HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsSetting the record straight about King Mzilikazi — The Mthwakazi King

Setting the record straight about King Mzilikazi — The Mthwakazi King


THIS narrative that King Mzilikazi subjugated other tribes and forced them to join his Nguni tribe to form the Mthwakazi nation is as false as falsehood itself. The narrative is refuted by both evidence on the ground and history.

guest column:Reinford Khumalo

The truth is that when Mzilikazi arrived in this country in l836 from current South Africa through Botswana, his fame as a brave warrior and leader of an elite Khumalo clan who had resisted the Boer settlers in the Transvaal from humiliating his people to enslave them and capture their cattle, preceded him.

Mambo, King of the Lozwis as the custom was those days, met with king Mzilikazi to form an alliance with the king and agreed to take a royalty but volunteered to serve under King Mzikikazi, furnishing reasons that peace, tranquility and the strengthening of the kingdom could only prevail under one king.

Mambo was also a peace lover, hence the pet name given the Lozwi tribe — Vumabalandwa, meaning those who agree to be befriended for a good cause. The agreement was to form a strong nation that consisted of the local tribes working together as a strategy of survival against foreign invaders, Arabs and European settlers.

At that time no tribe dared stand in isolation or alone to risk invasion. It was only through a formation of alliances that any kingdom could be invincible. As a result, the tribes that volunteered to be part of the Mthwakazi kingdom were the Lozwis, Ngunis, Kalangas, Vendas, Tongas, Shonas and Sothos.

The geographical stretch of this kingdom of the conglomerate of tribes under Mzilikazi stretched from Plumtree to Mashonaland West beyond Qweqwe, the present day Kwekwe.

For the north-south geographical stretch, the kingom stretched from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls. This geographical area was called Mthwakazi. King Mzilikazi became the regent of this area in collaboration and agreement with Mambo, King of the Lozwi and Mashonaland chiefs Lomagundi, Wedza and Chaminuka. The latter agreed to be summoned to Bulawayo to take some leadership role under King Mzilikazi.

This consent to form this alliance is similar to the agreement by Bechuanalnand, the current Botswana, Basutholand, the now Lesotho and Swaziland, the now eSwatini, the Tswanas, the Sothos and Swazis respectively seeking protection from the British government.

Proof that King Mzilikazi never forced anyone to be under his regency but all was done through consent is the pride with which all the tribes forming the Ndebele nation identify themselves to date.

They all call themselves Isizwe saMaNdebele. At no time in the history of the Ndebele nation has there been a history of discontent and rebellion within the Mthwakazi nation disputing Mzikikazi as king of the Ndebeles.

If there is any recorded history of such, I challenge anybody to provide it and produce evidence. The narrative of hate was manufactured recently by fake historians who want to divide the Mthwakazi nation (a collection of many tribes that have always lived peacefully side by side) for their hegemony. King Mzilikazi was a peace lover and a nation builder.

He protected this country from slave trade. Terrance Ranger actually compiled testimonies not only from the Shonas but also from the Kalangas, Sothos, Vendas and Tongas in which they cherished the times in which they lived under Mthwakazi rule compared to the period under colonial rule.

Peaceful history should not be twisted to create hatred among a people who love peace. It is peace that builds a nation.

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