“Kings do not exist in a vacuum. Kings hold their positions because they enjoy the support and respect of the people they are supposed to lead. They are kings of their people and not because of a piece of paper of recognition from government and the government salary. Already, a lot of people in the current generation, including those who reside in areas under the chiefs’ jurisdiction, have lost respect and love of the traditional leadership institutions.” – Zinasele Kani writes in the Voices section of the City Press newspaper, 7 February 2021
In a poem dedicated to the poet Miguel Pinero, the exceptionally gifted Afrikan American Poet Carl Hancock Rux muses wisely on his album The Rux Review:
“We are aging and chosen and poorly trained for mass redemption Miguel – and everything is falling away Miguel, come down …”
A popular adage says that ‘everything that has a beginning must have an ending.’ Perhaps the words everything may be a bit too strong, but we are speaking as mortals existing within a world of finite resources, everything in the known universe exists within a timeline, everything grows old and expires, disintegrates and is rendered no longer optimally useful; everything except the Absolute, that which we cannot measure with our known instruments.
We may still be able to find lessons from studying the old and dead, but the dead can also be a liability to a people eager to live full lives.
I am simply putting this out there so that I can reconcile the idea of ‘divine rule of kings and queens’, with the various leadership models that currently exist. There have been exemplary leaders through the passage of time in diverse communities, people who are not of so called noble-birth yet their deeds or exploits have guaranteed their place as heroes and heroines in society.
These days the institution of Kingship is interestingly not related to heroism or any ideas of actual leadership. It is simply part of the human tradition that remains in society purely because of its romantic or culturally defined idealism.
Should we be expecting elected governments to be paying the salaries of people on whom power is thrust by destiny? Is that even a logical thing to do in the 21st century?
Let me close by quoting something else that I read in the newspapers, it speaks to the question of why leadership exists in the first place – Ranjeni Munsamy wrote in the Sunday Times sometime in 2019: “But for SA to emerge from its weak economic state and worsening social conditions requires that we break our heavy reliance on political leadership. There cannot be continued expectation that politicians will come up with solutions to all the country’s problems when all they do is recycle old ideas.“
Perhaps it is we the led, misled and disillusioned who are culpable or guilty of allowing ourselves to be ruled by tricksters, tyrants and obsolete institutions, when will we wake up and reclaim our own power? Once we have reclaimed our power, how will we replace the institutions that have derailed our natural progress for so long?