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Ndebele King Lobengula

Revising the Battle of Gadadi

The history of Zimbabwe writes about Iron Age societies that rose and fell.

Among these states, a distinct Ndebele state showed heroic endurance and statesmanship righteousness up to the last sound of a gun during the colonial wars with BSAC between 1893 and 1897.

History however has not eliminated the Mighty Matabele state. It still shows endurance in the modern day though circumstances have slain the mighty giant. It is a state slain but not dead hence the Mthakwazi people still share common ideas and sentiments of this state of consciousness.

Every year the people of Mthwakazi commemorate various significant events.

One of the major celebrated events is the Gadadi commemoration which is a remembrance of the Battle of the Ndebele state against British colonial agents that is the BSAC of Rhodes. The battle is recorded by many history sources as the Anglo-Ndebele war of 1893-4.

The 2016 commemorations were held on the 5th of November 2016. Among many people who attended were Mqondisi Moyo of Mthwakazi, Khayisa Ndiweni, Chief Gumede, Dr.Guduza of Mthwakazi liberation Front, the former Minister of reconciliation, Mzila Ndlovu.

The center of attraction nevertheless was the attendance of the South African youth led organisation known as Siphesakhe Youth Organization.

Siphesakhe is an organisation that challenges basis of social injustices. Their recent works are very insightful on ethnic issues in Africa.

They recently staged a play based on Gukurahundi, titled Loyiko. The title Loyiko is translated as Fear.

Yanga Mhluzi, Siphesakhe spokesperson and Siphelo Mtshetsha Siphekane director attended the event.

Mhluzi and Mtshetsha kindly expressed their gratitude on the invite. Mhluzi expressed the importance of the visit. He pointed that the commemorations are very relative to their project.

He gave interconnectedness of the Anglo-Ndebele war and the Gukurahundi genocide, “The Mbembesi battle teaches us about the beginning of a divided state.

The workmanship of the Shona Africans and the BSAC mercenaries is clear history that repeated itself in 1982-7.

This division is further and deeply explained by the government`s grand plan of 1979 which continues to divide the Zimbabwe state by pushing the non- Shona cultures to the periphery of state of affairs. ”

The grand plan of 1979 is Zanu PF’s morning policy that aims at dominating the Non-Shona people economically, politically and socially.

Mhluzi’s further comments were based on the effects of the Grand Plan. He said that the grand plan has spread over Southern Africa like a plague.

He added that the Shona monopoly in the social, political and economy has given the tribe chance to explore every opportunity, “Even if the country’s economy declined and need for displacement hit Zimbabwe, many Shona people found themselves with the capacity to travel and produce better documents relative to foreign employment.”

It is even sad that the discriminated tribe move to neighbouring countries with very poor capacity. Many travelled without necessary documents and settled for meagre employment and other dehumanising livelihood activities.”

Mr Mhluzi’s sad expressions came also from his view of the Zimbabwean leader,  President Robert Mugabe.

He pointed out that as a child, he always viewed Zimbabwean’s president as a hero of virtue and truth.

Now at 23 he understands him as a thief of independence.

“He stole the true sense of nationalism and turned it to Shonaism. He took the supposedly Jewel Of Africa and turned it modern Ruins of Africa.”

On the other hand Siphesakhe director, Mr Mtshetsha enlightened the crowd about the youth led organisation.

He reminded the importance of young people in sharping their near future. He emphasised that young people of Africa in general should involve themselves in matters affecting their survival and development.

Their passiveness will never change the conditions of many communities. He gave reference to the manipulation of African youths.

“African young people are always used by shrewd politicians to incite violence or are used as campaign tools during elections. They simple don’t realize their power.

“They have power in number and power in capacity, but still they are just swayed from blunder to blunder by blunderer leaders. Young people should wake up from slumber or else will die as bitter used up old people who never owned themselves.”

Mr.Mtshetsha also gave reference to the Zimbabwean question of reconciliation, “If the Zimbabwean old order does not want to rationally address the Shona-Ndebele issue then what is the stand of the young people? Will they want to also stand in their fathers ‘absurdities and sentence their offspring to similar conditions?”

The 2016 Mthwakazi-Gadadi commemoration was not just a reminder of the demise of the Ndebele state, but is also a reminder of a mighty tribal state that was created by the Mzilikazi and declined in the hands his son Lobengula and his amabutho who gave their best to preserve the freedom and rights of every man.

Zimbabweans should not confuse the commemorations to identity and show off of the Ndebele might. They should understand the celebrations as grief over the death of a united entity which modern leaders of Zimbabwe have failed to revive.

Even oral tradition whispers historic unity,’kudala kwakunganje umhlaba uyaphenduka.Kwakubusa UMambo loMzilikazi. ` (History has changed. We used to be led By Mzilikazi and Mambo). Siphesakhe`s visit should be inspiration enough for young people of Zimbabwe to break negative doctrines of division and relive the concept of unity of uMthwakazi.

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