Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

This & that with Mal'phosa: Freedom is coming tomorrow!

29 Aug 2022 at 21:24hrs | Views
Discussion over what to call the territory once ruled, as the song goes, by King Mambo and King Mzilikazi is a centre of political dispute; some population groups favour Mthwakazi while others opt for Matabeleland, but critically, most agree with the utility of the sovereignty of the territory. It is fair to say the name Mthwakazi is gaining momentum in its use in reference to the traditional state made of modern-day Matabeleland and parts of present day Midlands region; Mthwakazi (Fig. 1) covers territory to the southwest of modern-day state of Zimbabwe. The territory is occupied by people of African ethnic background with a small population of people from non-African ethnic background, in particular Europe and Asia. Black people make the majority of the population with small communities of white and Asian people also calling the territory home.

One would have hoped naming our territory would be straightforward, but it is far from that, and we may have to live to explain ourselves to the next generations. Some Kalanga scholars view the name Mthwakazi in disdain. These academics have reconstructed history and politicized the name to portray its supposed toxicity. They argue the name Matabeleland is more reflective of our society and palatable as opposed to Mthwakazi which is somehow perceived as a perpetuation of Nguni supremacism and an attempt at assimilating other tribal groups within the territory. These individuals refute the historical existence of Mthwakazi as a viable state; they argue Mthwakazi is a region in Matabeleland and specifically a territory occupied by Nguni immigrants.

Further, the Zimbabwe government has threatened those activist groups who advocate for a sovereign Mthwakazi state – like the Matabeleland Liberation party and the Mthwakazi Liberation Party, Inqama and Imbovane. These are groups that were borne from the perceived marginalization of the Mthwakazi people and their region. We had an interview with one Manzana Ncube, the Umguza Member of the Executive, Mthwakazi Republic Party. Here are the main points raised, verbatim:

: thank you, Mr. Ncube, for allowing me to speak to you about your party. I hope this gives you a chance to clear a few gray areas not clearly understood by many, especially the people from this region.

Ncube; it's such an honour and privilege. Thanks for inviting me.

Malph: In brief, what is Mthwakazi?

Ncube: It is a state once ruled by Mambo and Mzilikazi. You can cut Zimbabwe into half – the southern part is Mthwakazi, belonging to the people of Matabeleland.

Malph: So, why MRP? What do you stand for, as a political party?

Ncube: We advocate restoration of the Mthwakazi state. We want to cease to be part of Zimbabwe, and be a sovereign state with its own political system, laws, money, flag.

Malph: But why do you want to leave Zimbabwe? What are Mthwakazi's problems?

Ncube: At independence, the people of Mthwakazi never got any freedom. For starters, the government of the day sent mercenaries to annihilate tens of thousands of our people. You listen to stories about people's experiences during this era, and you conclude that definitely, we don't belong with these people – the shona. We do not. We do not belong in Zimbabwe – the Zimbabwe government has demonstrated this over the years. I maintain that the unity accord signed by the late leaders of Zanu and Zapu was simply a marriage of convenience. If a marriage does not work for one party, divorce is inevitable.

Malph: Why do you think Zanu decided to commit such carnage among Mthwakazi people?

Ncube: These guys already had what they called the grand plan – which basically meant that they must dominate us in all spheres of life. They have shown this over the years in state institutions where working there is only their prerogative, their birthright. This has ensured that we remain second class citizens. Look at the number of companies that were closed in Bulawayo during Esap. It is scary, and it was deliberate. Then you have an influx of shonas not just in our towns, schools and colleges but in our rural areas as well. Already, there are more shonas in Matabelend than the Ndebele themselves. They are dominating. I have always questioned why we never stopped the first Shona that came to Matabeleland, so that they see that we do not belong together. They disrespect and bully us, in our own space, in our own homeland. They rape our languages and despise our customs.

Malph: I understand. There are many shonas who, even now, think we do not belong in any part of that country but in South Africa instead, where Mzilikazi smuggled our ancestors from.

Ncube: You are right. Take for instance this numbskull, Mutodi – he said to the South African government they were chasing Zimbabweans away when they accommodated South African citizens there – meaning Mthwakazi. One may ask, where exactly do we belong? I dare say, ours is the Mthwakazi state that we seek to restore.

Malph: But you have representatives in parliament – why don't they highlight your plight as a people?

Ncube: Mthwakazi problems are only highlighted during campaigns when there are elections looming. For instance, those who want to be our representatives come to us – talk about cessation as inevitable; talk about dialogue and compensation of gukurahundi victims; talk about marginalization of our state;, talk about virtually everything that irks us – but when they get to parliament, bathula ungathi abekho. So, our problems are never solved. We are led by bootlicking cowards.

Malph: So do you think these problems can be solved politically? Or do we need our Zipra again, to liberate us?

Ncube: I would not advise anyone to go to war. These can be solved politically, as long as there is a political will. All we need to do is show the world, especially the United Nations, how marginalized and enslaved we are.

Malph: But Ncube, I must say I am surprised at how the world cringes each time you highlight the plight of Zimbabweans. Have you ever heard the gukurahundi massacres discussed at high level platforms such as the UN, or SADC, or AU?

Ncube: This is what we consider as a first big step. Once we get these reports to the UN, it might pressurize the government to come to the table and have sincere conversation with us, the people of Mthwakazi.

Malph: In all this, where does the crowning of the king come in? And, as a party, which king do you side with? I see every Jack and Jill now can come out and claim the throne.

Ncube: we take only what abesikhosini tell or give us. We have been given inkosana uBulelani, and our allegiance lies with him.

Fine: Tell me a bit about the MRP president. Most presidents, including the current Zimbabwe one, ngondlovu-ayiphikiswa.

Ncube; Dictatorship, unfortunately, is an African problem, and no party or country is safe.

Malph: Please be specific – is your leader a dictator as well?

Ncube: I cannot say that he is per se. He is a humble and simple man who is also approachable.

Malph: Uyabaleka Ncube. Ok, what are the relations between MRP and other political parties in Matabeleland? There was a spat recently between the Zapu and the MRP leaders. Liyathelelana amanzi?

Ncube. That spate was unfortunate - but we work well with Zapu since we are fighting for the same things. But I need to highlight that our people must be aware of CCC. It is no different from Zanu. In fact, they still want to oppress us, like their Zanu grandfathers.

Malph: How popular is MRP?

Ncube: Mnangwangwa talks about the party activities in any gathering, be it a funeral or a tree planting event. That is how popular MRP is.

Malph: Finally, what is your message to the people of Mthwakazi?

Ncube: We have suffered enough. Our freedom is in our hands. Let us come together and sing the same tune. We shall overcome. Freedom is coming tomorrow!

Malph: Thank you so much Mr. Ncube for your time and information. I like the fact that you articulate your concerns and issues very well. I hope all the doubters will finally see the way and the truth.

Ncube: Vuka Mthwakazi. Ngiyabonga mina!

-- Mal'phosa

Live from Joburg

Source - Clerk Ndlovu
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.