On the 09th of July 2022, Africa Unite in collaboration with the AmaThombeni Ndebele Royal house hosted the 4th Immigration Orientation session at the Africa Unite head office at 6 Spin Street, Cape Town. This session is the 4th in a series of talks and workshops orienting migrant and refugee communities into South African society. This program seeks to alleviate the tension and conflict arising between migrant communities, law enforcement agencies, and locals.
The session was dubbed “AmaDumisa United Kingdoms of Kush” and attracted 27 participants (19 females & 8 Males) from various African countries (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Angola, Rwanda & South Africa respectively). The session covered Ndebele’s Cultural history, and sociocultural practices as well as two musical pieces and a talk on decoloniality. This was presented by the secretary of the Cape-based Royal family, Chief Siyanda Buqa, and Speaker of the house, Chief Mandisi Mtyhida (an Africa Unite Peer Educator). The AmaDumisa Diverse Kingdom of Kush was founded by members of the AmaNdebele Royal family in 2009 as a response to various social ills such as Gender Based Violence, substance abuse & increasing levels of xenophobia, and tribalism in South Africa.
The facilitator started off by teaching the audience how to greet and address different individuals in accordance with the Ndebele culture to show respect amongst each other such as the etiquette displayed when addressing various ranks in the royal family. He then went on to talk about the origins of the Ndebele Culture including the lineage of the Royal family stretching back to the 13th century. According to Chief Buqa, AmaNdebele originated in between the northern regions of Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe migrating South for grazing land and encountering the Khoi! & San people of Southern Africa (noting the adoption of clicks into the language of various Southern African ethnic groups) then migrated North-East and are officially settling in modern-day Mpumalanga. Other groups of Ndebele people moved further north and can still be found in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Chief Mtyhida and Princess Athenkosi Marala then took the reigns and introduced a session on a spiritual and moral practice called “UKUHLONIPHA”; the concept is described as the linguistic rules of respect at all levels of society. A society cannot just have individuals or communities do what they want, and expect good results in life.
The principle encourages and motivates the individual and community members to subscribe to the demands of their own culture at all times so that when they grow up, they should take their position as humble, respectable, knowledgeable, and acceptable members of society in their adult lives.
The group also emphasized the importance of history and spirituality and the importance these subjects play in the moral fiber of our society, an immense importance was placed on the fact that the moral disintegration of our society lies at the feet of young African people who are disconnected from their history and spiritual culture, something that connects us to our ancestors. It is this gap in our history and disconnect of spirit that allows the pervasive mentality of racism, tribalism, and xenophobia to continue to divide African peoples. This section formed a segue for the final speaker Advocate Sibanda, a former member and employee of the Julius Nyerere foundation to discuss the importance of history, decoloniality, and Pan-Africanism.
Advocate Sibanda spoke with roaring passion on self-image and self-respect, on why it is incumbent on the youth of Africa to conscientize themselves and one another in order to avoid the ills of tribalism. Advocate Sibanda then continued to emphasize the need for young people to interact with people from different national and cultural backgrounds, only then, will we begin to become resistant to the scourge of xenophobic and tribalist rhetoric.
This was met by applause from the participants who then proceeded to add comments and questions;
One question was how young people can begin to engage with their ancestral spirituality in place of Western Moral values and connect to our rich history. In response, Chief Buqa expressed the need to have intrafamily conversations concerning family history and lineages, this way we form a deeper connection to our ancestry.
Another roaring comment came from a veteran school teacher with over 10 years of experience teaching in South African Schools, Ms. Patricia Mudiayi originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo you may name her, had introduced herself in the traditional way of her clan and said that it made her proud to hear young African people expressing their pride in their history and continue the exchange of ideas. This comes into stark contrast with the continued pervasive stereotype that non-nationals do not contribute to South African Society
The session was brought to a close with a musical piece by Chiefs Buqa and Mtyhida which was warmly welcomed and followed by a photo-op for the royal family and the participants.
This is the fourth part in a series of Immigration orientation sessions and the 1st in the Sociocultural sub-series, Africa Unite will continue to host subsequent information sessions to bridge the knowledge and information gap between immigrants and locals.
The Africa Unite team would also like to express our gratitude and thanks to the AmaDumisa Diverse United Kingdom of Kush for its brilliant presentations and interactive format, the time and effort were evident and appreciated, as well as a vote of thanks to CCFD who had sent a representative to attend the event.