Mthwakazi hit by toxic ethnocentrism

Being alert to events in and around Mthwakazi politics is important for growth; our present political reality demands that we face up to the fact that an internal rigid tribal dogma is threatening political rejuvenation by diverting attention away from processes meant to enable a Mthwakazi political agenda. This is a disturbing scenario in which a small but enthusiastic collection of individuals in our region has committed to stirring mistrust and doubt in the pro-Mthwakazi movements who are trying to fight for the right of every man and woman in every street and every path of Mthwakazi.

All formal dogmatic and tribally divisive politics must never be accepted by self-respecting Mthwakazi people. As a nation, let us keep our focus on the principles upon which Mthwakazi is built. We are a highly diverse nation that takes pride in that identity. We have always been an accommodating, adaptive social, cultural and political boiling pot, and that we shall protect for generations to come.  

It is no longer a secret that under the pretext of representing or protecting the legacy of Kalanga communities, there are individuals involved in a deliberate, prolonged, malicious and concerted effort to damage the reputation of Ngunis (or Ndebeles) even to the extent of attempting to apportion blame for academic underperformance of Kalanga students to the presence of ethnic Ndebele teachers in predominantly Kalanga regions.

Days of investing on reason seem long gone; although these people are, by the standards of the modern culture, thought highly educated they have never bothered to objectively explain how in modern political dynamics Kalanga safety and security are under threat from Ngunis from whom they need protection. We can only assume they know theirs is a fallacious proposal, but they are unscrupulous articulate conspiracy peddlers whose only goal is to destabilise the region; in the pursuit of their agenda they subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations.

Ma Nouvelle Vie en France - My New Life in France: The French are  ethnocentric...

It is a farfetched argument that Ndebeles want to restore the traditional 19th Century state standards and their primary desire is to assimilate Kalangas. If the Nguni desired to assimilate population groups in the region that would have been easily implemented by King Mzilikazi and King Lobengula back then when they held real political and military power. 

A deliberate targeting of specific population groups for unfounded allegations will not build but tear Mthwakazi apart. And we know that isolating any population group weakens the Mthwakazi movement and threatens the social, economic and political wellbeing of the whole of Mthwakazi. In whatever we do, let principle – not opportunity – be our guide. Regard not the tribe or ethnicity of our prospective leaders – look to their character. Always stand for principle even if it means you may stand alone.

Reality dictates that the safety and security of all in Mthwakazi can thrive only as long as an idealistic national community offers the necessary preconditions. And these do not lie in tribal egoism, but in a principled stand requiring a spirit of sacrifice and togetherness. We are different but one nation, no population group will gain from the weakening of another; a social, economic and politically powerful BuKalanga is no threat to Ndebeles or Vendas or Nambyas or Tongas, etc. and vice versa but necessary for a stronger and better Mthwakazi. 

The standard that has always carried the greatest importance in Mthwakazi is the equal value of all human beings. Even in our politics today, every other principle should stem from this. We should be able to refuse enchanting proposals and opportunities if they contradict Mthwakazi’s shared principles.

We note that most of the fears and discontent of ‘tribal capture’ are a manifestation of the social media; in the real world people live peacefully side by side as neighbours. What is disappointing is the fact that some of the drivers of the conspiracy of a Ndebele assimilation agenda are highly regarded members of the community who, through their writings, have contributed to political proposals meant to build a stable, safe and secure Mthwakazi.

To our best knowledge those astute contributions have received unanimous support and consideration across all ethnic groups and tribes. For instance, the idea of a federal Mthwakazi state has been well received, yet instead of pursuing constructive debate on the subject these individuals still harbour tribal supremacist ideals. It seems each time an agreement becomes a possibility they shift position to create new controversy that polarises communities. Such flip flopping is no surprise seeing some of these individuals are known for their ideological resistance to Ngunis and all things Mthwakazi – a name they resent and have politicised to justify their egoistic political stance.  

It is the height of political travesty that instead of fighting as one for our freedom, we are left facing a stark choice – attempt to work with individuals that put ethnicity and tribe before principle while ignoring the realities of our diverse nation or stop engaging with such individuals and groups. What is there to discuss with opportunists who know no compromise and individuals whose idea of negotiating is listening to themselves and validating their views while closing their eyes and ears to everything else and rejecting – without credible reason – every opinion that does not fit in with their narrative?

Published by THE RESEARCH HUB

a progressive politics and policy researcher and author with an interest in Mthwakazi (Matabeleland) human rights, liberties, safety and security.

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