Re: MUGABE THE LIBERATOR? ASK THE NDEBELE PEOPLE.
Posted By: Masimba Musodza In Response To: Re: MUGABE THE LIBERATOR? ASK THE NDEBELE PEOPLE. (Prince Burridge)
Date: Wednesday, 20 October 2004, at 8:47 a.m.
In Response To: Re: MUGABE THE LIBERATOR? ASK THE NDEBELE PEOPLE. (Prince Burridge)
The Genocide aside, relations between Ndeble and Shona are generally good. There is intermarriage, and most people consider themselves as belonging to either of the two solely on the basis of the langauge they speak at home.
The Shona people themselves are made up of different people. We have Zezuru, Manyika, Korekore, Nhowe, Buja etc. We also have other people in Zimbabwe like the Kalanga, the San, Sotho etc.
The original Ndebele are the Khumalo clan. I met a girl here on the bus and recognised her straight away from the resemblance to the portrait of King Lobengula we had in our text books at school. She turned out to be a descendant of that great King.
The Khumalos fled the Zulu empire ,after thier King Mzilikhazi had a dispute with Emperor Tshaka over tribute. They fled because it was feared that Tshaka was not averse to wiping out a whole nation to stress a point- that noone f***s with Tshaka.
On their wanderings, they imposed the Zulu style of nation building- absorbing people who then considered themselves members of the Ndebele nation. It was the Sotho and Tswana people they met along the way who gave the name MATEBELE, meaning THEY WITH THE SHIELDS, in reference to the huge Zulu shields. They liked the name, and bastardised it to Ama-Ndebele.
When they entered what is now Zimbabwe, they found the remains of the Rozvi empire, and occupied a part of it. Again, they absorbed locals and created the new State. It was they who many scholars believe gave us the name SHONA, from ETSHONALANGA meaning WHERE THE SUN SETS. Thus, when the British moved in, they encountered the Ndebele first, and so also came to describe the people who knew themselves as Zezuru, Korekore, Hera etc as SHONA. Indeed, when I was at the National Archives in Harare, and among my own books, the only reference to a people called Shona concur with the advent of the British in the late 1800s.
So there you have it, it was the British who invented tribalism in Zimbabwe. It is my view that anyone practising it, or full of it in is head is in fact playing to the British tribalist script.
When Zimbabwean nationalist Herbert Chitepo was assassinated in Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda's governmenet investigated. They uncovered tribalism within the ranks of ZANU- Chitepo was a Manyika, and the feeling among some was that he was therefore unfit to lead an independent Zimbabwe. Nkomo also had the same problem, despite being the foremost nationalist. As did Sithole, who was a Ndau. Kaunda in disgust then expelled the movement, who then set up shop in Mozambique. The report is banned in Zimbabwe, but in 1990, I stumbled accross a copy among a teacher's things. I was so shocked, I have never really talked about it.
The point in all this is that Ndebeles and Shonas are all Zimbabweans. We get along well, thank you very much, and have a lot to teach other multi-ethnic nations.
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