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This & that with Mal'phosa: Will the real Ndebele please stand up

29 Dec 2022 at 11:13hrs | Views
There has been a lot of talk about the resorgimento of the Ndebele Kingdom and crowning of the King himself. We have had so many pretenders to the throne, all claiming to be the rightful heirs or Princes. Even the descendants of the last Ndebele king, Lobengula, are confused.
What does it take to be a Ndebele King? Does one have to take up spears and shields, and recruit a few willing men to fight for him? This is how our kingdom was made, originally. Can Malphosa still use this method too, to ascend to the throne? Mzilikazi did not form this nation as a social club - flighting pamphlets or shouting from the top of the mountains, soliciting membership, and asking for joining fees and subsctriptions. He did not have a receipt book or register wherein membership was recorded. "UMthwakazi wakhiwa ngamandla - - -" so goes our national anthem.

But, liyini iNdebele vele. I believe ubuNdebele should be a way of life, and not just blood. Nor can it be bought. How many of us claim to be Ndebele, yet we are ashamed of the Ndebele ways. Others have gone a step further, and abhor being called Ndebele. Those of us who are still content to be called Ndebele, speak other languages and eat foreign foods like rats and ants and pizza and sushi? We strut about in foreign attire, and pride ourselves over foreign traditions.
How many of us still follow the Ndebele religion, strictly? Abanengi sebabalekela emasontweni, and continue to call ukuthethela lokubuyisa, imikhuba yamadimoni, yet they call themselves Ndebele. Is it because Christianity is easy - you only need your mouth and your knees and  your Bible to connect with God. But no, it is not esay too -
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone to enter the kingdom of heaven."

What about our own Ndebele diet? Are there any homes where amahewu ayaphuzwa, instead of soft western drinks? Are there any homes where amaqebelengwana are eaten daily?

Do young men still ask for our daughters' hands in marriage, or sebethatha nje as if picking izinhlwa?
What do we wear as Ndebele? Our own attire has been relegated to once-a year garments that are meaningless and, to some, embarrassing. Some Ndebele will even ridicule you for putting on ibhetshu, or for ukuklekla.

How should we moan our dead? What we see now at funerals is so foreign it's shocking. We get there, shake hands with everyone present, and dance our bums off. Is it how we should pay our last respects to our departed. Is it the way of our ancestors?

And, how do our widows moan their departed husbands? Umuntu uyagula - the wife takes her makhwepheni to visit the man in hospital. A week after the father of her children is interred, the makhwapheni unashamadely moves in. May the tortured souls of our bakhwanyana rest in eternal peace.

Ndebele women were submissive, subservient, industrious and loyal. They always had iqhiye or umgaxo as a sign of ukuhlonipha umhlaba. It was a sign of respect also to the inlaws. Umalukazana akahambi ngekhanda. With the advent of make up and hair-dos, iqhiye is a thing of the past. Any woman who wears it is scoffed at and ridiculed.  Manje sizwa ngabo emzini yabo baba. Ubeka ishumi yena abeke impondo.
Sisabikwa nje isisu, sicolwe, or sesibona ngabantwana nje? I overheard one clever girl - ngeke ngiye ekhaya ngingelamntwana mina. Just like that.
Ubu Ndebele has sunk so low it shall take unprecendented will, leadership, fight, strength and long years to revive. But we do not care. We are happy to hide behind other peoples' ways, enmasse. Meanwhile our own are in intensive care, and continue to bleed profusely. Kwembulwa kwembeswe.
Soon, our language shall be dead as a dodo. Nowadays we visit ubuNdebele. Kuyathethelwa, asazi kwenziwa njani. We are all the blind leading the blind. "Kenje kukhafulwa kangaki? Ngikhulume ngithini bafana?" Kuyangcwatshwa, kenje ingubo le enjethwe yisidumbu, inikwa isalukazi. Kuyahlizwa, kenje ingqina yileli eliduze kwesibindi?  Kuyashadwa, umkhwenyana ushaya isikokotsha phambi kukamamazala kuze kudabuke ibrugwe.

In short, we have become a nation of unparalleled insignificance.
Ngiyabonga mina!

Source - Clerk Ndlovu
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