The Mthwakazi kaMzilikazi Royal Crown Family, which includes the Mzilikazi Royal House and the Khumalo Clan, claims the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led government has shown them generosity by promising to restore Zimbabwean citizenship to members of the royal family who were disenfranchised by the country’s long history of racial divisions.
This gesture was regarded by the Mzilikazi Royal House as a “momentous step towards the restoration of cultural heritage and unity in Zimbabwe.”
According to sources, this development comes after government officials met with representatives of the Mzilikazi Royal House in South Africa, where discussions on restoring citizenship to their descendants were held.
When reached for comment, spokesperson of Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo asserted to be the legitimate heir to the Ndebele throne, Borman Khumalo, said: “It’s too early to comment.”
However, this ‘meeting’ has unsettled the Lobengula Royal House which also claims the Ndebele throne, as it does not know the purpose of this alleged engagement.
In a press statement, the Mzilikazi Royal House acknowledged Zimbabwe’s current executive leadership but affirmed its apolitical stance.
“The government has demonstrated magnanimity by offering to restore citizenship of members of the royal family lost as a result of the history of separation of the people and existing bonds. The primary focus of the royal family extends to cultural restoration, fostering national pride, promoting social cohesion, and uniting people both within Zimbabwe and across the diaspora,” said the family.
“Our shared vision is to peacefully resolve the longstanding Gukurahundi atrocities, drawing upon traditional cultural methods and wisdom.”
The Mzilikazi Royal House expressed indebtedness to the government’s generosity in allowing its institution to function and acknowledging that its role lies outside the executive authority of Zimbabwe.
The house added its roots could be traced back to Inkosi Lobengula kaMzilikazi, founder of the Ndebele in 1820.
“This diverse nation, aptly described as the original Rainbow Nation, stood as a testament to strength in unity and celebrated diversity. Sadly, the fall of this nation in 1896, under Cecil John Rhodes and his imperialist forces, led to the silence surrounding Inkosi Lobengula’s fate, though believed to have sought refuge with Inkosi Mpezeni in Zambia.”
The Mzilikazi Royal House said historical events demonstrate attempts to suppress the reformation of their nation as Rhodes banished Rhodes Mpango Njube Lobengula, the rightful heir to the throne, to the Eastern Cape in South Africa, followed by further exile in Grahamstown.
“This exile severed the ties between the children and family of Inkosi Lobengula and the vibrant multi-ethnic society uMzilikazi had established. In the face of adversity, the indomitable spirit of the people of Matabeleland, proudly known as aba kaMthwakazi, prevailed, resiliently preserving their socio-cultural identity. Flourishing within post-colonial Zimbabwe, they have carried the torch of their heritage against all odds,” said the house.
To reclaim their cultural heritage, the Mzilikazi Royal House said its elders embarked on a process to facilitate the return of Inkosi Lobengula’s children and grandchildren back to the land of their ancestors.
“This historic moment marks an exciting milestone in the comprehensive restoration of uMthwakazi’s socio-cultural identity and pride, calling for united support from all quarters.
Endeavouring to navigate the path guided by Zimbabwe’s Constitution, we reassure the people that the restoration of their dignity is not only certain, but now within reach. As we embark on this remarkable endeavour, we invite all Zimbabweans to join hands and celebrate the cultural richness that defines us as a nation,” said the house.
In an interview with CITE, the spokesperson for King Lobengula family, Prince Zwide Khumalo said they “heard a rumour” about this meeting between the government and the Mzilikazi Royal House.
“We can’t comment about it in terms of accuracy, time, date and composition of the participants but we hear there was a meeting. We don’t know what the contents of that was,” he said.
Prince Zwide said if it was an issue of citizenship, that could be applied for in a straightforward manner with the Ministry of Home Affairs.
He narrated that in 1993, Bulelani Lobengula’s father, Humphrey Mcendisi Khumalo and Humphrey’s aunt -Faith needed assistance on citizenship.
“They were not calling themselves Khumalo then but Lobengula. I and (the late) Thenjiwe Lesabe took them to (the late vice president) Joshua Nkomo in Harare with understanding that the life of these children outside the country was not in good order and should they decide in future to come back as descendants of Rhodes (Mpango Njube Lobengula), the politics must allow them to return. Our understanding was simple -they are part of King Lobengula’s family and their rightful original home is here,” Prince Zwide said.
“We pleaded with the government to be able to give them their citizenship should they apply for it.”
Prince Zwide said citizenship is not a negotiated thing unless their application had been turned down at some point, necessitating negotiations at a different level.
“Otherwise this country allows for dual citizenship and it is applied for in a straightforward manner through the Ministry of Home Affairs. If there was a meeting negotiating for that then it is not understood what the framework of that meeting was and what that negotiation was intended to achieve,” he said.
“If it was just for citizenship, we don’t see why it would be constituted at that level.”
Pince Zwide stated there was no problem with the government, as seen by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s acknowledgement of Ndebele Kings, Mzilikazi and Lobengula at a Zanu PF star rally in Nkayi last Sunday.
However, Prince Zwide said the government cannot recognise any other king because “currently there is no king among the Ndebele.”
“We wouldn’t see how the government can recognise that kind of situation but Mzilikazi, Lobengula and Nyamande have been people that were kings of the Ndebele. There is no problem with that, we can be really grateful if the government recognises them.”
The King Lobengula spokesperson said as a family, they were working on reviving the Ndebele monarch.
“As King Lobengula’s house when we say there is no king at the present moment is because King Lobengula’s house has not yet formally, through the chiefs, indicated who must be the king. It is the only house that is mandated to identify whoever becomes a king because they are the crown house,” Prince Zwide said.
He added that Lobengula’s house was mandated by the chiefs on November 6, 1997 to come up with an heir to the Ndebele throne.
“Nobody else and the chiefs did so because they know that King Lobengula’ s family is the crown family. Our position is if anyone wants to be king among the Khumalos’ first and foremost that person will be a descendant of King Lobengula. Secondly, he would have gone through the customary process followed by King Lobengula’s house,” said Prince Zwide.