By Joy Ndwandwe | 2020-11-22
Today, I share my thoughts after watching King Shaka Zulu’s movie as an indigenous knowledge preserver and researcher.
Firstly, my sincere condolences to the Tigray, community in Ethiopia currently experiences wars and conflicts. Tigray has a special place in my heart, as it is my Damascus, after being part of a World Bank mission in 2002. I decided to resign from Urban Development, as this Ethiopian mission was investigating possible local economic development projects in this post-war and conflict zone, then. I met beautiful women who were illiterate and carrying children, which were products of rape, I learnt how war protocols are such that men are killed and women are raped. When witnessing the consequences of war and conflict, my heart was shattered and tears rolled down my cheeks, and the members of this mission thought I was posturing.
As an African woman, what I was witnessing should be normal, therefore, I can deal with it as this is how we are nurtured in this continent. It then dawned to me, I am a spoilt brat nurtured during the King Sobhuza II era, and did not experience pre and post-independence wars and conflicts like other African countries. This moment made me realise, how writing the King Sobhuza II legacy was critical, thus, my early retirement culminated in the first edition in 2009, as I had been experiencing visions of King Sobhuza. Evidently, in Tigray, I realise African leadership has failed this continent, creating wars and conflicts to protect their political agenda and patronage, negating peace and stability nurtured in this kingdom. This peace and stability King Sobhuza II preserved in accordance with the teachings of King Sobhuza I, vision, currently at risk as coin is justified through the book.
When viewing the King Shaka movie on SABC I, this time my interest was not the historical context but indigenous knowledge context. African royalty in accordance to the indigenous knowledge preserved by Williams (1974): “Royalty in African terms means Royal Worth, the highest character, wisdom, sense of justice and courage.” When viewing the Shaka Zulu movie all these characteristics seems to be subjugated by his quest for vengeance, and yes, he was humiliated and dehumanised with his mother. However, when assuming the throne, his first systemic negation of indigenous knowledge is ordering his brother to kill the prime minister, then Shaka kills his brother. Thus, marking the advent of blood shed on the throne, which is taboo within indigenous knowledge where royalty has the highest character. Such that they do not kill nor witness a dead body to refrain from death and blood within their hands, a sense of higher consciences anchoring wisdom and justice.
Thus, according to indigenous knowledge, Williams (1974): “The people, in honour of the founder of the nation, after will elect from the founder’s family (lineage) if the heirs meet the original test that reflect the Founder’s character, whose spirit was supposed to be inherited.” The election in this context begins with indigenous people voting with their feet by being in attendance, and shouting Bayede in the Zulu context validating the choice. In the Shaka Zulu movie, during this coronation witnessed blood shed followed by Shaka raising his spear, and they shouted Bayede in fear. Yes, Shaka Zulu was the rightful heir, his mother Queen Nandi was from a strategic alliance and partnership lineage, however, like all royal successions she was not the king’s favourite wife. Thus enabling King Shaka to be nurtured away from his father, protecting him from possible witchcraft, in accordance with indigenous knowledge.
However, King Shaka was humiliated and dehumanised with his mother and this emerged in intergenerational vengeance, while creating the most violent kingdom through systemically negating Zulu indigenous knowledge. Particularly with regard to the African constitution stated by Williams (1974): “He who founded the nation by uniting many as one must be a real leader, guide and servant of his people.” This was systemically negated, as unity through fear, spear and bloodshed is a legacy that destroyed the many kingdoms including the Ndwandwe Royalty. However, this fear, spear and blood shed is still evident in cosmic debt within the KwaZulu Natal history, culture and most significantly enabled the infiltration by colonial settlers.
Indigenous Wars and Conflict
Indigenous wars and conflict according to the Africa constitution, Williams (1974), “Tribal war objective was to overcome or frighten away adversaries not to kill.” Thus, watching Shaka Zulu arrive at the Mthethwa Confederacy, war was spear throwing part of the wounding to overcome and frighten adversaries. King Shaka’s vengeance emanating from his rejection and humiliation by his father and people, evoked the most regrettable moment in Southern African history.
When he convinced the Mthethwas to shorten the spear and kill adversities, thus, creating the lifetime cosmic debt, that is, seeking vengeance for those killed, resulting in the bloodshed that is part of regional history.
The indigenous wars and conflicts were in accordance to the unwritten African constitution preserved by Williams (1974): “defeated enemies were completely surrounded, escape routes were provided, victors pretending not to be aware.”
Thus, adherence towards ensuring blood was not spilled to avoid any cosmic debt, knowing the defeated seek vengeance for their warriors. In essence, indigenous wars and conflict were led by warriors of peace, and not warriors of war, which is another systematic negation evident in the Shaka Zulu movie. His quest for vengeance, affirmed his birth prophecy on how he would bring drastic change, and most importantly when consulting ancestors for wisdom he chose blood red short spear.
King Shaka is portrayed as an extremely gifted athletic warrior, however, this high level energy was used to create blood baths. Indigenous wars and conflicts according to Williams (1974): “tribal wars with rest periods, adversaries met at the rivers to rest and joke until battle resumed.” The rivers became sources of blood baths, due to the killing by the warriors of wars created by Shaka Zulu.
When reflecting on modern day societies, these blood baths have not stopped as warriors of war are dominate within the Southern African region. Shaka Zulu as a leading chaos force within the region, created a historical legacy that is extremely difficult to shake off, as we are branded as war mongers. Unfortunately, the King Shaka era, marks the advent of the foreign intruders, therefore he is part of recorded history, used to systemically negate indigenous knowledge as barbarous. Yet, no one wants to acknowledge the indigenous knowledges Shaka Zulu, systemically negated as recorded by Williams (1974), as part of the then unwritten African constitution.
I conclude, with my sincere condolence for my neighbours, family and relatives in the Republic of Mozambique, specifically Nampula, due to the armed terrorist conflict ongoing in Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique. According to Alfredo Célia, “The mass arrival of refugees and the fear that Nampula is a potential recruiting ground for young people is affecting social, political, economic and cultural stability. The police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) has regularly presented groups of young people who were, allegedly, halted on their way to Cabo Delgado with no clear reason, raising suspicions that they were going there to join the terrorists.”
Evidently, wars and conflicts negated indigenous knowledge as previously stated, and most significantly what African needs are warriors of peace and not war. Warriors of peace will enable the continent to deal with three common enemies, that is, poverty, unemployment and inequality.
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