President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been criticised for purportedly celebrating Matabeleland’s cultural diversity and heritage while at the same time his government has blocked the revival of the Ndebele kingdom.
Mnangagwa officially opened the Bulawayo Arts Festival last week where he urged Bulawayo Metropolitan province and the greater Matabeleland province to continue to take a keen interest in their culture and heritage.
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ZAPU spokesperson Iphuthile Maphosa scoffed at Mnangagwa’s calls arguing that the Ndebele kingdom is part and parcel of the Ndebele people’s cultural heritage. Said Maphosa:
The mystery is how Mnangagwa isn’t ashamed of dragging the full contingent of the government to Bulawayo to witness the cultural festival of the same people for whom he refused the revival of the Ndebele monarchy and blocked the coronation of the heir to its throne.
Advocates pushing for the revival of the Ndebele monarchy argue the coronation of their king is a simple way of celebrating their culture and heritage.
They also argue that the matter does not need a constitutional provision as it is a purely traditional matter.
Lobengula was the last Ndebele king after a British Pioneer Column led by Cecil John Rhodes destroyed the Kingdom in 1893.
South African-based Bulelani Collins Khumalo and Stanley Raphael Khumalo are claimants to the Ndebele throne.
Incidentally, the government in 2020 allowed the coronation of the Mambo Dynasty in Mawabeni, Matabeleland South.
The Lozwi clan installed Mike Moyo as King of the Mambo Dynasty in a bid to revive their kingship.