By King Zwelibanzi Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo
This article was originally published on the Daily Dispatch website.
Bantwana Abahle (Good People), I would like to convey my message of inspiration for the new year 2017.
I pray that you will enter the new year with the spirit of patriotism and remember what our fallen ancestors died for. Your identity as Africans cannot be reduced to political heroes, even though we appreciate the work they did to liberate you.
It must be stored in your minds, that there is still a long way to go, be mindful of the Western influence that is entrenching itself into the soul of Africans, capturing every mind, eroding cultural identities.
The date of December 30 2015 is an anniversary of the victory of the Roman Dutch law-inclined South African justice system that claimed superiority over our customary law values – it prevailed to have your king ridiculed, called names and thrown into a dark prison cell.
Your ancestors did not only die fighting for their land, they also died fighting for your identity, pride and customary values. Therefore your liberation cannot be reduced to a fight only for basic services such as water, sanitation, roads, electricity, food parcels etc. Your claim is far bigger than that.
The youth of today need guidance from genuine leaders whose minds are not fixed into lucrative government tenders, political patronage, fame and so on.
No one can explain why our parliament cannot define the meaning of the word king, the kingdom in a democratic state. They also see no need in passing a legislation that can clearly stipulate the jurisdiction in terms of powers in administering justice with intention of bringing peace and order in our rural areas.
Such failure has a detrimental effect on all traditional courts that people in rural areas rely on as means of correcting wrongs.
The recognition of the traditional institution and full application of customary law in chapter 12 of the constitution will remain insignificant until there is a political will to set our boundaries in terms of authorities.
The king is ruler of his nation. There is no king without sovereignty and that will remain a cold fact, except where the intention is to set the kings up and promote defiance – thus send all the kings to prison one by one. I have witnessed the subversion of kingdoms by some structures whose agenda is to render us irrelevant by subjecting every decision we take to the Bill of Rights in the constitution, as if kings have no rights.
The main reason that the interpretation of the principle of equality before the law has been misconstrued by others, including our courts, is because in their minds kings don’t exist. It is hard to refute their understanding since there is no representation of the kings in three arms that make up the state – which are the judiciary, the executive and the legislature. But in the sober minds of customary law custodians, all three arms should exist under the jurisdiction of a kingdom of that particular nation.
My version is corroborated by the decision that was taken by the people who brought cases of theft, rape, murder to my Great Place with intentions of seeking justice.
The colonial and apartheid governments subverted the kingdoms and reduced kings to paramount chiefs and further administered them using the Transkei Authorities Act, Black Administration etc.
Those apartheid-era laws have now morphed into the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act under the current dispensation. My status was determined using the parameters of these acts when my trial begun in 2004.
As the king of AbaThembu, I represent your heritage, your pride and identity – something that is slowly fading away in most minds. My hope is on young people, who need to hear the truth before they are influenced by Roman Dutch laws that were designed to determine our fate.
Coming back to the issues facing my kingdom today, both popular groups (including the one that is pushing for my son to take over) who are at each other’s throats over the position of the acting king are not representing my aspirations. In April last year, at a meeting held at the Mthatha Garden Court, they passed a resolution to dethrone me and further asked President (Jacob) Zuma to withdraw my certificate of recognition as the king. Their minds are set to positions of power in exchange for selling the soul of our kingdom, including the king.
It is a story similar to that one of Joseph in the Bible (Genesis 37: 12-36). Be careful of being misguided.
When I realised their true intentions, I changed my mind about who should act in my position. I elected my wife, Nokwanda, to take the throne in my absence in an acting capacity. She needs your support, your patriotism, to fight endlessly for what is yours.
I appreciate the efforts of other kingdoms who have shamelessly stood by me and have not accepted the victory of the Western justice systems that have reduced me to a commoner, a gangster, an instigator of crimes – with distorted facts.
I encourage you to fight for your heritage, your true identity and that your kingdom gets equal treatment that the state is giving to others, including the one of KwaZulu-Natal.
Be blessed in the coming year.
Halala Bantwana Abahle.