Ndebele King Silamba to be commemorated

AmaNdebele celebrate the heritage of King Silamba at last year's celebration. PICTURE BY Sowetan

The Ndebele king who ruled during the time of Dutch colonial encroachment will be remembered.

In a statement, the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs said Silamba’s commemoration will take place at Wallmannsthal, Mpumalanga in a week’s time and will be led by his great-grandson King Makhosonke II.

Silamaba lived and ruled the amaNdebele nation in the 1800s in an area called KwaPhulwana, Zwavelspoort near KwaNanduna in present day Bronkhorstpruit and Bapsfontein, near Tshwane in Gauteng.

In 1860, a bitter clash over land ensued and they were forcefully moved to KoMjekejeke in Mpumalanga by Afrikaner farmers.

Dutch farmer JG Bronkhorst led the forceful removal of Silamba’s people however Silamba is known in history for having fiercely resisted the infiltration of the Ndebele nation by Berlin colonial missionaries and fought tooth and nail for the preservation of the Ndebele people’s cultural identity.

The cultural couture of the AmaNdebele people can be easily distinguished by its vibrant colours and unique art.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) this week said the commemoration on 4 March 2017 is “significant” because “it celebrates the evolution of the AmaNdebele nation and also imparts to the youth valuable anthropology about their history and heritage”.

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The area of KoMjekejeke has the graves of Silamba and four other Ndebele kings who ruled after him and was declared a national heritage site in 1999 – and current king and great-grandson, Makhosonke, bought the area soon afterward and is administered under the Silamba Trust.

The commemoration takes place on the first Saturday of March every year.

(edited by ZK)

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