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Lest we forget that brilliant Matabele son

19 Oct 2017 at 16:23hrs | Views
Today marks 24 years since the death of Mthandazo Ndema Ngwenya, that brilliant Matabele son, scholar and activist who died tragically in a car accident at the Heany Junction with Dr Themba Nkabinde on their way to Harare on the 19th of October, 1993. In my life, I have only shed tears for the death of only three public figures.

These are:
Mthandazo Ndema Ngwenya
Sydney Donald Malunga
Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.

Mthandazo Ndema Ngwenya's brief political activism had a profound effect in the shaping of political views of many young Matabeles at the time and indeed many more others who became active under iMbovane yaMahlabezulu and Vukani Mahlabezulu. He is arguably the father of Mthwakazi nationalist politics. Unlike the Zimbabwe nationalist brand of politics inherited from ZANU which suppressed precolonial Matabele heroism, Ndema ignited the imagination of many Matabeles when he together with Hudson Halimana Ndlovu, illustrated how Ndebeles became the only defenders of this country against colonialism during its invasion by white settlers when others elected to collaborate. He demonstrated how Matabele people exhibited rare bravery and squared up against a well equipped British Army that used the World's hitherto deadliest weapon of mass destruction (the Maxim gun) against King Lobhengula's spear-wielding warriors for the first time after its manufacture.

Ndema was extremely articulate and I sometimes wonder what would have happened had he lived longer.

"We must die as Mthwakazians so that we can live freely with clear consciences in the hereafter, anything other than that is a betrayal to our brave forefathers," said Ngwenya addressing a public meeting at the Large City Hall. The following day the Bulawayo Chronicle Headlines screamed:


Two days later Mthandazo Ndema Ngwenya died tragically in a car accident.

Siyakukhumbula Msindamanzi, Sitshela sabaKwena. Sithi umfukula wakho mawuvuke intsha ihlanye idle amahabula ukuze iphupho lakho lifezeke.

Source - George M Mkhwanazi
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