JOHANNESBURG – A Zimbabwean delegation recently returned from a South African royal wedding in high hopes of stronger ties between the people of Matabeleland and their South African counterparts.
The traditional ceremony in which South Africa’s 58-year-old Ndebele King Makhosonke Mabena II married 26-year-old Princess Sekhothali Seeiso, niece of Lesotho’s King Letsie III, was held at Engwenyameni Royal Palace near Kwa-Mhlanga in Mpumalanga, South Africa Saturday.
The Zimbabwean delegation, which numbered dozens, included Zimbabwe Communist Party General-Secretary Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena, who is also a member of the Mabena clan, Mthwakazi Chief in South Africa – Chief Thulani Mgoqo Jubane, Zimbabwean businessman Danisa Zulu and Matabeleland’s King Collins Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo, among other notable figures.
The delegation’s invitation was part of an all-inclusive approach towards uniting members of the Mabena clan, who are strewn all over Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe. Members of the clan were all welcomed as royal family members and were each allowed to invite their friends to the ceremony.
Ngqabutho Mabena told African Voice Global this week that the recognition of Mabenas elsewhere would help further strengthen ties between clan members in Zimbabwe and their South African counterparts.
“As Mabenas in Zimbabwe, we still pay our allegiance to the Ndebele King in South Africa, who is also part of our family and that is how we were invited to the royal wedding,” said Mr Mabhena.
“I believe such interactions will help us engage, exchange cultural views and practices, teach one another, learn from one another, grow one another and make us stronger together as Africans.
“It should be noted that while living in Zimbabwe, we have become members of the Mthwakazi family and the fact that we have not decided to pursue the Mabena kingdom back home, while also not coming back to reclaim our land and heritage in South Africa means we are still pledging our allegiance to King Makhosonke.”
There is however, a difference between Zimbabwean Ndebeles and their South African counterparts in terms of language, traditional dress and culture, with Zimbabwean Ndebeles – the people of Mthwakazi, having a Zulu leaning in that regard. Mr Mabhena said this made more interactions between members of his clan in Zimbabwe and South Africa even more worthwhile for cultural synchronization.
Chief Jubane, who praised the royal family for the splendid manner in which they were treated, expressed hope that similar invitations, recognition and unity would become commonplace between the people of Mthwakazi and their sister clans elsewhere in Africa, especially South Africa, where stronger cultural roots remain.
“We were treated like members of the royal household and we felt really at home as the people of Mthwakazi. The wedding was well-organised and guests were treated with maximum care and recognition,” said Chief Jubane.
“Our hope is that similar recognition will be extended to Mthwakazi people in our other fraternal cultural nations and vice-versa. We really need this kind of unity as Africans in order to know and understand one another better, grow one another and resolve unnecessary conflicts among ourselves as black people. I would really like to express Mthwakazi’s gratitude to King Makhosonke II, members of the royal family, the Mabena clan at large and South Africans as a whole for the way we were treated at the wedding and the way Mthwakazi people have been welcomed in South generally.”