Mzilikazi Day is commemorated on September 9, with celebrations in Zimbabwe, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. The tone of hostility between the two groups was set in the run up to last week’s commemoration, when uMthwakazi kaMzilikazi Cultural Association ran advertisements claiming that it was hosting the only “real” celebrations, with other commemorations being described as fake.
A descendant of Mzilikazi, Peter Zwide kaLanga Khumalo, last week said as far as he was concerned, the legitimate commemorations of the late Ndebele monarch had passed and he was not aware of any other.
“I do not know about any other celebrations, I have not been invited,” he said. “As far as I am concerned, the next celebrations will be held next year.”
Khumalo said for any celebrations to be held, the family had to perform rites and since the Khumalo family was not part of these celebrations, they lacked legitimacy.
He said the family was not aware of the new celebrations being marked by the Institute of Ubuntu and would not interfere with them. The Khumalo family has in the past been accused of trying to monopolise King Mzilikazi’s legacy.
Critics claim that while Mzilikazi was a Khumalo, he was king of a diverse group of people and no one has the right to monopolise his legacy.
On the other hand, the Institute of Ubuntu has been accused of being hijacked by people from Zanu PF who fund the organisation for their own selfish political ends.
“We are a non-partisan group, and we accept anyone regardless of where he comes from,” Vimba Masuku, of the Institute of Ubuntu, shot back. He said they would accept the help of anyone, but neither confirmed nor denied that there was funding from Zanu PF.
Regarding the apparent snub by the Khumalo family, Masuku said they did not need to beg anyone for their commemorations to go ahead. “We do not need to beg anybody for us to operate in the country, we are a registered organisation and we can operate freely,” he said.
“This is about the heritage of uMthwakazi and I cannot comment on an individual’s motive.” Masuku said they had spoken to elders in the Khumalo clan and these had agreed that the family and the institute should complement each other.
CONT MHLANGA BLAMES THE TUSSLE
Prominent playwright, Cont Mhlanga raised disquiet on the evident infighting within the two groups, arguing that none owned the legacy of King Mzilikazi.
“The organisations that are currently organising the Mzilikazi commemorations in whatever form and venue locally or internationally, should stop focusing on who has the right to organise the not ‘fake’ or ‘true’ event, but to focus on competing to give the public the best Mzilikazi celebration,” he wrote in a local daily.
Mzilikazi Day commemorations began in the year 2000 and are held at Mhlahlandlela on the outskirts of Bulawayo.