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Diverse nations converge at Komjekejeke Heritage site to celebrate King Silamba

by Stella Sigcau

19 March 2020

Nations from various parts of Africa were represented during the 40th commemoration of King Silamba at Komjekejeke Heritage Site on 7 March 2020 including the DRC, Lesotho where Her Majesty Queen Sekhothami of amaNdebele comes from, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as from various parts of South Africa including the Vhenda, Mpondo, Pedi and Xhosa Kingdoms.

Guests were entertained with Ndebele music, praise poetry and dances. It was a cultural celebration which included cultural diversity.  There were artists from various kingdoms who shared their cultures with the Ndebele people, notably singer and guitarist Csana from the Mpondo Kingdom who entertained the estimated 20,000 strong crowd with her music and Xhosa poet Jessica Mbangeni who has performed on international stages including in the USA, Scotland, India and various parts of Africa to mention a few. She has just returned from participating in the Bob Marley celebrations in Jamaica to attend this historic event and shared her craft with the Ndebele people. Ndebele cuisine, arts and craft were also promoted boosting the local economy as well as cultural tourism.

His Majesty King Makhosonke Mabhena in his speech emphasized the importance of preservation of the Ndebele language as an integral part of cultural identity. He informed that the Universities of Vhenda and Mpumalanga have agreed to partner with the Kingdom in promotion of the language. These words were also echoed by Prof Thoko Mayekiso who is the vice chancellor of the University of Mpumalanga. His Majesty also expressed the importance of land to the Ndebele Kingdom and that it was important for the land that was taken from the Ndebele people during the colonial and apartheid eras to be returned to amaNdebele.

Land is one of the thorny and critical issues in SA and is imperative to rural communities and communal life; to economy in the rural areas and to traditional leadership. A lot of Kings and Chiefs made big sacrifices with others dying defending their lands against colonial rule and laws imposed. King Silamba was also one of the instrumental Kings in this regard. His majesty concluded by emphasising the importance of unity within the Ndebele Kingdom, unity between traditional leaders of South Africa and those of the African continent. This event thus illustrated that unity as it was attended by diverse cultures and nations from within South Africa and the broader African continent. It also illustrated the importance of cultures coming together through these events to share and exchange, breaking down stereotypes, indicating also how culture tourism benefits rural communities and economies.




February/March 2020








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