Chief of the Mbuto (Mbuthweni) section of the Hlubi group of tribes, was the son of Fuba III and the grandson of Zibi II. He was educated at Love dale Institution at Alice in the Eastern Cape which he later joined as teacher, choir conductor and interpreter. He remained there for fourteen years. In 1912 he conducted the Lovedale and St Matthew's College Male Voice Choir at the first Missionary Conference in Cape Town.

Upon Zibi's father's death in 1890 the community came to be ruled by a regent Zibi's guardian Khetho Wuso. In 1913 Zibi was requested to return to Ngwazi to take up the chieftainship (after the custom that required of him to have married and fathered his first child). He was formally installed as chief in the same year.

In 1915, during the First World War (1914-1918), he recruited 60 men from among his followers whom he escorted to Upington to assist the South African Defence Force during the campaign in German South West Africa (Namibia).

In 1922 Zibi met a white ex-soldier who informed him of the availability of land in the Western Transvaal. Due to congestion in Middledrift district Zibi decided to move his people to the Transvaal. In October 1923 he was granted permission to proceed to the Rustenburg district to acquire land. He purchased half of the farm Rhenosterboom for £1 755 and agreed to rent the other half for £100 a year. With approximately 400 families he arrived on the farm on 20 September 1924, a day celebrated annually by his people ever since. He named his village Kaya Khulu (Great Hut or Home).

Due to insufficient funds Zibi initiated the Rustenburg Farm Scheme, offering shares in the farm for £50 per person. However, the scheme was opposed by the government on the grounds that no personal title to the land could be issued.

Eventually, in 1927, the farm was registered in the name of the secretary of Native Affairs in trust for Zibi and his followers. In 1928 another group of 200 Hlubi families from the Mount Frere district under headman Israel Zibi joined those settled at Kaya Khulu. In 1931 Zibi acquired another farm, Rampapaanspoort. The community, however, also used land, such as Miersrust, that connected the two farms belonging to the tribe, for grazing.

When Zibi moved to Kaya Khulu, he had lost his title as chief and became a headman. In 1941 his position as headman changed when he was officially appointed as chief with civil and criminal jurisdiction over the community. Some of his councillors apparently opposed this and Zibi was forced to depose them.

After the passage of the Bantu Authorities Act in 1951 he was one of the first local officials appointed in the Western Transvaal when his tribe was proclaimed and recognized as the AmaHlubi Tribal Authority on 19 June 1953.

Although politically never very active, Zibi attended several conferences, such as the Governor-General's Native Conference of 1923, 1925 and 1927.

At these conferences he expressed opinions on the land issue and questioned the lack of freedom for Africans. He expressed reservations about the restrictions placed on Africans which prevented them from owning the land they occupied. It was especially at the Dutch Reformed Church Conference of 1923 that he attacked the Natives Land Act of 1913 and its effect on the pride and self-respect of Africans. He warned that the Natives (Urban Areas) Act no. 21 of 1923 would cause even greater problems for, urban Africans as it would deprive them of the right to live in the city. At the Non-European Conference of June 1927 Zibi was evidently accused of being a government nominee to conferences and that he did not have the right to speak for his followers. In reaction he stated that he was appointed constitutionally by the chiefs of the Rustenburg district to represent their interests.

Zibi took a strong interest in public affairs and was known for his gifts as writer.

As freelance journalist he contributed many articles to both white and African newspapers - some under a nom de plume. He promoted the Wayfarers and Pathfinders youth organizations in the district and started the Kaya Khulu Primary School where his wife Maud became the first principal. The Shadrack F. Zibi Secondary School at Kaya Khulu was established in his honour in 1974.

He was married to Maud Nomtshato (Mam)Jwara, a trained teacher. They had one daughter and four sons.

• Central Archives, Pretoria
• NTS and URU collections
• R.H.w. SHEPHERD, Lovedale, South Africa The story of a century, 1841-1941.
• Lovedale, [1940]
• P.L. BREUTZ, The tribes of the Rustenburg and Pilansberg districts.
• Pretoria, 1953. (Department of Native Affairs. Ethnological publications, no. 28
• T.D.M. SKOTA (ed.), The African who's who: an illustrated classified register and national biographical dictionary of the Africans in the Transvaal. 3rd ed., rev. & enl. [Johannesburg, 1965
• T. KARIS & G.M. CARTER (eds), From protest to challenge: a documentary history of African politics in South Africa, 1882-1964.
Protest and hope, 1882-1934. Stanford, 1972;
• T. KARIS & G.M. CARTER (eds), From protest to challenge: a documentary history of African politics in South Africa, 1882-1964.
• Political profiles, 1882-1964. Stanford, 1977
• P.-L. BREUTZ, A history of the Botswana and origin of Bophuthatswana.
• Ramsgate, 1989Private information: Residents in Mabes Kraal district, Bophuthatswana (North-West Province); Mrs Zibi (nursing sister), Kaya Khulu Clinic, Kaya Khulu, Bophuthatswana (North-West Province)
• Verwey, E.J. (1995) New Dictionary of South African Biography. Volume 1. Human Sciences Research Council: Pretoria. Pp 275-276

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