Up to now, the issue of the Ndebele identity in Zimbabwe remains a potential source of national tension in the country. In 2005, the Vice President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Gibson Sibanda, was quoted by the Daily Mirror as arguing that there was a need to re-build the Ndebele state along the lines of the single-tribe nations of Lesotho and Swaziland. He was quoted as saying ‘Ndebeles can only exercise sovereignty through creating their state like Lesotho, which is an independent state in South Africa, and it is not politically wrong to have the State of Matabeleland in Zimbabwe’.
Today the Ndebele suffer from both the perception and the reality of the marginalization of their past. They face the daily reality of playing second fiddle to the majority Shona ethnic group in the economy and in politics. They endure the daily reality of their history, their heroes, and their participation in the liberation struggle being consigned to a secondary role behind that of the triumphant Shona. That they were once a powerful, independent nation created out of migration, bloody wars, courage, resilience, and sacrifice is quickly losing its significance. The imagination, construction, and making of Zimbabwe in 1980 excluded the insights from Ndebele past. A cabinet minister and a historian, Stan Mudenge wrote that:
Shaping of the nation - The Hindu
The Ndebele as a minority group
Today, the Ndebele speaking people are part of a ‘unitary’ state called Zimbabwe, which is a creation of modern African nationalism. They form about twenty percent of the population of Zimbabwe. Their long and rich history is presently overshadowed by the triumphant Shona history that enjoys state support. The Shona speaking people make up about eighty percent of the Zimbabwean population. Besides constituting the dominant ‘ethnie,’ the Shona groups also consider themselves to be more indigenous to Zimbabwe than the Ndebele, who arrived in the area in 1839.
07/01/2018 · History Dept
The net effect of this trajectory on African scholarship is timidity when it comes to discerning such phenomena as nations, human rights, and democracy organic to African history and African experiences. This book challenges such timidity as it makes sense of the key ideological contours of the Ndebele nation and its notions of democracy and human rights.
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Pre-colonial nations such as this were not products of ‘modernity’ in the sense of the word as it is used by modernists like Eric J. Hobsbawn, Ernest Gellner and Benedict Anderson. It was a product of what John Omer-Cooper described as a ‘Revolution in Bantu Africa,’ and chapter two of this book provides details of this revolution. What emerged from this revolution as an Ndebele social formation was characterised by a far more self-conscious spirit of community that transcended a parochial ethnicity. Many ethnicities coalesced in the constitution of the nation to create an Ndebele political identity that unified the people under one leader.
This past year has shown that the U.S
The other challenge is that of reluctance by non-Africans as well as some Africans to recognise that African pre-colonial people, just like people elsewhere in the world, were capable of building nations, of constructing orderly governments and creating democratic and human rights space for their people. We need to critically engage those scholars who presented pre-colonial Africa as dominated by ‘martial tribes’ with their ‘warrior traditions’ always out to harm others, to steal cattle and women and to enslave those communities that were weak and vulnerable.