A GROUP of Zimbabwean separatists, who are based in South Africa, yesterday tried to hijack the commemoration of King Mzilikazi’s death at Mhlahlandlela, 22km south of Bulawayo, Sunday News can reveal.
A brief scuffle occurred when a member of Mthwakazi Republic, a group claiming sovereignty to a traditional state, pushed the master of ceremonies, Enoch Zitha, for trying to stop him from introducing Albert Zwelibanzi Gumede, the leader of the group.
Gumede, a Zimbabwean businessman based in South Africa, was “installed” as Mthwakazi paramount chief at Yeoville Recreation Centre in Johannesburg on 22 March.
Traditionalists later described his installation as “chief” of “Umthwakazi Republic” as a non-event.
The commemorations to mark the 146th anniversary of the death of the founder of the Ndebele nation were also attended by Chief Vezi Maduna, who was the guest of honour; Chief Nyangazonke Ndiweni and delegates from South Africa.
Ironically, Gumede had not been introduced from morning when the ceremony began, but an attempt was made to introduce him at the end of the ceremony in the afternoon, without the blessing of the MC, the two local chiefs and Mthwakazi KaMzilikazi Cultural Association, the organisers of the event.
According to Nguni culture and customs, no one is allowed to speak after the guest of honour has spoken.
“We respect that Gumede graced the event to support us but when he comes here to Zimbabwe he is not a chief. He is supposed to respect the proceedings.
“It was unethical for them (Mthwakazi republic grouping) to announce their own presence instead of following protocol. No one is allowed to talk after the chiefs have spoken,” Chief Ndiweni said.
After Zitha was pushed by Gumede’s “subject”, he was restrained by traditionalists at the high table who let Gumede speak so as to avoid an embarrassing exchange of blows.
Addressing the gathering, Gumede said he attended the event as he was in support of efforts to revive the Ndebele monarch.
The commemorations were attended by hundreds of guests who were taken aback by Gumede’s actions.
Guests, who spoke to Sunday News, said it was wrong for separatists to involve everyone from the Matabeleland region in their treasonous anti-Zimbabwe agenda.
Speaking during his address, Chief Maduna said the commemoration was not exclusive to the royal Khumalo clan but every Zimbabwean because King Mzilikazi was a unifier.
“We should take note that this event is not for Khumalos alone because when King Mzilikazi came here he did not bring the Khumalos alone. He brought people from different groupings together,” Chief Maduna said.
The gathering was entertained by artistes who included Jeys Marabini and Black Umfolosi.
A lot of meat and traditional beer was available.
The commemorations have over the years been attended by King Zwelonke Sigcawu, the 28th king in the Xhosa dynasty and Princess Patricia Zulu, the sister of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, both from South Africa.
King Mzilikazi was born the son of Matshobana near Mkuze, Zululand in 1790 in South Africa.
In 1823 he crossed the Limpopo River during the Umfecane after having a fall-out with Zulu King Tshaka and finally settled in Matabeleland in the 1830s, establishing his capital at Mhlahlandlela. King Mzilikazi died on 5 September 1868 and was buried in a cave at the Matopo Hills.