With Thembani Dube
Agenda4Action continues to interact with the political and non-political movers and shakers in Mthwakazi. Our guest to grace this programme is a renowned Mthwakazi journalist and Matebeleland elder ubaba uJonathan Maphenduka (JM) the author of the now popular book entitled: The Rule By Conquest: The Struggle in Mthwakazi.
Elder Maphenduka is a member of uMhlahlo WesiZwe sikaMthwakazi and in this book he advocates for the Restoration of Matebeleland (Mthwakazi) as a country. His book has added fuel to the growing calls for the Restoration of Matebeleland as a country made by many Matebeleland organizations that include uMhlahlo weSizwe SikaMthwakazi (uMweM) itself, Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF), Mthwakazi Peoples’ Congress (MPC), Kingdom of Matebeleland National Congress (KMNC), Matebeleland Liberation Organization (MLO) and Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP).
Matebeleland Kingdom was conquered by the British in 1893 after conquering Mashonaland in 1890. The destroyed Matebeleland Kingdom was later almagamated with Mashonaland in 1894 to form a Country called Rhodesia. Rhodesia subsequently became Zimbabwe in 1980 after the liberation war fought by Zimbabwe Peoples' Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) led by Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Zimbabwe African Liberation Army (ZANLA) led by Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
As part of uMR’s Agenda4Action programme, the following questions were put to him by Thembani Dube (TD) regarding his life and regarding his book: The Rule By Conquest: The struggle in Mthwakazi.
TD: Can you tell us a little about who Jonathan Maphenduka is?
JM: I was born in Kezi on 5 January 1932. I had formal education up to standard six. I am a self-made person in everything I have accomplished. I am an elder of the Seventh-Day Adventist church. I command a strong willpower.
TD: When did you realize the need to write a book about uMthwakazi?
JM: In November 2013 when UMhlahlo we Sizwe Sika Mthwakazi asked me to write the book.
TD: The book’s title is: The Rule By Conquest: The Struggle in Mthwakazi. Is there any particular reason that made you choose this title?
JM: The title of the book came from the “Matabeleland Order in Council of 1894” which decreed that the people of the new territory of Matabeleland would be ruled by conquest. The irony is that those who are ruling us today are doing so by proxy of Her Majesty’s government of the United Kingdom. The reason is that they only conquered us through the horrors of Gukurahundi. It is our argument therefore that our current rulers, because they had no hand in the promulgation of the Privy Council’s MOC of 1894, they are therefore ruling us by proxy of the UK’s successive government. This argument is irrefutable because the decree remains in the statutes of Her Majesty’s government to this day.
TD: What are the goals and intentions of this book and how well do you feel you have achieved them?
JM: The first and main goal is the attainment of self-determination by peaceful and non-violent means. The book has managed to arouse the interest of our people to unprecedented levels and I am extremely thrilled by our people’s response to the book. I have been adequately rewarded by this response amid frustrations by the government. No bookseller will stock the book because of fear of reprisals. But the people are coming from all over looking for the book. I cannot desire more under these conditions.
TD: What is your favorite chapter in this book and why?
JM: My favorite chapter is the whole book! But the book stresses the point that those who sold the country to the colonialists are the people of Mashonaland. Our warriors stood up against the invaders who had five artillery machine guns. But no one among the warriors was shot in the back fleeing the scene of battle.
TD: What have been the challenges of writing, publishing and distributing this book in Zimbabwe and beyond?
JM: The book was self-published last May. The challenges have been that of distribution in
Zimbabwe. But these challenges cannot kill the book. The book enjoys too strong an appeal to die. As for challenges pertaining to the actual writing the book, I wrote it within three months. I then had to wait for a year to find a publisher, and finally decided to publish it myself, hiring a printer to produce it.
TD: In brief, what do you think needs to be done to settle the Matebeleland Question?
JM: What you are asking me is the vexing question whether self-determination is achievable. My answer is a quick ‘yes’. But this will depend on the critical question of unity of the people. There is another critical question: D0 the people want to govern themselves? I think do, in which case they show it by working for our liberation. The first step is for them to be united and all else follow. At this point in time our people are demoralized and have reached the deep end of despair, and are ready to join their oppressors, believing there is something to be gained after 35 years of tyranny and wrongdoing on the part of our rulers. They are mistaken because they are lending a hand to the oppressor to oppress them. Unity is the answer that will deliver. The only organization that has not failed our people is UMhlahlo we Sizwe Sika Mthwakazi.
TD: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author of this book and how have you handled it?
JM: My answer to this question can be found in the review of the book by Jerry Zondo
(Southern Eye) and Dr Samukele Hadebe’s critique in the same paper. My response to both, in the same newspaper of May 18, 2015, should provide a telling insight into the value of both critics.
TD: Do you fear for your life for having published this book in Zimbabwe?
JM: Yes indeed I do fear for my life because the book is provocative in a way when considered
against the climate of intolerance that pervades the political life of this country. Champions of controversial causes like the creation of Mthwakazi would be foolish not to fear for their lives.
TD: How can people who are inside and outside Zimbabwe get copies of this book?
JM: That question is difficult to answer because the book is currently being sold in the streets of
Bulawayo in a “cloak and dagger” vending exercise that seen a lot books changing hands. A good number of books have crossed the border into our neighbouring countries, and this could develop into a commercial distribution network of great importance. But it must be remembered that the book was not written as a commercial project but to promote the aims of Mthwakazi’s birth.
TD: Mthwakazi Elder Maphenduka we thank you for affording umthwakazireview.com’s Agenda4Action programme to put to you some questions regarding your book for the benefit of umthwakazireview.com’s followers. It is very much appreciated.
JM: It is me who is thankful Thembani to be afforded this opportunity to explain what the book is all about. You have been helpful and I hope I have been helpful too. The struggle for the re-birth of Mthwakazi must continue.