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How Mthwakazi lost her identity and memory - Dr Guduza

by Thulani Nkala
22 May 2016 at 11:37hrs | Views
Yesterday, on the 21st May 2016, Dr Churchill Mpiyezwe Guduza delivered a lecture to a group of Mthwakazians in London, Pimlico. In his lecture he delved on various issues affecting Mthwakazi, taking a historical perspective and he finally concluded his lecture by giving possible solutions for the way forward.

In this brief analysis I will focus on one issue which Dr Guduza raised in his lecture, which is the issue of how Mthwakazi identity and memory was lost.

Dr Guduza narrated the origins of Mthwakazi nation, taking a chronological order of the events which contributed to building/creation of Mthwakazi, starting from the time when King Mzilikazi Khumalo and his people were still in kwaZulu in South Africa. When Mzilikazi left kwaZulu he settled in Trasnvaal and his capital was in what is now called Pretoria/Tshwane. He ruled over a very huge territory. During this time he fought against King Dingane Zulu and the Boers.

Dr Guduza narrated how Mzilikazi and his people moved to Mthwakazi, mentioned internal strife, hopes, civil war which the young but vibrant nation faced.

The 1890 battle of Mbembesi/Gadade unleashed a great blow to the nation; the Mthwakazi nation faced its first defeat at the hands of Mr Cecil John Rhodes' BSAC company. Dr Guduza argues that this defeat and occupation of the Mthwakazi nation did not destroy nor erase the identity and Mthwakazi memory, as witnessed by the subsequent uprisings and the people's pride and culture was still intact.

The late 1950s and 1960s are seen as the crucial years which led to the loss of the Mthwakazi identity. The nationalist politics played a pivotal role in erasing the Mthwakazi memory.

"ZAPU and Dr Nkomo were captured by Shona intellectuals who defined the ideology and vision of the liberation struggle" Dr Guduza stated.

Dr Guduza argues that the Shona intellectuals defined the ideology and vision of the struggle in a very intelligent and cunning manner to the extent that many Mthwakazi people bought in to the vision without questioning it. The Shona intellectuals always knew that the new vision they were espousing was to erase the Mthwakazi identity and memory.

 The biggest ideological idea at this time was the notion of fighting for a concept called 'Zimbabwe', but from the very inception this concept was at the expense of the Mthwakazi identity but instead supported the Shona hegemony.  Therefore the liberation struggle which was fought in what became Zimbabwe had nothing to do with the freedom of the Mthwakazi people.

The anger against the white colonialists and the euphoria of the liberation struggle helped the Shona intellectuals to smuggle the Shona nationalism as Zimbabwe nationalism, which at that time was described as a country for all the indigenous and oppressed masses. The name ZAPU then emerged.

The Lancaster House negotiations are seen as a lost opportunity to retrieve and recover the lost Mthwakazi identity and memory. Instead of Dr Nkomo and ZAPU taking wise counsel from Chief Khayisa Ndiweni for Nkomo to negotiate for a separate Mthwakazi state, due to Nkomo having surrounded himself with Shona intellectuals and leadership, it was difficult for him to break loose and redefine the Mthwakazi political trajectory to self-independence.

Dr Joshua Nkomo's populism blinded him to the political realities and was unable to read between the lines that the Zimbabwe ideology in actual fact equated to Shona nationalism to the exclusion of Mthwakazi nationalism.
In my next instalment I will focus on a number of models and strategies proposed by Dr Guduza in recovering the lost Mthwakazi identity and memory.

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Source - Thulani Nkala