The people who inhabit Shixini and adjoining areas are members of what was, historically, and technically still is, part of the Gcaleka chiefdom, the senior branch of the Xhosa proper (Hammond-Tooke 1975). Like other Xhosa-speaking chiefdoms, the Gcaleka became subject to British colonial control when the Cape Colony annexed the area known as Gcaleka-land, the present districts of Gatyana and Centane, in 1885. Other territories east of the Kei River were annexed between 1879 and 1887, and together with East and West Pondoland, annexed in 1894, were administered through a council system and fell under a single chief magistrate for the Transkeian Territories (Jackson 1975).