THE epic Anglo-Ndebele war, fought 130 years ago, was commemorated at the weekend in honour of the thousands of Ndebele men killed while resisting seizure of their ancestral land.
Organised by the Umhlahlo Wesizwe SikaMthwakazi, the commemorations were held at the Gadade Memorial Site where thousands of Matabele fighters were buried.
UMhlahlo Wesizwe SikaMthwakazi deputy chairperson Greater Vodloza Sibanda said this year’s commemorations were aimed at remembering the brave Matabele warriors.
“The commemorations are aimed at remembering the Matabele warriors of that time, their bravery and determination in the face of the new maxim weapons, to educate and inform our publics about the history of the war, which was a decisive war that led to the deposition of the kingdom and to preserve Gadade area so that it remains a sacred and tourism site,” Sibanda said.
He hailed the attendance this year compared to last year after more than 4 000 people, including more than seven chiefs from Matabeleland attended the ceremony.
“A show of embracement of the occasion by the people showed understanding of the significance of the commemoration,” Sibanda said.
He called on people to embrace the event, in particular businesspeople who can assist with transport and other logistical requirements.
He said people should understand that the occasion belonged to them, not the organisers.
“We also call on the whites whose great grandfathers participated in that war so that we come together to develop that place being our historical site.
“All the people in Matabeleland, regardless of their ethnicity, beliefs, religion and others are all invited to contribute towards the success of the event. We are glad it is growing every year,” Sibanda said.
On November 1, 1893, Cecil John Rhodes’ Pioneer Column conquered the Ndebele kingdom under King Lobengula. Thousands of Ndebele warriors were mowed down by Maxim guns from all directions of the Pioneer Column’s laager.
The gallant soldiers belonged to the Imbizo, Ameva, iSiziba, iHlathi, iNsukamini and Ingubo regiments.