Who will lead the Thembu king­dom?

CityPress - - News - LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA luba­balo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

Mem­bers of the abaThembu royal fam­ily al­most came to blows yes­ter­day af­ter a heated de­bate over who should lead the na­tion while its em­bat­tled king, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, serves his 12-year jail term.

It was the first time that two fac­tions sup­port­ing dif­fer­ent peo­ple to act as king met to dis­cuss who should lead the trou­bled na­tion.

The groups met in a tent out­side the Bum­bane Great Place be­cause the gates were locked af­ter the king had or­dered, prior to his in­car­cer­a­tion on De­cem­ber 30, that no one should en­ter.

In the meet­ing, those who sup­ported the king’s son, Azenathi Dalindyebo, mo­ti­vated for his right­ful place on the throne be­cause he was cho­sen by the king to act in his place.

But the other group pre­ferred the king’s younger brother, Mthandeni Dalindyebo, to be the act­ing king in­stead be­cause he is from the same house as the king – born of the same late mother uNoMoscow Dalindyebo and late father Sa­bata Dalindyebo.

They also ar­gued that Azenathi was not the right­ful heir be­cause he was born “out of wed­lock” and that tra­di­tion­ally a son “never acted on be­half of his father”, while it was ac­cept­able for a brother to do so.

Mean­while, out­side the tent where the meet­ing was be­ing held, two se­nior tra­di­tional lead­ers of the abaThembu, Zil­im­bola Mpahlana and Than­dux­olo Mti­rara had a heated ex­change, with the lat­ter call­ing Mpahlana a sell­out.

Mti­rara asked him why he was not sup­port­ing the king’s wishes that his wife, Nok­wanda Dalindyebo, act on his be­half.

This comes af­ter the king changed his mind at the 11th hour and said his wife should rule so that his son Azenathi, a third-year crim­i­nol­ogy stu­dent at the Univer­sity of the Free State, could fo­cus on his stud­ies.

Mti­rara sup­ports Mthandeni to act as king, not Azenathi.

When asked af­ter­wards what the con­fronta­tion was about, Mpahlana played it down, say­ing: “We were not fight­ing. It was just a de­bate.”

Mvezo chief Mandla Man­dela also weighed in, say­ing that Azenathi should con­tinue his stud­ies and that, in fu­ture, they would love the abaThembu to be led by an ed­u­cated Azenathi.

“We sup­port the name of Mthandeni as the house of Man­dela. We are not de­cid­ing on be­half on any­body. We sup­port the three sib­lings of the king who said Mthandeni should act [as king],” Man­dela said.

Azenathi was not present at the meet­ing, but Mthandeni was.

Man­dela, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife, Mbali Makhathini, his mother No­lusapho and Man­dela fam­ily el­der Napil­isi, were seen leav­ing the gath­er­ing while the meet­ing con­tin­ued.

The king’s younger brother, Sganeko, said the king should be con­sulted be­cause he was still alive.

He said he sup­ported Azenathi to act be­cause the king had en­dorsed him in pub­lic many times.

“We should not speak about the king as if he is dead. Why are we play­ing with some­thing so im­por­tant? This is the king’s busi­ness,” Sganeko said.

The king’s se­cond wife, Nol­untu, said: “In my view, we should put Mthandeni to act as king so that he can re­build the great place and we will sup­port him.”

Mean­while, the king, who has been at Life St Do­minic’s Hos­pi­tal in East Lon­don since Jan­uary, is said to be do­ing well. The king’s ad­viser, Phandulwazi Mhlontlo, who vis­ited Dalindyebo on Fri­day, said the king was in good spir­its.

“They might keep him there for the next two weeks or so to ob­serve him. He is suf­fer­ing from ul­cers and de­pres­sion, but his con­di­tion has im­proved,” he said.

He said the king still wanted his wife Nok­wanda to act in his place.

“The king does not re­ally recog­nise that meet­ing in Bum­bane to­day [yes­ter­day] be­cause he wants his son to fo­cus on school and not to be drawn into abaThembu in­fight­ing,” he said.

By the end of the meet­ing in Bum­bane, the royal fam­ily could not agree on who would take the throne and re­solved that a com­mis­sion be ap­pointed to in­ter­vene.

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