A few days after Bhaca king Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko was linked to irregular procurement of Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) by the Gauteng provincial government, a friend sent me a text asking how many kings there are in the former Transkei homeland.

As a Xhosa-speaking South African, I am used to this question from friends and acquaintances, who are confused about the number of kingdoms and chiefdoms in the area. Before I gave my friend a long historical answer, I first dealt with the Diko kingship, though as far as I was aware the Bhaca were historically a chiefdom, not a kingdom.

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