Sunday Observer - - FEATURES -

Spring the month of love, when Mother Earth is be­ing show­ered with bless­ings of soft gen­tly rain for plough­ing and plant­ing maize or corn. Firstly, con­grat­u­la­tion Your Majesty, King Mswati III for tak­ing time be­fore declar­ing an­other Liphov­ela, as this al­ways cre­ates con­tro­versy, par­tic­u­larly as the king must choose a vir­gin.

The age has be­come the fo­cus now that His Majesty is al­most 50 years, and yet the king must con­tin­u­ously have eMaphov­ela. As the suc­ces­sion plan­ning is such that there has to pre-pu­berty heir to the throne, only prince with fe­male sib­lings.

Thus im­pos­ing fer­til­ity re­spon­si­bil­ity for kings, and what fas­ci­nates me is when cit­i­zens and oth­ers em­u­late the king, and yet their suc­ces­sion plans do not in­volved a pre-pu­berty heir. My un­so­licited ad­vice to His Majesty, it is time to choose eMakhov­ela from chief­doms, not only as a uni­fy­ing fac­tor for the na­tion. But to en­sure the en­vi­ous un­der­stand how this is not about ‘ sexy’ babes, but na­tion build­ing and states women.

And most sig­nif­i­cantly this is about the king’s fer­til­ity re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards suc­ces­sion plan­ning and so­cial co­he­sion. The chief’s daugh­ters will strengthen the in­dige­nous gov­er­nance of this coun­try.

Umh­langa is Plough­ing/ Plant­ing Dance

Umh­langa whilst re­search­ing on in­dige­nous peo­ple’s dig­nity is trace­able within the Na­tive Amer­i­cans or Amer­i­can In­di­ans, syn­ony­mous to their corn dances. Ev­i­dently, th­ese corn dances are a sig­nif­i­cant part of in­dige­nous gov­er­nance, like Umh­langa the Reed Dance. Which be­gins at chief­dom lev­els, where par­ents de­clare the sex­u­al­ity of the maid­ens within their com­mu­nity.

This re­sults in par­tic­i­pa­tion and im­pacts on the dress code, ind­lamu for the vir­gins and sid­vashi for chastity af­ter sex­ual ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. This dec­la­ra­tion by fam­i­lies is sig­nif­i­cant for th­ese maid­ens will em­bark on a pil­grim­age for plough­ing and plant­ing rain. Orig­i­nat­ing from the un­der­stat­ing of Ubuntu or “Mi­takuye oy­asin” of the Na­tive Amer­i­can, mean­ing “We are all Re­lated.”

There­fore in­ter­con­nected be­hav­iour, hu­man and an­i­mals’ im­pact on na­ture and na­ture’s be­hav­iour im­pacts on hu­mans and an­i­mals.

Umh­langa, the pil­grim­age for plough­ing and plant­ing rain be­gin­ning at the chief­doms, gover­nors of the land as the maize will be nur­tured within their ge­o­graphic space. Ev­i­dently chiefs have the re­spon­si­bil­ity of en­sur­ing that vir­gin maid­ens em­bark on this pil­grim­age, in or­der to bring back rain.

With this un­der­stand­ing, that I do not un­der­stand­ing the pil­grim­age of maid­ens from the se­cu­rity forces, as their lead­ers are not chiefs, and th­ese maid­ens have their own chief­doms. Most sig­nif­i­cantly th­ese maid­ens can­not be vet­ted by em­ploy­ers on whether they are vir­gins or chastity post sex­ual ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. This would be a vi­o­la­tion of their hu­man rights, and Umh­langa is linked to chiefs who gov­ern the land and not lead­ers of se­cu­rity force in­sti­tu­tions. Umh­langa is an im­por­tant part of in­dige­nous peo­ple’s dig­nity, which rooted the in­dige­nous gov­er­nance sys­tems with chiefs at its helm, cus­to­di­ans of the land.

In­dige­nous gov­er­nance sys­tems were rooted within the con­text of un­der­stand­ing that with­out food, ‘li­jaha sisu’ con­flict will en­sue, de­gen­er­ates into war. This is why the corn or maize rain dances are a sig­nif­i­cant part of en­sur­ing so­cial co­he­sion to­wards peace and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. As we are all re­lated, an­i­mal, plants, na­ture and hu­mans, and there­fore our be­hav-

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