Academics question YCL’s attack on king

2010-03-04 00:00

RECENT attacks on the Zulu monarchy by the KwaZulu-Natal Young Communist League (YCL) have been rejected as “un-African” by the province’s traditionalists, who liken it to the behaviour of British colonialists after the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War.

Professor Musa Xulu, a Durban-based heritage consultant and academic, said the role played by the king, although ceremonial, is also a form of recognition for the roles played by previous kings and their people in building the land and defending it against invaders.

In yesterday’s Witness, the YCL called for the scrapping of the king’s budget and his annual opening of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature “because of the meaninglessness of his address”.

“The YCL comes from a background foreign to African thought, where monarchies … get deposed all the time. But, as I say, this is un-African.

“The country is creating an eclectic form of governance, in recognition of the existence of the Western and the African worlds as dominant forces in our society,” said Xulu.

He pointed out that the ANC, which leads the tripartite alliance that includes the YCL, has a tradition of presidents who have supported the institution of the monarchy.

“In fact, at its founding [conference] in Bloemfontein, some monarchs, King Dinizulu included, were appointed patrons of the movement.

“Dr John Langalibalele Dube and Pixley ka Isaka Seme worked very closely with the Zulu royal household. One of the ANC presidents, Chief Albert Luthuli, was an elected traditional leader,” said Xulu.

Another traditionalist academic, Ndela Ntshangase of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietemaritzburg, said the YCL call is surprising and that the organisation needs to explain itself.

“They have to come out and say what it is really that has gone wrong with the monarchy. Are they suggesting that we must do away with the monarchy?” asked Ntshangase.

The ANC in the province said the YCL’s call symbolises a lack of understanding of the important role played by the Zulu monarch in KwaZulu-Natal.

Provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said it is important for the YCL to understand the role of the kings before jumping to conclusions.

“The ANC maintains that the monarchy should not be undermined and must be recognised as an institution that is a symbol of the Zulu nation. Therefore we should always guard against ill-informed attacks.

“We remain positive that all our alliance partners will adhere to the culture of internal engagement that has guided this broad movement over all the years,” said Zikalala.




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