We have dealt with this subject lengthily in some of our essays here, but it appears that we are living at such a crossroads where tradition, culture and customs are being tested to their utmost. Ideas such as the divine right of monarchs, traditional leaders, the elect and even the ordained are being questioned more directly. All types of leadership are being put to the test, to ascertain whether they truly can still serve us in this modern era.
The decolonization project or idea that had been making its rounds in the African world is just one of the approaches towards peoples strivings for liberation, whether its territorial, national or liberation from systems of oppression that have been entrenched through habits and social conditioning – the fact is there is always this urgency to understand and do things better than we have done them before. Old habits do die hard, there are institutions that are so culturally entrenched that people are willing to go to war to defend them. Change is a threat to many such traditions and to some of them we cling as if our very lives depend on it.
In the past five or more years I had begun to question my own reverence to personages such as the Ethiopian emperors, ancient Egyptian rulers as well as great personalities of the Afrikan continent. The increase of knowledge regarding the nature of life and its meanings has brought me to many conclusions, some of them quite conflicting or divergent.
I do not have a comfortable relationship with rulers. Monarchy is an idea which I think has outlived its usefulness, yet there is a part of me that believes that there are aspects of kingship/queenship which can still be salvaged and used to pursue revolutionary courses. One of them is the ancient principle that a ruler ought to be initiated as a healer and diviner before he or she can assume power. That very power also has to be checked or governed by the laws of righteousness or cosmic equilibrium so that the ruler conducts their affairs under a value system that ensures equity among his or her subjects. But in the 21st century is it not primitive and degenerative or reactionary to even speak of subjects and superiors and inferiors. Surely such hierarchies belong to the distant past, where the strong would ‘lord-it’ over the conquered.
Why on earth are we still celebrating with deep reverence, fellow humans who happen to have had an historical advantage to acquire more material resources than us? What are the essential redeeming factures that make a Queen of England or Japan or the Zulu nation special?
If we can answer some of these simple questions, perhaps the decolonization project can continue unobstructed by old hang-ups and preoccupations with false notions of power.
NgesiZulu kuthiwa Makhosi! uma kuqondiswe eSangomeni esiphathiswe amandla okubhulela isizwe sonke. Kunezanusi nababonayo, abathandazi, izinyanga, njalo-njalo. Izangoma nezinyanga ziyelapha, zibhulem zexwayise ziphinde zixhumanise abaphansi nabaphezulu…