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King Lobengula family to lead pilgrimage march

14 Jun 2018 at 11:30hrs | Views
King Lobengula Family will lead a pilgrimage march on the 23 June, 2018, at the Pupu-Shangani ford where King Lobengula crossed after the battle of the 4 December, 1893 against the imperialist forces led by Allan Wilson.

The Pupu - Shangani Carnival will commence at the Malungu Crossing and the community and their guests will walk to the river and cross it to where lies gallant and brave man in nine mass graves. The Malungu Crossing is 246km from Bulawayo along St Paul's Road. The Pupu community led by their traditional leaders, Chiefs, Headman and Kraal-heads invite all and sundry to be part of this enhistoric event. This will be the first ever such an event since King Lobengula disappeared to be led by his blood line descendants at the shrine area. They will do the delegated duty with the humility it deserves.

The King Lobengula Family feel honoured by the Pupu Community to have been requested to participate and lead the march. However, they will lead whilst under the guidance of the local people and their traditional leadership. One main event of the day led by the Royal Family of the Khumalos, before taking on the long walk to the near-by great Shangani River, is the ground breaking ceremony for the Lobengula Royal Hut.

This will be a milestone event as it will mark the existence of a father leader in that community, the spirit of Ngwalongwalo kaMatshobana. During a visit on the 9th June, 2018 by a small representative delegation of the Royal Family that included the writer and Themba Nhlokoma, we noted the high level passion the community have about the Ndebele King and the history of the shrine district. It was a day of preparations for the function and the old and the young  were all ecstatic about the event of the 23 June, 2018.

Lupane District has two Chiefs, Chief Mabhikwa Khumalo and Chief Menyezwa Gumede.Under them, they have ten(10) Headman and 750 Village Heads. One of the Headman (umlisa) Ngubo Moyo is working with thirty eight(38) kraal – heads(village heads) in preparing for this event. The event, other than it being eventful due to its pioneering nature is an absolute necessity so that the correct story be told about the history of the shrine. The Pupu battlefield is the largest of the of the five(5) Ndebele colonial resistance battlefields, spanning an area which is fifteen(15)kms long and five(5)kms wide. It is made of three battle grounds, namely Insindamadoda, Emtswirini and the Allan Wilson (Pupu).Te distance between the battlegrounds is 6-7kms. The first is where Malungu Crossing is.Emtswirini is along Pupu River.

The Pupu Memorial is across the river and is only 25m long and the mass grave of African soldiers is about three metres by three metres.(3mx3m).The Allan Wilson miniaturized the battle ground size from 400mx300m to 25m length. Within the large battle ground are unmarked nine(9) Ndebele soldiers mass graves.

The pilgrimage is no grand-standing event or some kind of popularity seeking incident, but a very serious occasion with a historical significance that is neatly tied up to the lives and future livelihoods of the locals and the Ndebele nation. Locals must be engaged and the history of the place be unpacked. Any visitor should be at Pupu-Shangani Ford in time and space when he meets people of Lupane or Matabeleland North for that matter telling them all about Pupu-Shangani Ford and battles when still far from the shrine.

This can best be achieved by attaching ourselves to the ritual site, partnering and participating with the locals in the next coming event. The site is a heritage from our ancestors who perished for a good cause; to resist colonization. Despite a war situation, the Ndebele gallant surviving soldiers showed very high levels decency by burying the thirty-nine (39) Whiteman's bodies in a decent round traditional grave from which their remains were exhumed and taken for reburial at the Matopos. They would not leave them to be devoured by wild animals.

The event should be a tourist attraction as it defines what Pupu-Shangani Ford is all about. It is critical that Government should understand it in that context also and ensure that resources gained from other places of attraction in Matabeleland North such as the Hwange Game Reserve, the Victoria Falls and the mineral wealth are availed for the development of the Pupu-Shangani Ford and other shrines around it. The issue is that if King Lobengula crossed the Shangani River thick sands on foot  in 1893, it should be possible to bring modernity in the crossing of the river by building a bridge from local resources.

This will create access and more visitors will be going to Pupu-Shangani Shrines. With the available river sand, water drilling technology and local labour to mould bricks on site, National Museums and Monuments can empower the locals and build decent shrines than to import water and bricks to Pupu to do just that.

King Lobengula's family leadership inspiration statement is: Follow us, we are just behind you Pupu Community!

Source - Zwidekalanga Khumalo
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