CONCERNED MTHWAKAZI COMMUNITY, SEEKS THE RESTORATION OF IDENTITY
Nelson Mandela Avenue
PO Box CY 298 Causeway
Tel.....+263-(0) 4-70018/9 700180;252936-55
RE: CONCERNED MTHWAKAZI COMMUNITY, SEEKS THE RESTORATION OF IDENTITY
As the Mthwakazians, the Ndebele community. We summoned Mr Phelekezela Mphoko to deliver this petition to the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
After the arrest of cultural activists Miss Prudence Moyo and Mr Albert Zwelibanzi Gumede at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport on the 22nd of December 2013, we felt the need to fully define Mthwakazi for you.
Enclosed are: The Inter-Cultural Society, The Economic, Social and Cultural Development of Mthwakazi before the Conquest.
The Ethics of Mthwakazi, Social System, and The Economy: Crop Farming: Agricultural Scenario, Food Security, The Mining Industry and The Religion of Mthwakazi, Academic Education and The Flag of Mthwakazi amongst others.
As a proud Mthwakazian nation, we would like to deeply express our concerns, explain our existence and clarify as well as justify our identity. We are a nation, not only that, but a nation which seeks the autonomy to practice its rights and freedom. It is nothing new that Mthwakazi exists but we are seeing our people being targeted, questioned and interrogated for mentioning their identity and or even wearing t-shirts with the name Mthwakazi. We hereby seek to make clarity to the government of Zimbabwe that we are not a political organisation or any organisation of such sort, therefore we kindly ask the government to honour and respect our cultural and other related practices. All that we are upto is the restoration of the Ndebele cultures and norms.
We understand that it is our right to practice our culture. We have seen the deterioration of our values therefore we seek to alleviate the situation. We cannot shy away from the fact that there might be some political parties that bear the name Mthwakazi, but let it be clear to the government from today that not all of us are in that political stand, lest the nation of Zimbabwe and its security structures be oblivious of the nature of Mthwakazi. We are asking that we be respected and not threatened, should we be practicing our cultures and or restoring them.
We are a people that abide by the rules, should they be practiced in a fair and accommodative manner. We will continue wearing our T-shirts and the traditional attire made of hide and clothes, as is our right. That we carry clubs and knobkerries does not narrate that we are a violent people. May the government obey the practices of our culture! We would like to make frank and loud our cry as well as to emphasise and prove that the nation of Mthwakazi exist comprising of at least 15 multi-cultural backgrounds. Below are the clean laments to the existence of Mthwakazi:
THE WORD MTHWAKAZI
This word Mthwakazi was derived from the name of Queen Mu-Thwa, the first ruler of the Mthwakazi territory who ruled around 7,000 years ago. She was the matriarch of the Aba-Thwa, the San people who were derogatively called the Bushmen by the British conquerors. The deposed Nation of Mthwakazi is a land between Limpopo and Zambezi Rivers in Southern Africa which was derogatorily called Matabeleleland by the British conquerors.
The Homeland of the Inter-Cultural Society of Mthwakazi The territory of Mthwakazi was evolved through both geographical and historical factors:
Geographically, Mthwakazi is a drought prone country east of the Kalahari Desert, which is characterized by erratic rainfall which made it unfavourable for settlement to the pre-colonial communal societies of Southern Africa. Long ago it was mainly used for south and north migration between Southern Africa and Central Africa. However for the post-industrial revolution society, it is a wonderful treasure of natural resources ranging from minerals, wildlife game, timber forests, grasslands and tourist resources. It is a spacious land without overpopulation.
Historically, the homeland was a sanctuary for the overwhelmed and peripheral clicks and clans from the adjacent per-colonial Kingdoms of Southern Africa. Aba-Thwa, the San people are the earliest inhabitants of the land, and then from the north came the Tonga people, from the west the Tswana, from the south the Venda, Sotho, the Nguni, and from the east the Karanga of Mthwakazi to integrate with Aba-Thwa, hence the creation of the Inter-Cultural Society of Mthwakazi.
The Territorial Status of Mthwakazi
Before the conquest of Mthwakazi by the British South Africa Company on 3rdNovember 1893, the territory was an independent Kingdom whose territorial integrity was governed by the treaties with the Transvaal and England the two states which shared the four common borders with the Kingdom of Mthwakazi. The boundaries conform to the Berlin Conference Agreement of 1885 as ratified by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, consequently the United Nations in 1945.
The Treaty of Friendship with Transvaal (1887)
In July 1887, Mthwakazi and Transvaal made the Treaty of Friendship with Transvaal signed by King Lobhengula, the head of state of the Kingdom of Mthwakazi and Pieter Grobbler on behalf of Paul Kruger the Prime Minister of Transvaal. Its terms of reference of this Treaty included the agreement of Limpopo River as the boundary between the two countries.
The Moffat Treaty of Peace and Unity of 1888
On 11 February 1888, King Lobhengula and the British assistant commissioner for the Bechuanaland Protectorate, Reverent John Moffat on behalf of Sir Hercules Robinson the High Commissioner and Governor of the Cape, signed the Treaty of Peace and Unity between the ‘Great Queen of England’ and the ‘Mighty Elephant of Mthwakazi’. Lord Salisbury the British Prime Minister gave Robinson the authority to ratify the treaty on 25 June 1888. In this Moffat Treaty, Britain agreed on Zambezi River as the boundary of its protectorate Barotseland, and Shashi Ramaquabane Rivers as the boundary of its protectorate, .Bechuanaland (Botswana)
The Inter-Cultural Society of Mthwakazi
The people of Mthwakazi are an Inter-Cultural Society made of 15 multi-ethnic nationalities. They are the product of evolutionary emigration, colonial expansion and intermarriages. Basically they fall under five categories: the per-colonial black inhabitants, the European emigrants, the Asian emigrants, the black emigrants from the neighbouring states and the coloured people. This diverse community of fifteen multi-ethnic nationalities, in the alphabetical order are: Aba-Thwa – San or Basarwa, Asians, Black emigrants, Coloureds, Kalanga, Karanga of Mthwakazi, Nambya, Nguni, Shangwe, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, White African and Xhosa.
The Economic, Social and Cultural Development of Mthwakazi before the Conquest
The Ethics of Mthwakazi
Basically the ethics of Mthwakazi are interwoven with the culture of egalitarianism and realism. The basis of the ethics is the truth, righteousness and morality. Laws and agreements were sealed by verbal promises. The norm was that promises are binding and it is taboo to break a promise. According to the traditional belief of Mthwakazi, all elders are messengers of angels. And when elders die they become the angels of God through whom the living people convey their prayers to God. These angels of God are aware of everything that happens around us and they appease God to deprive some blessings to those who venture in taboo activities. Desisting from taboo dealing was culturally in the blood of the compassionate Mthwakazi society.
It is from this stand point that strangers mistaken our modest and honesty for cowardice and weaknesses. This tendency of strangers features throughout in the history of our interaction with the British and the Zimbabweans. Almost all our fundamental agreements with them, fail because they break promises, cheat and trap us in canning spirits, and fail to realize that we are a simple, natural and faithful society.
Social System of Mthwakazi
The Kingdom of Mthwakazi was an egalitarian society practicing a communal social system of living under a democratic monarch through the guidance of the elders’ wisdom. All decisions were reached through universal participation in open assemblies which started at communal levels being presided over by village heads, whose decisions were channelled to the district levels under chiefs who fell under the king, who was the custodian of the communal assets.
The king was guided by the cultural morality that: “A human being exists because of the society. Therefore a king exists for the society” At all these social levels, open debates determined the outcome of all the matters through the consensus of the respective assemblies. These community conducted open debates and reached consensus, and made moral laws that were complied with voluntarily by all members of the society, even if there were no police or prisons to enforce the laws.
The Economic Mode
The land, natural resources and the cattle were regarded as the communal assets, while goats, sheep and poultry were domestic assets. The land was considered to belong to God and that He made it his gift to all the living creatures. There was division of labour according sex and age. Men were apportioned outdoor duties and drudgerous labour including the defence of the society while women did indoor duties and crop field work. Grown up boys looked after the grazing live stock and assisted their fathers in light duties, while girls looked after babies and assisted their mothers with light duties.
Major tasks were accomplished through work parties where a family with a big task would organize a work party in which neighbours would come in large numbers to work and feast after the work. The elderly were mainly responsible for the education and advice of the community. The tiny tots played games and learn t languages, culture, music, dance, wisdom and light work. Generally education went with work; the society socialized the off-spring through practical work as they grew. The people learnt to do things that helped them in life and there was no unemployment. The golden rule was: “The lazy one eats laziness”.
The Economy of Mthwakazi
Mthwakazi cultivated a wide variety of crops including corns, nuts, beans, vegetable, fruits, potatoes, melons, pumpkins, yams and tobacco. The white settlers were surprised and jealous about the economy of Mthwakazi and applied for living permits in great numbers.
The Missionary between 1859 and 1870 Rev T.M. Thomas wrote glowingly of: Gardens full of ripe maize, and various indigenous grains, of extensive fields of Indian corn and other cereals and of some valleys converted into the most fruitful gardens. In some areas cotton was grown from which Africans made durable garments, and that he knew of no village without tobacco garden. This was confirmed by Wilson the concession hunter who wrote in October 1887 about the African farming that: There is more stuff in the place, in the shape of cattle, sheep, goats, eggs, potatoes, rice, groundnuts, Indian corn and millet, poultry by the dozens, and milk and beer which the natives bring round to the white men’s wagons to sale.
In addition to their farming skills, Mthwakazi had advanced indigenous storage techniques. One looting white settler described one of King Lobhengula’ s granary which was discovered when the Bulawayo railway station was being constructed saying that: Mthwakazi had underground granaries which were disguised, water and air tight , in which corn was preserved for many years. Mthwakazi stored up food enough to keep themselves active during the years of scarcity. The looter estimated that each granary held thirty 200 pounds bags (one pound is equals to 0.454kg Almost ½ a kg).
The Mining Industry of Mthwakazi
The Kingdom operated a flouring gold mining industry which was managed by James Dawson a white immigrant who was appointed as the King’s industrial advisor in 1884. Dawson made a number of gold claims for the Kingdom stretching from the west of Mfuli River. Some of the Kingdom’s mines had a five stamp-battery for crushing stones, before the invasion of Mthwakazi in 1893. One of the Kingdom’s stamp mill was sold by the BSA Co. to the pioneers in 1904. One remained in use until 1919.
The Occupations and Regional Trade of Mthwakazi
Mthwakazi was involved in a good deal of regional trade. There was a market for the thriving tobacco of Nyoka people in Gogwe at the Zambezi Valley, the Ngwato people in Botswana traded in grain, the Lemba people near Gaza land traded in copper and the San people from the Kalahari exchanged iron, spears, hoes and knives for ostrich-eggs, shell beads, ivory, feathers, horns and skins.
The Immigration Policy and Hospitality of Mthwakazi
The Kingdom of Mthwakazi had a friendly policy of immigration. It pursued lucrative free trade and agriculture. Encouraged by the peace and good order in the Kingdom and by the warm hospitality, white men from the south and the east came to Mthwakazi in increasing numbers. In 1872 the Kingdom granted the first hunting permit to European emigrant Frank Selous followed by. Hartley, Finaughty, Leask including dozens of Afrikaners who were also granted hunting permits. Another immigrant, Johnny Ugly got the first permit for an engineering workshop. James Fairburn was issued with a trading store permit, with his partner Jimmy Dawson. Fairburn was later employed as the immigration advisor in issues of the integrity of the incoming white settlers. He also designed the Royal seal and the Kingdom’s flag. Jimmy Dawson was employed as the General Manager of the Royal Mines. Missionaries came in large numbers to build schools and preach Christianity. The friendly hospitality of Mthwakazi also attracted the colonialists.
The Religion of Mthwakazi
Religiously all the Africans believed in communicating with the creator through ancestral spirits. The African belief was that God was unknowable to the living people, and was neither a male nor female, did punished sinner while they were still alive and gave blessings on earth to those who desist from taboo activities. Hence Africans feared anything that is taboo.
The Social Security of Mthwakazi
The social security of Mthwakazi was based on humanity and a belief that: “A human being exists because of the society. He who does not own cattle will drink milk from the society”. Compassion was in the centre of socialization of children. From childhood people learnt that causing misery was taboo. All the unfair things were classified as being taboo and fellowship started from kinship to the national level. The foundation of the social system of Mthwakazi was the extended family which formed the support system of the society in all walks of life. The support system in extended families had no limit. It stemmed from the axiom of fellowship that; “Everyone in the peer group of one’s father is a father, in one’s mother is a mother, like wise to one’s brother and sister: therefore every man is a partner and a friend” Extended families supported each other in both difficult times during bereavement and disasters and during times of joy, when people came together in weddings and birthdays etc. to share memorable occasions.
The vulnerable people were assisted obligatory. Families without children were given children by those with many. E.g. someone without a boy child adopted a boy from another member of the extended family and the one without a girl child did so. In such adoptions the child was treated with full parent love as if it was their own and had right of inheritance within that family. It was the same for a widow who needed help with outdoor duties; the extended family would have special days devoted to the work of such a widow, so on and so forth. That applied to stranded travellers who were accorded full hospitality including provision for food to eat on his way. This system of social system effectively reduced the crime rate in the Kingdom and consolidated the spirit of fellowship.
In 1829, King Mzilikazi sent two Envoys to the London Missionary Society at Kurumani in South Africa, to negotiate a contract of building schools to teach the Mthwakazi children academic education. In 1858 the first school for the Kingdom called Inyathi Boys School was built, the second school, Hope Fountain Girls School was commissioned by King Lobhengula in 1875, he commissioned a third school built by the Roman Catholic called Empandeni Mission in 1887.
The Flag of Mthwakazi
The Flag of Mthwakazi was a rectangle white cloth with a black elephant at the right hand bottom corner overlooking the rainbow at the left hand top corner of the white cloth. (The flag was designed in 1888 for the use by the Royal Navy which was supposed to patrol the Zambezi River flying it high like the King Leopold’s patrol boat in the Congo River but was never used because the contract of delivering the gun boat was breached by the BSA Co. The Naval Base of the Kingdom was designated to be located at the confluence of Deka and Zambezi Rivers. The patrol boat would have made the Zambezi River border patrol, starting from near the rainbow of Mansotunya i.e. Victoria Falls going to the east up to Sanyati River where it would return floating towards the everlasting rainbow).
This was our free Nation of Mthwakazi, characterized with fraternity, tranquillity and hospitality. All the birthright of Mthwakazi was lost through the conquest on 3 November 1893, and since that day the Inter-Cultural Society of Mthwakazi has never experienced fundamental freedoms, human rights and self-determination. The society has perpetually toiled and moiled under the “Rule by Conquest”. It is now 118 years. This is the era of experiencing endless torture, various cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments under the 93 years sentence of being a stateless society without franchise, by the British highest court of law, the Privy Council. This court judgment of 29 July 1918 is still effective today, rendering us to remain under the “Rule by Conquest” in violation of the United Nations Charter and its principles.
We take this opportunity to highlight and expose the dangers of ignoring locals in various government institutes. The worst thing you can do to every individual is spelling his or her name and surname badly, there is no surname like Ndhlovu amongst Mthwakazians, no names like Sipatisiwe! It ought to be Ndlovu and Siphathisiwe. Tantamount to the fate when you ask us to write Masvingo and we write Maswingo.
We have streets and locations misspelt as: Lobengula, Pumula etc, when they are supposed to be Phumula and Lobhengula. Places misspelt as Kezi instead of Khezi, Tjolotjo instead of Tsholotsho etc.
Page 3 heading in our passports reads: ‘IMITHETHO YOKUPIWA KWEPASIPOTI.’ In Ndebele that has to be atleast written as follows; ( IMITHETHO YOKUPHIWA KWEPHASIPOTI )
In Page 48 we quote: ‘Akuvhunyelwa ukubhala epejini le ngaphandle kwamaBhanga eZimbabwe afanele afake isidhindo duzane kwaloko okubhaliweyo.’ It should have been: ‘Akuvunyelwa ukubhala ekhasini leli ngaphandle kwamabhanga eZimbabwe afanele afake isidindo duzane kwalokho okubhaliweyo’
There is nothing called ‘ukupiwa, akuvhunyelwa, isidhindo and kwaloko’ in Ndebele.
We are looking forward to your response to this letter; your co-operation will be highly appreciated. The Ndebele community also expects a response from you regarding the ZIMSEC 2013 Grade 7 Ndebele Paper because we expect you to do more in preserving the Ndebele language which is the main identity of our culture.
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