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The Search


So, having found the history and genealogy of the Myeni tribe, how do we establish who was the Chief who gave his daughter to James Michael Rorke? The Chief who would be, in fact, Daphne`s Zulu great, great grandfather, on her mothers side.

Well, as you can see from the genealogy chart we have two branches of the Myeni tribe to consider - the Ngwenya branch and the Ntsinde branch.


The facts we know are that James Michael Rorke and the Princess known as Chithekile had their first child, Louisa Christina on the 12th November 1883. (see page 5 - Researching our Family History). With family planning and contraceptives virtually non existent in the frontier area, it is reasonable to assume that the marriage would have taken place around December 1882 or January/February 1883 - the Pongola river mentioned as being in flood during James`s rescue of the Chiefs son also points to the summer rains of November or December.

If we look at the Ngwenya branch of the Myeni two points stand out.

The first is that they were not in the Ubombo region, having moved to kwaMdolomba (near emaTubatuba) sometime in the 1850`s.

Secondly, their Chief in 1882 was Mmemezi who was murdered in MngomeZululand in 1882, leaving his heir Madlaka who was only 4 or 5 years old.

That being the case we can now eliminate the Ngwenya branch, and the Chiefs Sidladla, Mmemezi and Madlaka.


On the other branch of the Myeni we have also two possibilities as Chief. Sipike - or Sipize as he was sometimes called, and Mkakwa.

We are told that when he was Chief, Sipike left the tribal area around Ubombo and travelled in and around Swaziland. During this time he left the people in charge of his uncle Mlangazi - a headman rather than a Royal Chief - besides - Sipike was Chief!

When he left Swaziland he asked Chief Mbikiza of the MngomeZulu if he could return to the Myeni ancestral lands by the enGwavuma river - to the north of Ubombo - where he subsequently died and was buried. So we can reasonably eliminate him - he was not in Ubombo at the right time.