The Hlubi (or amaHlubi) are a South African ethnic group. The AmaHlubi people's historical names are amaMpembe, amaNgelengele and imiHuhu and are the largest tribe in the Southern-East Africa. They are believed to have originated from what is now known as the Congo, as part of the migration towards the South by the eMbo people from Central Africa. There is no record of their King when they first settled in the south. They are found in the Republic of South Africa in the KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and North West provinces, with an original settlement on the Buffalo River.
Below is a traditional estimation of the Hlubi Kings that ruled from 1300 until now. Note that Hlubi history comes mainly from oral sources and the dates below should not be taken as historically accurate.
|Busobengwe (Bhungane I)||1350–1370|
|Ncobo and later, Hadebe||1650–1675|
|Mthimkhulu II (Ngwadlazibomvu)||1800–1818|
|Dlomo II and later, Mthethwa (commonly known as Langalibalele I)||1839–1889|
|Muziwenkosi (Langalibalelle ll)||1974 –|
Theophilus Shepstone, who was responsible for the expropriation of South African land, was credited with establishing some of the key features of colonial administration and the model for Apartheid rule. The British government aimed to administer a census of African-owned cattle, demand African soldiers for military operations, enforce hut tax collection and impose annual forced labour obligations. This was met with resistance and led to violent clashes between the military forces of an African chiefdom and the colonial state.
Chief Langalibalele and Chief Phakade of the Chunu refused to compel their communities to comply with British forced labour or hut tax requirements. This resulted in government halting forced labour between 1854 to 1858 out of fear that this would aggravate more armed rebellion from local communities. The forced labour was later reintroduced when British officials sensed that the threat of violent resistance had passed.
In 1873, Chief Langalibalele was summoned to Pietermaritzburg to account for the failed registration of firearms among his subjects. They had received these guns as payment from diamond mine owners.  The chief fled to Lesotho via the Bushman's Nek Pass where he was confronted by British troops. Five men died in the clash, three of which were British, and Chief Langalibalele was arrested. He was not allowed counsel and was found guilty under a trial that was conducted under laws which were largely made up on the spot by Shepstone.
The Hlubi dialect is endangered, and most Hlubi speakers are elderly and illiterate. There are attempts by Hlubi intellectuals to revive the language and make it one of the eleven recognised languages in South Africa.
Leaders of the amaHlubi people are said to have had special knowledge of royal medicines and potions for rainmaking. They are said to have been a race of bold warriors, before being displaced by colonialism.
Benjamin Pine punished the Hlubi people by displacing them, confiscating their cattle and imprisoning Chief Langalibalele on Robben Island in 1873. The chief became one of the first black activists banished to Robben Island. He later died under house arrest in 1889 and his heirs were never returned to the throne. Since then, the amaHlubi people has been ruled by chiefs who are the subjects of another King and have had their status as a nation, such as amaZulu and baTswana, revoked. In a 2004 proposal to the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims, the amaHlubi people stated their claim as "appealing for the recognition of the historical and rightful place for the King of amaHlubi."
- Isizwe SamaHlubi: Submission to the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims: Draft 1
- "Isizwe SamaHlubi: Submission to the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims: Draft 1" (PDF). July 2004. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Paulsen B.S, Ekeli H, Johnson Q and Norum K. 2012. Book Reviews and Notices. Theophilus Shepstone and the forging of Natal – African Autonomy and Settler Colonialism in the Making of Traditional Authority. Unipub. pp 105 – 108.
- Mahoney M. R. How the British Stayed in Power in Early Colonial Natal. Yale University.
- Hlubi Chief Langalibalele becomes one of the first Black activists to be tried and banished to Robben Island. Accessed 21 June 2017.
- Henry Masila Ndawo (1939). Iziduko zama-Hlubi. Lovedale Press. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- Henry Masila Ndawo (1945). Ibali lamaHlubi. Lovedale Press.
- Andrew Hayden Manson (19??). The Hlubi and Ngwe in a colonial society, 1848–1877. s.n. Retrieved 31 July 2011. Check date values in:
- Alfred T. Bryant (1965). Olden times in Zululand and Natal: containing earlier political history of the Eastern-Nguni clans. C. Struik. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- John Henderson Soga (1930). The south-eastern Bantu: (Abe-Naguni, Aba-Mbo, Ama-Lala). The Witwatersrand university press. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- John Britten Wright; Andrew Manson (1983). The Hlubi chiefdom in Zululand-Natal: a history. Ladysmith Historical Society. ISBN 978-0-620-06178-0. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- John William Colenso (1875). Langalibalele and the amahlubi tribe: being remarks upon the official record of the trials of the Chief, his sons and Induna, and other members of the amahlubi tribe. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- Paul Maylam (1986). A history of the African people of South Africa: from the early Iron Age to the 1970s. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-37511-9. Retrieved 31 July 2011.