portuguese and the Swazis, to no avail. He later settled at Muledane where he died. Tshivhenga’s son, Nwendamutswu left Muledane and settled at Tshixwadza, Ha-Rambuda. He was later made Vhamusanda/Gota (junior chief) of Tshixwadza by Khosi Tshikosi of Ha-Rambuda.

Ligegise decided to expand Ha-Tshivhasa by conquering Thenzheni, Muhuyu, Matangari, Mianzwi, and Maraxwe. These villages were under Ravhura of Makonde. Ligegise also conquered Mbaela, Mutshenzheni, Vhutalu, Muhotoni, and Mudzidzidzi.

Ligegise invited Lutheran Church missionaries to establish a mission station at Maungani. This mission station was named Beuster.

Colonialists who failed to establish a colonial office in Makhado after resistance from King Makhado Ramabulana and his son Mphephu, decided to establish a colonial office at Tshanowa, Ha-Tshivhasa. Colonialists wanted to call the area, where the office was established, Tshivhasa, but ended up calling it Sibasa.

Ligegise’ children were Denge, Ramaremisa, Mahwasane, Nyamande, Ratshitanga, Raedani, Mikosi Mabilu, Takalani Sikhobidzhana, Lavhengwa, Sikhwivhilu, Mathoho, and Sidze.

Ligegise died in 1901.


Ligegise had indicated that he should be succeeded by Ramaremisa. But Mahwasane, Nyamande, Raedani and Sidze contested the throne. They, however, could not get support from the Ramabulanas and Mphaphulis. Ramaremisa was crowned the Khosi of Ha-Tshivhasa and was given the title of Pwashamukumbu. Nyamande, Raedani and Sidze gave up and paid tribute to Ramaremisa. But Mahwasane continued to cause havoc until he was defeated by Ramaremisa.

Ramaremisa gave Gondeni village to Mikosi Mabilu. Sikhwivhilu was given Ngovhela, while Denge and Ratshitanga were given Phiphidi and Ngulumbi respectively. Nyamande was given Matangari, while Mathoho was given Tshiombo.

During Ramaremisa’s reign, the Tshivhases conquered Ha-Luvhimbi and Makonde. The three Vhandalamo villages of Khubvi, Mukula, and Tshidimbini were also added to Ha-Tshivhasa. The Khosi of Mukula, Mamburu, was stripped of his chieftainship by the government of the Union of South Africa in 1912. The government instructed Ramaremisa to install a new Khosi at Mukula. Ramaremisa decided to install his brother Takalani Sikhobidzhana as the new chief of Mukula. That is why Mukula is known today as Mukula la Vho-Takalani (Mukula the land of Takalani).

The dethronement of Mamburu in 1912 led to the following popular stanza in a famous Tshivenda poem:

Mamburu vulani ndila; Hu a dzhena tshihu Ranwedzi; Ene ndi Nyamudalotsha; Thama khulu ya Mundalamo Ya Mukhada mulila-vhathu; Mukhada ndi Nyatshiemula; Tshiemula midi ya vhathu.

The villages of Vondwe and Muhuyu, which were also not part of Ha-Tshivhasa, were added to HaTshivhasa by the government of the Union of South Africa.

Ramaremisa died in 1930.

Phiphidi Waterfalls

Ratshimphi and Ratshialingwa

Ramaremisa was succeeded by his son Ratshimphi. Ratshimphi gave himself several nicknames such as Phiriphiri, Mphaya (British Empire), and Tshikotshi (Scotsman).

Ratshimphi was dethroned by the government of the Union of South Africa in 1946. It is not clear why he was dethroned. But some argue that Ratshimphi was a freedom fighter who joined the South African Communist Party in the 1930s. They claim that the government dethroned him because it feared that he would turn Ha- Tshivhasa into a communist stronghold. He was banished to Hammanskraal, and later to Pietermaritzburg, where he died in 1947.

Ratshimphi’s brother, Ratshialingwa, who had been Vhamusanda of Muhuyu village, was installed by the Boers as the new Khosi of Ha-Tshivhasa. Ratshialingwa, who was also known as Muzila, was a veteran of both World War I and World War II. He had been recommended to the throne by Muofhe Makhavhu, another veteran of World War II and a descendant of Luvhengo Tshivhase. The Boers had asked Makhavhu to recommend a person from the Tshivhase royal family to take over as Khosi of Ha-Tshivhasa after they (the Boers) banished Ratshalingwa to Hammanskraal and later to Pietermaritzburg.

Thikhathali, Shavhani and Midiyavhathu

Ratshialingwa died, and there was disagreement within the Tshivhase Royal Council as to who should take over. Some people preferred Ratshimphi’s son, Thikhathali Prince, while some wanted Ratshialingwa’s son, Mulondo. Eventually Mulondo died. Mulondo’s supporters alleged that he was crushed by a rock that rolled from Mount Luaname, Mukumbani, and that the rock rolled after Mulondo shook hands with Makhavhu and Mabilu.

Mulondo’s death led to a smooth takeover of Thikhathali Prince as the new Khosi of Ha-Tshivhasa. Thikhathali was crowned in November 1963.

Thikhathali Prince Tshivhase died in a car accident on 21 May 1966. Thikhathali had two wives: Virginia Tshikota from Madodonga village, Ha-Kutama, and Liza Lukoto from Ngovhela, Ha-Tshivhasa. Virginia had a young son named Midiyavhathu Kennedy, while Liza had a young daughter, Thiathu.

Midiyavhathu Kennedy Tshivhase was installed by King Patrick Mphephu Ramabulana as the Khosi of HaTshivhasa in 1970. Midiyavhathu was, however, too young to take over. A Regent, John Shavhani Tshivhase, was installed in his place.

Shavhani Tshivhase was supposed to rule until Midiyavhathu was deemed appropriate to assume office. Shavhani Tshivhase had other ideas and, together with Aļidzulwi Alfred Tshivhase (AA Tshivhase), tried in vain to have Midiyavhathu assassinated.

Midiyavhathu left Ha-Tshivhasa and stayed with his maternal grandparents (Tshikota family) at Madodonga village, Ha-Kutama. Midiyavhathu’s grandparents and his teachers at Madodonga Primary School, played a very important role in protecting him from would be assassins who came looking for him every now and then.

He later moved to Polokwane to stay with his mother. Shavhani Tshivhase decided to consolidate his position when Midiyavhathu was away from home. AA Tshivhase, who was a Cabinet Minister in Mphephu’s government, collaborated with Shavhani Tshivhase to block Midiyavhathu’s ascendancy to the Tshivhasa throne. They argued that he was not the right person to take over as Khosi of Ha-Tshivhasa. They argued that he was born out of wedlock and that his mother was not a mufumakadzi wa dzekiso (the right mother to give birth to a Khosi). They presented Midiyavhathu as an upstart who desired to usurp power from the elders through unorthodox means.

Midiyavhathu’s supporters, led by Vhamusanda Vho-Gilbert Mmbengeni Ligege of Duthuni, had a photograph of his installation in 1970 (obtained from an old newspaper, Wamba) to prove that there had been no distortion of historical facts. Midiyavhathu eventually won the legal suit against Shavhani Tshivhase and was crowned Khosi of Ha-Tshivhasa in 1993. Thiathu, Midiyavhathu’s half-sister, was made Vhamusanda of Tshilapfene.

Midiyavhathu extended a hand of friendship to the Ramabulana dynasty. He was friendly with Dimbanyika Thohoyandou II. When Dimbanyika Thohoyandou II died in a car accident in 1997, Midiyavhathu Tshivhase participated actively at the funeral and delivered a speech. He, however, disapproved of Dimbanyika’s successor and this once more strained the relations between the Ramabulanas and the Tshivhases.

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Ha – Tshivhasa

  1. Mukumbani (Musanda)
  2. Tshivhungululu
  3. Tshanowa / Sibasa
  4. Tshikombani
  5. Tshithuthuni
  6. Tshirenzheni
  7. Mudunungu
  8. Milaboni
  9. Tshilungwi
  10. Mandala
  11. Shanzha
  12. Dopeni
  13. Tshivhilwidulu
  14. Khalavha
  15. Fondwe
  16. Phiphidi
  17. Duthuni
  18. Mapate
  19. Tshisahulu
  20. Itsani
  21. Shayandima
  22. Muledane
  23. Khwevha
  24. Maungani
  25. Ngovhela
  26. Ngwenani ha Themeli
  27. Ngwenani ha Mapholi
  28. Gondeni la Mabilu
  29. Ngulumbi
  30. Vondwe
  31. Tshidimbini
  32. Mukula
  33. Khubvi
  34. Tshivhilwi
  35. Matangari
  36. Makonde
  37. Ha-Luvhimbi
  38. Maraxwe
  39. Mutshenzheni
  40. Mbahela
  41. Tshiwani
  42. Mudzidzidzi
  43. Vhufulwi
  44. Ha-Makhuvha
  45. Lunungwi
  46. Tshilapfene
  47. Murangoni
  48. Vondo
  49. Thathe
  50. Tshidzivhe
  51. Tshitangani / Murulwani
  52. Matshena
  53. Tshilonwe
  54. Lunonya
  55. Ha-Luvhaivhai
  56. Mianzwi
  57. Muhuyu
  58. Tshipako
  59. Thenzheni
  60. Vhutalu
  61. Tshiombo
  62. Thononda
  63. Tshiavha
  64. Tshiheni.

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