The rulers of Lwamondo are Vhalaudzi of Tshimudi. Oral history has it that the Vhalaudzi were part of Vhasenzi, the group led by the Singo, and that the Vhalaudzi were led by Govhamasenga (also known as Gwamasenga) and his half-brother Tshimudi. Vhalaudzi settled along Mutshedzi River in the Nzhelele valley. The area where the Vhalaudzi settled is known as Vhulaudzi (meaning “the land of Vhalaudzi”).

It is indicated elsewhere on this website (Early History) that the Vhavenda Kingdom during Kings Dyambeu and Thohoyandou’s times stretched from Vhembe river (Limpopo) in the north to Crocodile river in the south. This kingdom included people who were not Venda speaking. The Karanga of Zimbabwe were subject to him and the Bapedi chiefs recognised him as their sovereign.

King Thohoyandou placed various loyal chiefs across the kingdom to ensure that people paid tribute to him. King Thohoyandou instructed two Vhalaudzi chiefs, Govhamasenga and Tshimudi to go further south to conquer Mapulaneng and Mashishing (Lydenburg).

Govhamasenga and Tshimudi left for Mapulaneng and Mashishing as instructed by King Thohoyandou. Govhamasenga and his children settled at Mapulaneng, while Tshimudi and his son, Tshilinde, settled at Mashishing. Both Govhamasenga and Tshimudi did not like Mapulaneng and Mashishing. They both could not establish themselves due to the fights that ensued between Vhalaudzi and the amaSwati and Mapulana in the area.

The Vhalaudzi of Govhamasenga went back to Venda and were joined by the Rongas who came from Mozambique. The Rongas had also tried to settle in Mapulaneng, but they also got engaged in bloody battles with Swazis and Mapulana.

The Vhalaudzi of Govhamasenga settled at Tshinavheni. Historians argue that most of the Vhalaudzi children who were born in Mapulaneng and Mashishing spoke broken Tshivenda and were fluent in Sipulana and Siswati. They were, therefore, seen by some people as outsiders. This, historians believe, led to the wrong impression that Vhalaudzi were of Ronga origin. The confusion was compounded by the presence of Vharonga within Vhalaudzi, and it was assumed that the Vhalaudzi and Vharonga were one.

Vhalaudzi of Govhamasenga later left Tshinavheni and settled in the following areas:

  • Masia Mbando settled at Tshiphuseni (Ha-Masia);
  • Maphaha settled at Vhulorwa (west of Songozwi);
  • Mahandulula settled at Phawe in Vhulaudzi;
  • Makongodza settled at Ha-Makongodza;
  • Mukovhi settled at Tshivhulana and named himself after the area. He became known as Netshivhulana (the ruler of Tshivhulana);
  • Ratshikwekwete conquered Tshimbupfe which was under the Vhakwevho of Mammbana. He also named himself after the area he conquered and became known as Netshimbupfe (the ruler of Tshimbupfe);
  • Makumbane settled at Tshisahulu and ruled the area from Dzindi to Tshinane; and
  • Govhamasenga and Tshipetane settled at Tshituwani, known today as Ha-Mutsha (Hamutsha u tshi anea). This is where Govhamasenga died.

The Vhalaudzi of Tshimudi, led by Tshilinde, also returned to Venda from Mashishing and settled at Makambe on Mount Lwamondo. Tshilinde later moved his musanda to Tshavhakololo.

Tshilinde died and was succeeded by his son, Mapungwi. A war of succession ensued between Mapungwi’s sons, Radali and Randuhu. Radali defeated Randuhu and became the Khosi of Lwamondo. He changed his name to Nelwamondo as a way of emphasising that he was the undisputed ruler of Lwamondo. Radali was succeeded by his son, Mathule.

Mathule moved the musanda from Tshavhakololo to Tshiwedza. His sons who were eligible for the throne were Sithodo, Makhani, Mabidzha and Maboho. But  Maboho was loved by makhotsimunene and dzikhadzi. He (Maboho), therefore, took over as the Khosi of Lwamondo after Mathule’s death[1].

Maboho moved the musanda from Tshiwedza to Madefule. He later moved from Madefule to Tshiozwi, north of Mount Lwamondo. He again moved from Tshiozwi and went back to Madefule which was more secure that Tshiozwi. He finally settled at Ha-Mafela, not far from where the musanda is found today. This is where he successfully repelled attacks by the Boers, the Tsongas who were led by Joao Albasini, and the Swazis. He defeated all the invaders. When enemies tried to invade at night, baboons would grunt and alert the people of Lwamondo of the impending invasion. Hiding behind bushes and in caves, Lwamondo warriors would kill invaders with bows, arrows, spears, battle axes and guns. Up to this day, baboons are highly respected and protected in Lwamondo since they are regarded as friends of the people. Even in tshikona performances, some performers and drummers are dressed in baboon costumes. This has led to some people believing that the Lwamondo Tshikona dance troop has baboons in it and that drums are beaten by baboons.

Maboho died in 1883. Maboho had many sons, but Raidimi and Phophi were the most important. Each claimed the throne. As usual, and as in other territories, Maboho’s death was followed by a protracted struggle for succession to the throne.

Fighting commenced between Raidimi and Phophi Sidemere. The people of Lwamondo were divided. Some makhotsimunene such as Matshuse, Nemutandani and Muligwe supported Raidimi. Mabidzha, one of them, fled to Makhani at Muhuyu. Raidimi, although older than Phophi, could not withstand the power of Phophi’s supporters and fled to Vhuingamela, next to Songozwi.

King Makhado decided to intervene on Raidimi’s behalf after being requested to do so by his army commander, Funyunyu. Songozwi troops arrived in Lwamondo on 5 February 1883. But Phophi, realising that he would be crushed, surrendered without a fight. He displayed his loyalty to King Makhado by dispatching a girl called Matodzi with a mufaro (basket) containing beads, Vhulungu ha madi na denga, to Makhado’s army. This friendly gesture of loyalty was followed by a head of cattle which was taken to the king’s troops by Madzunya. This token of surrender and loyalty, in the form of Venda beads and a head of cattle, was well received. The animal was immediately slaughtered and roasted for the army to feast upon. To Raidimi’s disappointment, not a shot was fired by Makhado’s army[2].

Since Phophi had clearly shown he owed allegiance to King Makhado, the army had no cause to fight. They left Lwamondo and proclaimed Phophi the undisputed ad legitimate khosi of Lwamondo. Raidimi who felt betrayed, no longer felt secure. He then accompanied the army on their way to back to Songozwi, leaving Phophi as the sole contender for the throne of Lwamondo.

Raidimi, however, did not stay long in Songozwi. He later returned to his father’s land and concluded peace with his brother Phophi. This type of understanding which shows surrender and the end of hostilities between contenders for the throne, was characteristic of Venda political history. It helped in bringing the feuding parties together as the cause for which they were fighting no longer existed[3].

Phophi was succeeded by his son, Lupenyo Mugaguli. Mugaguli died in 1970 and was succeeded by his son, Aifheli, commonly known as AC Nelwamondo in 1971. He was given the title of Ndaedzo. He participated in homeland politics and held a number of cabinet posts when Venda was a ‘republic’ and under the leadership of King Patrick Mphephu-Ramabulana and Khosi Nndwakhulu Frank Ravele.

Khosi Ndaedzo Nelwamondo has been the khosi of Lwamondo since 1971. He is credited with the development of Lwamondo and the many primary and secondary schools that were built since 1971.

Click to enlarge

Lwamondo Villages

Lwamondo is made up of the following villages:

  1. Badama;
  2. Belemu;
  3. Tshivhale;
  4. Lukau;
  5. Tshitavha;
  6. Tshiseni;
  7. Mutandani;
  8. Matatani;
  9. Vhungwili;
  10. Tshifulanani;
  11. Dzwerani;
  12. Zwavhavhili;
  13. Mugomeli;
  14. Khumbe;
  15. Phambani;
  16. Tshikosi;
  17. Mathule;
  18. Vhunama;
  19. Mahematshena;
  20. Makambe;
  21. Tshiozwi;
  22. Tshiema;
  23. Thuhwi;
  24. Matavhela;
  25. Tshishushuru; and
  26. Tshalovha.

[1] M.H Nemudzivhadi

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid