04 September 2013

Nxele “the left handed” or Makhanda was a Xhosa warrior and prophet who, during the Xhosa Wars of Resistance, led an attack against the British garrison at Grahamstown in 1819. Albany Museum presents Ukuza kukaNxele, a permanent exhibitions commemorating the life and times of  this charismatic warrior. 

We examine his early life from his birth place in Gatyana, his travels with his mother to present day Uitenhage, where he came into contact with European views on religion and his acceptance and baptism into Christianity. We further follow his growth in influence amongst  amaXhosa and the royal house of Ndlabe as a respected herbalist and adviser culminating in the great Grahamstown attack in 1819, his subsequent surrender and banishment on Robben Island and later his suspicious death. 

This exhibition seeks to show a new side to Makanda so that we can appreciate him more than the lunatic - who led his followers to slaughter- that history has portrayed him as.

Against this background we also launch “Assimilate! Resist! Make a Home.” an exhibition that takes a look at the first 50 years of the city Graham's town. We look at its inhabitants during this timeframe, their interaction and roles they carved for themselves under the different circumstances they faced in this common place.
By S. Thabang Tshobeni