KZN memorial to honour King Shaka mentor

2008-09-01 00:00

The 19th century leader of KZN’s Mthethwa people, Dingiswayo Godongwane kaJobe, who played an important role in the early development of King Shaka, is to be honoured by a memorial at his gravesite, Amafa announced yesterday.

“We’ve reached an agreement with the current Inkosi Mbusiwabathethwa Mthethwa and commissioned local sculptor Peter Hall to design a memorial appropriate for the status of Dingiswayo,” said Barry Marshall, CEO of Amafa, the provincial heritage body.

“We also want it to incorporate Zulu symbols and to add to the tourist attractions of the region.

“The inkosi is buried at Oyengweni, his former residence near Heatonville [20 km from Empangeni]. The site is clearly visible from satellite photographs while circular depressions identify the positions of individual dwellings. There are archaeological remains like pottery shards and grindstones.

“We’re very pleased with the site design for the memorial that incorporates the giant umHlonhlo tree [Euphorbia] growing on the grave, an isivivane [pile of stones added by passersby in respect], two benches resembling headrests and four small domes with scenes from Dingiswayo’s life.

“The whole site will be fenced to protect the archaeological remains. The memorial will be adjacent to where oral tradition dictates the grave was situated next to the giant umHlonhlo tree.

“Dingiswayo is credited with the amabutho [regimental] system … Shaka commanded one of the regiments, developing the short stabbing spear in preference to the thrown spear. Later, as leader of the Zulus, he fine-tuned the system, which lasted until after the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.

“This will not only be a memorial to this significant leader, but a work of art in itself, adding to our provincial tourism destinations. Ongoing consultations with His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini and other stakeholders are proceeding.”

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