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Gcaleka was the third son of Phalo ka Tshiwo and Gcaleka had 3 known sons, Khawuta ka Gcaleka (1761), Velelo ka Gcaleka and Nqoko ka Gcaleka. He became King of the Xhosa in 1775.
Gcaleka faced tried to usurp his father's rule and interclan war broke out resulting in the Xhosa nation to split into two major sub-groups, the Xhosas of Rarabe and Xhosas Gcaleka. To this day the Gcaleka lineage is recognised as the senior house of the Xhosa nation. 
Other sources state he became King in 1750 and died in 1778.