Bulilima villagers in Matabeleland South have called on government to install Kalanga chiefs for them. Bulilima district has five chiefs-Masendu, Madlambudzi, Mphini, Kandana and Sithole, and three of them are Ndebeles.
Silandilizwe Masendu told Radio Dialogue that having Ndebele chiefs for Kalanga people erodes the cultural values of the Kalangas.
He said the Kalangas were deprived of their traditional leadership during the period of colonisation.
“The presence of non-Kalanga chiefs in the Kalanga political sphere has led to the distortion of not only the Kalanga culture but even the language as well,” said Masendu.
Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu, a Kalanga descendant concurred that installation of pure Kalanga chiefs will help revive Kalanga cultures.
“I suggest that Ndebele chiefs should be given their own chiefdoms outside the area bounded by the BuKalanga Nation,” said Ndlovu. “As for those who are still chiefs at the moment, I propose that once they die they should be replaced by Kalanga ones to create a platform for the revival of the BaKalanga custom.”
Emmanuel Ndzimu-Unami Moyo, a Kalanga writer and researcher of the BuKalanga history said they want Kalanga chiefs for the continuity of the Kalanga clan.
“It’s so disappointing to find out that children of Kalanga descent find no confidence in expressing themselves in Kalanga,” said Moyo. “I even criticise the common view that in order for one to succeed he or she should lose their culture and master another first, say become a Ndebele or so; I am strongly against it.”