In the Kings Kraal

#Day12 #WinterABC2020 #afrobloggerswinterchallenge

Wild was the applause and ululation as the head Kingpraiser ulogised upon the second Ndebele king , the poet danced up and down as he chanted and danced belly protruding forth –

Gee! ee ! yebo Nkosi !

The one who grew up in the Amashlogoshlogo regiment , Inyoniyamashlanga,

Son of Mzilikazi ,

King of Bulawayo,

You who were meant to be killed but not killed , Bayethe!

Bayethe Nkosi yamaNdebele

Umthwakazi wabantu

The son of the Nguni

Proud Matebele


The King watched proudly imbibing on his traditional brew surrounded by all his queens, because , today was a day of celebrations as the Kings envoys Babayane and Mshete had returned from seeing Queen Victoria together with Edward Maund and had brought thrilling stories of the grandeur they had seen and the might of the British. The might of the British on his side was a prospect the king salivated on. Levereged well,he would use this growing relationship to his best interest he mused to himself.

I went about dutifully serving beer and food with the rest of the women called upon to perform such duties in the Kings kraal-a nameless face hardly recognizable to the indunas in the Kings Kraal, as they continually called for more of the tasty brew and chewy venison with the dripping fatty pieces of meat from our handsome cattle.

Ours was a proud nation and well endowed with majestic tracts of land feeding thousands upon thousands of cattle obtained from our finesse and brutalness in the art of war , having continued the lessons indoctrinated in us by the forebearers of our proud Ndebele Heritage as descendants of Mzilikazi and all those who had come before us. In our quest to flourish and ensure our armies were replenished and satisfied we had managed to take all the lands within Matebeleland and had vanquished the occupants of Mashonaland scattering them into small states that had to become our allies if they wanted to survive. It was after all a time of war and survival -we took the best of the cattle , land and all the natural resources ensuring we scalped the better looking women as trophies to integrate within our own tribe . We women were round and verbose with very feminine structures but the woman from other tribes were taller and generally less round but our men liked the fact that there were strong and mixed with our Ndebele blood could create more soldiers in our quest for more.

Usually when we were in war we would annihilate our enemies with our superior art of war passed down from our forefathers the Zulu , after all my father had run away and come to settle here in Matebeleland and come with the skills of the Zulu. The occupants of the land had never seen anything like our men. Large men with thighs and feet so big they would make a sound as they ran to vanquish the enemy with our well fashioned spears. We had conquered quickly and swiftly and the Shonas resented this -l am sure their offspring would resent us forever, because we would kill their best warriors in war , and take all plunder and the weak would cower in fear choosing to live a life of homage to us. Really one must put all this into perspective instead of imagining us just brutal -there was no other way , it was either us or them.

War was the language of the times. So our kingdom criss- crossed all the way from Matebeleland upto Mashonaland. As a king , uLobengula did have a taste for the ecclectic and loved novel items but he did thirst for more power and more occupation and needed to consolidate what he had achieved. The men without knees had been trickling in and out trading offcourse in different wares but it had been mostly the Boers . Greedy offcourse for our natural resources but not respecting our boundaries so dealing with them was a bother. It is offcourse the Boers who had led our ancestors this way telling Mzilikazi of beautiful plains and so we had found them.

The Boers did have shifty eyes so Lobengula was not keen on trading with them but there were better at war than the British but the British had strong fire power. A few had come to preach a new type of superstition that they were calling the gospel.With what they talked about my king who being a proper Ndebele men believed in life even after the grave had taken to give time to these men of the cloth. They spoke very well these men , and seemed in awe of their God and would contribute to his ultimate downfall. One such man was called Charles Helm and he actually had become an eloquent Ndebele speaker. But we had our own African gods so it took time for the king to be pliable to accept their God. The king had his reason to bring these men close-Guns. My dear king being the man of war he was , wanted guns these men could help him secure-to secure his kingdom and his people. Well he thought, having more of these men of the cloth would do no harm. Sometimes they had other company which fancied Ndebele women ,their eyes gave them away as we saw how they looked at us as we served them food and beer looking at our dangling breasts with their giddy greedy little white eyes mesmerised by our exposed breast and only a small animal hide covering our behinds. l had never been called to these encounters but those who came from these encounters laughed at the encounters saying that the men hardly carried any weaponry in respect of their sexual prowess and it was said they soon became tired unlike our Induna warriors who could continue into the early morning until their backs glistened of black sweat.I did not wish to be called for such an encounter because the very thought of a pale white body did scare me -after all my superstitions made the bedrock of my life as a Ndebele women.

This particular season the trips by the white men had become so many-whispers among the indunas said the king was now getting tired of the many request by the white men who frequented his king’s kral. They had been endles envoys seeking favourable terms of trade with the Matebeleland kingdom and our forays into the kral to help with serving the guest had become all too frequent. The Indunas were themselves not settleted worried that the king was too in awe of the guns peddled by the men with no knees.

These envoys sought what the Indunas termed concessions-rights to certain items in the kingdom. The other white men who had come in the past were from Transvaal with no manners at all wanting the king to give away our lands. The Indunas said the king had become drained by the incessant calls by the envoys into his kral and that he needed to protect his kingdom for a price that did not include land rights. He envisaged that if he could enter into an agreement with one party the rest would back off while he would have secured the security of his people and territories in Mashonaland.

The king had finally decided to listen to the entreaties of the men of the cloth and the other white men he knew, to give , concession to the British. For he thought it was a fair deal to give away mineral rights and in return recieve British Protection and a thousand guns. For the British it was the pretext to enter into the territories run by Lobengula and his people.

I will not forget when the envoy of Charles Dunell Rudd, Rochfort Maguire and Francis Robert ‘Matabele’ Thompson arrived in the Kings kraal to partake of a certain ceremony. Every one was joyful but a few years later as we said goodbye to our queens and king as he disappeared into the dark of the night we realised we had been sold a dummy and history has not recorded us kindly but even today l have heard my great great grandchildren still cry about the marauding foreigners seeking to recieve concessions in the pretext of kindness.Children beware.

Published by Sfe Sebata

I am Social Entrepreneur and Development Practitioner who is passionate about young people and women.l live in rural areas by choice.l love catalyzing rural economies .l can paint and draw.l have an opinion and willing to speak up for social justice and equality.My background is in Art , Marketing ,Socially Responsible Tourism and Theology.

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