The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday News Reporter
THE late Chief Khayisa Ndiweni’s eldest son, Mr Joram Thambo Ndiweni, yesterday told village heads in Ntabazinduna that he is now rebuilding his family’s derelict homestead with the intention of resettling and ultimately taking over the chieftainship.
As he was absent from a tense meeting convened for village heads, the United Kingdom-based Mr Ndiweni spoke to local leaders through a phone that was connected to a public address system at Ntabazinduna Council Hall.
The meeting came at a time when Mr Ndiweni is at odds with a Mr Masuka of Jabulani, over his alleged desecration of the grave of Mrs Agnes Masuku Ndiweni, the widow of the late Chief Khayisa in February 2022.
Mrs Ndiweni passed away in 2020.
The Ndiweni chieftainship is under dispute after Mr Ndiweni contested the coronation of his younger brother, Mr Nhlanhlayamangwe Felix Ndiweni in 2019.
Felix, the second-born son of the late Chief Khayisa, was later deposed as chief after his ascendency was said to be against Nguni custom.
Speaking during a meeting where village heads acknowledged Mr Joram Ndiweni as their leader, but expressed unease at getting involved in the chieftainship dispute, the UK-based traditional leader said he was now readying himself for a return to Zimbabwe, although he said broaching the subject of when he would come back was contrary to tradition.
“To speak about my return is something that is taboo. I am a child of a family like everyone else and I am working for my family like everyone else.I will come when the time is right. Our people say that if you have never led your own home, how can you lead the people? My reply to that is that these are matters of tradition and I am going to resolve the issues bedevilling my family and I am close to doing so. You see my sister’s son already rebuilding our home and it should show you that I’m close to coming back home,” he said.
Mr Ndiweni said his return had been delayed by the derelict state of the Ndiweni family home, which he was now renovating.
“I shall come back and be with my people and I will plant crops as they do. Our home was crumbling, the ceiling was falling and the people there were just staying there as it was.
I had to start from the bottom again. It is important for people to recognise that if the Ndiweni home perishes, so does the rest of Ntabazinduna.
This is because that was a home for everyone and when people were hungry, they knew they could always knock on our door.
I want it to be that way again because the Ndiweni home should not be a homestead where only a certain clique of people is welcome,” he said.
Mr Ndiweni also alleged that due to the actions of Mr Masuka, the Ndiweni estate was now in dispute, as a Will had been crafted without traditional processes being taken into consideration.
“My mother passed away but she did not pass away in her homestead, instead she passed away while staying in Matsheumhlope (Bulawayo).
This in itself was something that was taboo to our family. The man who was there was Masuka and they ended up drafting a thing called a Will, something which is Western but alien to us.
This was done intentionally and it is a bad thing. Now we have to fight for our birthright, all because of a war started by Masuka.
Villagers and leaders should reprimand him because as people of Ntabazinduna and the Ndebele people we have our own culture that should be followed.
As my village heads, I give you the right to reprimand people. What we see being done now in our name should never happen again,” he said.
Mr Ndiweni said his plan was to work hand-in-glove with the Government, while those that wanted to throw away Nguni traditions away for their own gain should be evicted from Ntabazinduna.
“A home does not die; a culture also does not die and culture does not migrate to England. I am in England right now all because of my ties to Ntabazinduna.
The white people here respect me and when they speak, they say I am refined. I am proud of that fact. So, I tell you as headmen to be proud of the heritage that your parents left you.
“I am not a ruler but we are leading this area as men together. I have to sit down with everyone and we map a common vision together.
That’s how my father did it and that’s how I want to handle things as well.
“Whoever, says they are too educated and they don’t want to follow tradition should leave this place and find somewhere else where they can do as they please regardless of what the norms of the area dictate,” he said.
Mr Ndiweni said that Headman Mathilika should be in charge of affairs pertaining to the area under his care until his return.
“Mathilika is here to handle all the affairs of the chieftainship on my behalf and should there be anything that is beyond his powers, he can contact me and we see how we can resolve it.
We are going to deliberate very soon with the Government so that his title and duties are officially recognised and he gets what is due to a person of his position.
I have heard all of Mathilika’s grievances and this is something that I will sort out in due time,” he said.