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Ndebeles' long walk from Bulawayo to Harare

09 Dec 2018 at 21:22hrs | Views
On the 7th December 2018 saw some dedicated and culturally conscious Ndebele men embark on a long walk from Bulawayo to Harare with an aim of petitioning the government of Zimbabwe on cultural respect of Mthwakazi. "It is all about acknowledging cultural diversity in the country, all about showcasing our Mthwakazi cultures and identities and to say we are here it's action time" said Mr Thabo Siziba, the man behind the March.

"The mission to Harare is in two fold even though it could be summed up as one, we want to reawaken awareness of the role played by ZIPRA forces to liberate the country and to celebrate our Mthwakazi culture openly without fear, we are not infringing on anyone's culture" Mr Siziba said.

The government's catalogue of Infringements on Mthwakazi culture:

Education and socialisation
The education system does not respect the culture of the Mthwakazi people, this is aptly shown by the non-Ndebele speaking teachers teaching in predominantly Ndebele regions. This is the surest way of socialising the Ndebele children into a non-Ndebele culture. Is it wrong to learn other cultures? No it is not, what is wrong is to learn other cultures at the expense of your own culture and learning so under duress. The content or curriculum is insulting of Mthwakazi cultures, for example they peddle a narrative which says that King Lobhengula sold the country, this is a lie meant to demean a people. What they fail to teach our children is that in 1890 Rhodes' BSAC company occupied MaShonaland without any resistance by the locals.

One of the biggest culprits in mutilating Mthwakazi culture is the media, the public media with a "mgodoyi narrative". The narrative which says there are no talented Ndebele musicians and actors and therefore no need to bother to play their music or plays on the public broadcaster. If this narrative was true why is that Ndebele people are successful in foreign lands, do you know people like Zinjaziyamluma, Madlela Sikhobokhobo, Nkosi ka Ndlovu, Tish Malaba and many others? These are some of the Mthwakazi people who have made their names outside the country because of the environment which was not enabling back home. The aim is to annihilate a people.

This is a pervasive ideology which was implemented from 1980 upto date. It cuts across all facets of life but it's driving force is fear, self-hate, self-negation, cultural mutilation and destruction of the Mthwakazi identities and self-confidence.

It is on that note that the organisers of the Mthwakazi March should be applauded in their efforts in recovering the confidence of a people, dust it up and set it on a trajectory to freedom. The walk to Harare from Bulawayo and back is no mean feat but a humongous symbolism which says we are prepared to become. That is to become who we are and freedom is never attained unless one reaches home, therefore going to Harare and back is an art of becoming. In solidarity with Thabo Siziba and his group of brave men I pledge to take a walk in my local park on a daily basis until they return back to Bulawayo.

Source - Thulani Nkala
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