THE Khumalo family says the revival of the Ndebele kingdom and installation of a new king — long a contentious issue — should be resolved next year, an issue likely to stir up further controversy over Ndebele royalty.
Donald Khumalo, a member of the Khumalo clan, yesterday called for the speedy identification of the heir saying “the matter of the Ndebele king is in many people’s view central to the preservation and protection of the rich Ndebele culture as part of Zimbabwean heritage”.
“As the year draws to the end and that we are in December is of symbolic importance to the Ndebele nation as this marks 121 years since King Lobengula (Khumalo) disappeared,” he said.
“It will be most fitting if as a nation we resolve to embark frantically on this subject with the sole aim of giving life to the long cherished Ndebele legacy.
“I am persuaded to suppose that the nation at large, and without doubt King Lobengula’s family seconded by other Khumalo family houses will within the year 2015 resolve the matter at hand and present a fitting heir from King Lobengula’s direct descendants, soon to be installed.”
Khumalo said the Constitution was very clear about the need for the preservation and protection of Zimbabwe’s heritage and the revival of the Ndebele kingdom was one such way.
“At some point, this subject must find closure and can significantly do so only after the nation candidly shares the views so as to influence decision and action or inaction,” he said.
However, the restoration of the Ndebele monarchy could spark another row after Khumalo said only the house of Mzilikazi was eligible to second an heir.
Other members of the vast clan, which has five prominent houses, might cry foul for being eliminated.
Peter Zwide kaLanga Khumalo is often regarded as a senior member of King Lobengula’s family, although some say he cannot be an heir.
The Ndebele kingdom ceased to exist following the controversial disappearance of King Lobengula in December 1893.
In March, Zimbabweans based in South Africa installed “a paramount chief” sparking debate in the Diaspora community.
Albert Khumalo Gumede was chosen chief of “Mthwakazi Republic”, which is associated with a secessionist group from Matabeleland.
At least 10 chiefs from South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal attended the ceremony with reports indicating that Gumede had received the blessings of the Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini.
However, the move was swiftly condemned by descendants of the last Ndebele king, Lobengula, who say Gumede is not from the royal family.