We recently had an opportunity to speak to the King of the Bhaca Kingdom, King Madzikane II (the second), Ahh! Tholelengwe!!! Thandisizwe ka Dilizintaba ka Dingumhlaba ka Mabhijela i ka kaMthakathi kaQoza ka Diko ka Ncaphayi ka Madzikane ka Khalimeshe ka Vebi ka Wabane ka Didi (Zelemu) ka Lufulwenja, ka Mageba, ka Gumede kaZulu kaNtombela kaMalandela kaLuzumana kaMdlani kaNkosinkulu. We spokeabout this year’s Umkhosi wokukhahlela (womhlanga) held on the 27th September 2014 at Elundzini Royal Residence, KwaBhaca Great Place , Ncunteni village in Mount Frere.
Q: What is Umkhosi Wokukhahlela?
A: Umkhosi wokukhahlela is a cultural practice of AmaBhaca that seeks to restore and entrench the dignity of the Bhaca Kingdom, through its women and young girls. It’s a response to a need to reignite the principle that the beauty of a nation is seen through its children, young girls and women. It’s about showing the beauty of AmaBhaca. If we respect our children, youth and women, we will be respected as this nation. This is an old practice which we used to observe. However today it’s also our attempt to respond to HIV, teenage pregnancy, school dropouts. It’s about purity while instilling a sense of worth and focus amongst young people.
Q: What is the history behind this very significant event?
A: Annually, we made a decision as part of the reconstruction of Bhaca Kingdom that we must celebrate our children and women as a nation to show how much they mean to us.
Q: When and why did you revive this age-old tradition?
A: On my return and taking the role to lead this nation, weI had to think about the main building blocks that will take the Bhaca Kingdom forward. This was about laying the foundation. This is the foundation - instilling a value system. This was conceptualised in 2009 when I came back to the Kingdom.
Q: Why is it important for girls to partake in this magnificent event in the Bhaca calendar?
A: Young girls are the face of this nation (ziintyatyambo zesi sizwe) and If we cannot show our love for them first, they will not be respected elsewhere. This provides an opportunity for them to be taught very fundamental principles of life based on our culture as amaBhaca, as you would remember that some are coming from child headed households or without parents. As it takes a village to raise a child, this provides equal opportunity for the children who take part. It’s also a platform that protects them from the ills of the society such as rape and gender based violence. There is more to it. Also, we do not have dustbin for any child in this nation therefore, all children regardless of circumstances must be allowed to participate.
Q: What is your vision for this spectacular event and for the Bhaca Kingdom as a whole for the near future?
A: The programme must carry on for as long as this nation lives. This Kingdom must arrive to a point where its liberation will be measured by having its people taking pride in saying that they areAmaBhaca equal to all other Kingdoms of the World. We should not shy away from the fact that we are still oppressed.
Umkhosi wokukhahlela ceremony 2014 was a success, though only on its third year, more than 500 girls who undergo virginity testing, attended the ceremony as proud iintombi nto!!! Indlovukati yesizwe samaBhaca, Queen Nosizwe, MaMjoli, Wushe, Qubulashe, Nonina, sindzangonwalu, Nongwenya was at the ceremony. Some of the speakers on the day were Mr Zola Zembo Mlenzana & Mr Lumko Mtimde from the Bhovu clan and CEO of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), who encouraged the proud Bhaca maidens to focus on developing and empowering themselves with education for a bright future.