Charleen Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
WHILE many who were born and bred in Bulawayo have passed through the City Hall many times, only a few have noticed the well behind the imposing City Hall fountain or the aesthetic sculpture chiselled on the building as you enter the City Hall gates.
All these are some of the landmarks that epitomise the IsiNguni culture founded by Langalibalele Gibixhegu Phusisa. The UMzinyathi Crown Land Trust trustees have called for the resuscitation and bestowment of the IsiNguni culture.
“The IsiNguni culture and tradition should be revived and the life of Gibixhegu the last Nguni King celebrated as he fought against the British many centuries ago for his children. Bulawayo is his village where he dug a well for his people at a place where now stands the Bulawayo City Hall.
Most people in Bulawayo have read or heard about Gibixhegu but very few actually noticed that Lobengula, Mzilikazi’s son is actually Langa’s great grandson. Gibixhegu is the last Nguni king who died in the early 1920’s at a very old age and was laid to rest at Mzinyathini Crownland in the Nsezi village.
The most immediate villages that constitute Langa’s palace are Enyokeni, Esikhoveni, eBonjeni, eMbizingwe, eMzinyathini, eMzingwane and eNsezi,” said Thula Dube, a member of the trust.
The trustees of the UMzinyathi Crown Land Trust who recently commemorated the life of Gibixhegu say history will go down the drain unless people are reminded of their traditions and culture.
“Gibixhegu Langalibalele Phusisa is the last king of the 15 Nguni Kingdom dynasties. He is well known as Langa kaNdaba among the people of Southern Africa and was popularly known as Gibixhegu in his Bulawayo village.Gibixhegu is a descendant from the sounding father ‘Lusintu’ the father of the Nguni of the old King Dlodlo Ruins. Some of his sons are Zwide, Matshobana, Sotshangana, Zwangendaba, Mvimbi, Siyatshona and Phahlane,” said Christopher Dube, a member of the organisation.
According to elders of the UMzinyathi Crownland Trust, King Langa is popularly known for his victorious “Impi Yehlokelibomvu” against Britain and its allies.
“He fought at a place called Nsezi under Mzinyathini Crown land. The battle marked its endings at Elahlamkhonto, Esidulwini, and it finally earned Langa the title ‘Phusisa’ since he had successfully stopped the white settlers from freely milking minerals from his motherland.
The war finally resulted in the signing of the Peace Pact between the King and Cecil John Rhodes at the Indaba site in 1896. The event came with the birth of Rhodesia,” said Dube.
The UMzinyathi trustees alluded that Gibixhegu was no ordinary king as he beheld a great and cryptic power.
“The king’s war missiles and ammunition involved lightning, the stubborn drizzling rain, fog and a swarm of bees. He is the king who brought freedom to Africa and also in whose hands the first African political party emerged in 1898,” added Mr Christopher Dube.
Thula Dube, a member of the organisation, said ubuntu from the true Nguni perspective has remained a dream of the African.
“It is a pity that most of our history was written by people who neither could properly pronounce our Nguni words nor understood our language. For example ‘Amakhalanga’ is Silaphalapha by the white man as he was trying to express the term ‘AbakaLanga’ which means Langa’s people. Otherwise there is no such expression as ‘Amakhalanga’ in the Nguni history.”