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The Umthwakazi Nation Remember King Lobengula

03 Dec 2018 at 20:13hrs | Views
Prince Zwide Peter Khumalo
The fierce encounter at Lalaphansi and a little later at the Shangani River in October, 1893, between Imbizo gallant Forces of King Lobengula  and the Imperialist Forces were  initial incidents that marked the deep-seated Whiteman's and their vassals' desire to destroy the Ndebele Kingdom. The KoGadade battle on the 2nd November, 2018 was a decider as to whether the King would continue staying at Emahlabathini Palace or He would move towards the North. Indeed, He moved up North after instructing his inner Indunas Sivalo Mahlangu and Mabhena to burn down the Palace. KoBulawayo was no-more. The fall of the Palace was a combination of the Imperialist Forces using heavy machine guns against Imbizo, Insukamini and other Ndebele regiments and a betrayal of one African by another to the Whites when some small hearted non-visionary Africans sided with the Colonialists. This is the point at which Whites colonized Africans in Ebudlamnondo and when Africans colonized other Africans by being part of a Whiteman's plan to exterminate the Ndebeles.

There were skirmishes between the colonial forces and the mighty Ndebele regiments North of Bulawayo that culminated on the final Pupu Battle. At this battle the Allan Wilson group on horseback were all wiped out by the very tactical Ndebele Forces. Commander in Chief, Mtshana Khumalo would not allow the King to be captured. Some high ranking personalities sacrificed their lives to save the King and the dignity of the Kingdom.  Both morally and militarily polished Ndebele army decently buried the dead White soldiers in a typical Ndebele round shaped grave at which the follow-up White forces found their bones that they reburied at the Matopos Hills. Heavy rains had fallen and the King disappeared. The King had not been captured. The Ndebele Forces won that battle and therefore the Ndebele were never defeated militarily by the British Imperialist Forces. Darkness fell on the Umthwakazi nation when their King disappeared on the 4th. December, 1893.This marked the collapse of the Ndebele Kingdom that the White colonialist would never allow to be revived. To this day we continue to suffer the effects of the divide and rule that the Colonialists used to destroy the Monarch system and the Kingdom.

What followed the 4th. December, 2018, is very painful to imagine. The well orchestrated colonial mastery was used to destroy the Kingdom and subject the Ndebele people and other Africans in this country to oppression of immeasurable proportions. New laws were enacted that brought misery to Africans. The Land Apportionment act was one of such bad and oppressive laws that removed Africans from fertile land which was later allocated to Whites. The Ndebele people of King Lobengula were themselves violently 'redistributed' to infertile lands. The human inhumane redistribution destroyed the family structures and it increased the vulnerability to droughts and famine as it also destroyed their resiliencies to such disasters. If one travels wide in this country, traces of the Ndebele people are found in small pockets. That is evidence of the cruelty with which colonialists put in place measures to destroy what the Ndebele cherished most, their identity, resources and the collective ethic. There are Ndebele people in Mondoro, Chegutu, Chikombedzi, Gutu to name a few that have never met their brothers and sisters in Tsholotsho, Nkayi, Filabusi, Gwanda and many other areas in Matabeleland and Midlands since the 1950s and 1960s.This was intended to reduce the Ndebele, and indeed other Africans, to living organisms that could not determine their destiny.

Africans were not allowed to walk on corridors or pavements in the City of Bulawayo. When they came out of lifts they were forced to walk along isles behind high rise buildings. Many of us will recall the incarceration of people like Masotsha Ndlovu, Tafi Moyo for walking on pavements and dropping sweet wrappers. This was resistance by the Ndebeles against a system pregnant with discrimination and oppression. Impi yehloka elibomvu, 1896 in which the Ndebele, on their side, fought battles against the Whites led by Nyamande Khumalo, who was on the 25thJune 1896, made King of the Ndebele, assisted spiritually by Queen Lozikeyi, was a strong expression of the dissatisfaction of the oppressive nature of the White colonial rule. The Home Society that Nyamande Khumalo formed and led was one such instrument of bringing the Ndebele together to resist the oppressive nature of colonialism. This was very organised resistance, but once again colonialism had been stronger in other areas of the country. The Whites were supported by other Africans. This betrayal of African by African failed the resistance program. As Africans all were in a hopeless situation to an extent that we failed to realize that colonialism against Africans in Zimbabwe was going to be collective issue.
Independence came in 1980 after a protracted war led by Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe against Rhodesians. The ZPRA and ZANLA Forces fought guerilla wars against the Rhodesian Forces and won the independence for the Zimbabweans. The conventional war battles on the banks of the Zambezi Escapement between the Rhodesian Forces and the ZPRA Forces in 1980 under the command of Madliwa Khumalo forced the Rhodesians to sign the Lancaster Agreement. The Lacanster Agreement failed the Ndebele people in that it completely ignored how the Whites had taken this country from the Africans and that there had been official borders in the country. Even if this would not have recognised certain aspects of the demarcations, the issue needed to have been addressed and ironed out then, that there is another on land border line called The Jameson Line that divided this country into two. This existed. The political arguments for and against this are not subject of this write up today.  The other issue that needed to have been sorted out was the issue of majority and minority ethnic groups that has kept the tribalism card prime in the politics and governance of this country. It's an infectious disease that has made government struggle to create nationhood. It's as bad as corruption and probably worse because it zeros down to affecting inter-tribal relationships. Government seems not to have an idea of how to stamp it out. The route to building nationhood is the acknowledgement that tribalism exists and that minority tribes have suffered more due to its oppressive nature. The way out is for government to come up with value systems that all of us can cherish. The foundation for nationhood would have been set.

These issues have remained a thorn in the flesh for the Ndebele people to an extent that the African led Government since independence, to the Ndebele eyes, has sustained colonial conditions. Incidents such as the Gukurahundi, allocation of land and local resources to people from other regions at the expense of the locals, poor or lack of educational, health, road and transport development and various tactics of creating unemployment and poverty in Matabeleland and Midlands that government has failed to address can only be seen by the Ndebele as discriminatory. How does our government explain how along the tarred road from Chivu to Mutare almost every ten(10)km. there is a Secondary school and two Primary schools. The students walk from the homes crossing roads to nearby schools. In Matabeleland students run along the main roads to Beitbridge, Plumtree, Filabusi and Hwange side by-side with vehicles, with hardly any school visible within 30km from Bulawayo for instance. Most politicians from Matabeleland have not assisted, either, in being frank at government level as to what areas need urgent addressing. The politics of food and survival, that is called patronage has shadowed focus on development needs of the people of this region. Government is not a human being with blood that has feelings, emotions and perceptions like the people that compose it. As a government, it should be looking at issues objectively and sharing the development cake equitably. This country, thirty –eight(38) years since independence, needs peace, love and commitment to ensuring that everybody in the majority tribes or minority tribes enjoy life. That is what prevails in neighbouring independent countries. Leadership should stand up and be accountable with a positive political will to transform for the better.

The Ndebele people are aware of the role politicians play and despite their failures to represent the interests of the people in government, the people respect the democratic system of voting the people into power. The people of this region and in this region, the Umthwakazi nation in particular, need to consider today, the 4th.December, 2018 to remember the day King Lobengula disappeared and our Kingdom collapsed, 4thDecember, 1893, into the hands of the imperialists. To give meaning to this incident:

TO: Remember King Lobengula - the Umthwakazi nation, a public call is being made that the Umthwakazi  nation retire from active political Parties activities from today, 4 December, 2018 to the month, January, (He was coronated in January, 1870) of his ascension to power and beyond by another three months to the end of April, 2018.It is a normal cultural withdrawal from some activities when something that is a major cultural event occurs or is being observed(Siyazila).This should allow the Ndebele people where ever they are to voluntarily and peacefully come together and reconsider who they are; what they exist for in this country and what legacy they intend to leave for generations to come. This virtual platform, that will culminate in an invigorated positioning of the people of and in this region should sum up with a Commemoration of King Lobengula's ascension to Power that is already being arranged for Old Bulawayo on a date to be agreed upon and announced. This will be purely cultural event that is inclusive.

Government is struggling trying to sort its house politically, economically and in development issues. The Ndebele people need to support this endeavour by not interfering with government programs, but just focus for a short time on their identity that was destroyed during the history of events, some of which are outlined above; and the political Party activities and politicians that have done their part in dividing us. People are encouraged to keep their political Party cards and positions during this period of reckoning. The current Government is telling people that Devolution is coming to Provinces. The people of this region need to take time-off to prepare themselves for the devolution that is said to be coming. However, the definition of the type of devolution needs to be spelt out clearly to the people so that each Province prepares itself to make sure this Government Program succeeds. There could be serious  issues that need to be done for people in our Province to own, control and exploit the resources for the benefit of the people of and in Matabeleland and Midlands. It might assist Government to engage people to hear their expectations and prepare them to embrace this.

The memorial for the disappearance of King Lobengula and his Ascension to Power should be seen as a contribution to turning things around for the positive welfare of the people of this Umthwakazi nation and a clear expression that this region can contribute positively to nation building. The backbone to the national transformation should be Ubuntu and built in should be the unfettered practice of our culture, traditions and unity of purpose.

Source - Prince Zwide Peter Khumalo
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