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King Mzilikazi celebrations set for Mhlahlandlela

by Staff reporter
31 Aug 2023 at 06:43hrs | Views
THE annual King Mzilikazi Day, a traditional ceremony to honour one of the most revered kings in Bantu history, is set to take place at Mhlahlandlela, the royal kraal of King Mzilikazi next  Saturday.

The remembrance event takes place every year at Mhlahlandlela, where the late King's tombstone is, on a hill called eNtumbane, located near the burial site of Cecil John Rhodes. Mhlahlandlela, situated 22km from Bulawayo, along the old Gwanda Road, was King Mzilikazi's last known capital.

This year marks the 21st commemoration of King Mzilikazi. Mlungisi Madabudabu Tshabalala, isekela lo mdidiyeli wamabutho esintu, on behalf of Izinduna Zamabutho said the commemoration is a grand affair, encompassing a range of traditional festivities.

He said the event will have various activities. These include performances of songs, dances, an Amabutho parade, poetry, and the participation of maidens with various speakers set to present speeches.

"The King Mzilikazi celebrations have been taking place annually at Mhlahlandlela which was his royal kraal since 2000. There, Ndebele traditions like ukubika eNkosini — a process of asking the King's spirit to welcome his subjects and grace the event are practiced.

"Members of the Royal Khumalo clan do those traditional duties as well as welcoming everybody," Tshabalala said.

Attendees, Tshabalala said, will be required to remove their shoes at the sacred place in adherence to sacred customs.

"In the sacred place where the King's tombstone is erected, no shoes are allowed. People are also encouraged to wear traditional regalia and women to dress appropriately (no trousers). Women can wear izidwaba and men can wear amabhetshu," he said.

As part of the celebrations, participants will be treated to umngqutshu (samp), traditional sorghum beer, and a feast comprising various meat.

He said at the event's site, a significant tombstone (iNsika yeNkosi) marks the spot where King Mzilikazi used to rest under an umkhaya tree.

"Visitors can also explore a biography dedicated to the late king, providing insight into his life and achievements," added Tshabalala.

Distinguished speakers at the event will include members of the Royal Khumalo clan, chiefs from different parts of Matebeleland and Midlands provinces, regimental commanders (iZinduna zaMabutho), caretakers of maidens (omama ababheke amatshitshi), historians, and representatives from various traditional institutions and cultural groups.

Tshabalala encouraged the public to spread awareness about the cultural event.

"The public is encouraged to spread the word about this day as it's our historical heritage event on which we showcase our culture. The communities are also called upon to contribute in any way possible, whether through financial donations, food, refreshments, transportation, or other necessities, to ensure the success of the day's proceedings," he said.

While preparations for this year's commemoration faced challenges in terms of resources, Tshabalala said they are progressing well under the circumstances.

"The ultimate aspiration of the nation is for the government to declare 5 September, King Mzilikazi Day, a public holiday. Such a declaration would serve to reinforce the value of cultural heritage, reconnect Zimbabweans with their historical roots, and encourage the preservation of tradition for future generations."

King Mzilikazi, the son of Mashobane kaMangethe known for his military prowess and leadership, rose from being a Khumalo Chief and serving under Zulu King, Shaka in the early 1820s. He left Zululand with a small group of his Khumalo Clan and other Nguni remnants, ultimately founding the powerful Ndebele nation in what is now known as Southern Zimbabwe.

His legacy is attributed to his success in establishing a united nation comprising various tribes, which includes the present-day provinces of Matebeleland North, Matebeleland South, and Midlands. King Mzilikazi died on September 5, 1868.

Source - The Chronicle