Matobo Hills Through The Eyes Of A Shuttle Driver
Like every other Zimbabwean, Given Ngulube loves to call himself by his totem.
He refers to himself endearingly as “uMkhwebu, uJama, uMabuya”, a personification of the wit and sociability of a swine/pig.
His totem is a pig and it is for this reason that he does not eat pork.
A totem is an animal, plant or natural object serving among certain tribal or traditional peoples as the emblem of a clan.
Upholding such high totemic traditions tells that Given is proud of his Ndebele identity, culture and heritage.
As a proud native of Matobo, he says he chose to work in the hills because he adores the area.
“Matobo has a lot of hills and the views from the summit of the hills are breath-taking,” explains Given.
He is a shuttle driver @Matobohillslodge, the man you can count on to pick you up from Bulawayo City or even the airport and take you to Matobo National Park.
Given was born in Matobo, in the Dula area and attended Matopo Mission School, which is in the vicinity of Mzilikazi’s grave.
Mzilikazi Khumalo ( c. 1790 – 9 September 1868) was a king who founded the Matabele Kingdom now known as Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. His name means “the great road”.
Many consider Mzilikazi to be the greatest Southern African military leader after the Zulu king Shaka. In-fact, Mzilikazi was originally a lieutenant of Shaka but had a quarrel with him in 1823 and rebelled. Rather than face ritual execution, he fled northwards with his followers.
King Mzilikazi’s grave is on the site of his former royal town, Mhlahlandleia, according to the ZimFeildGuide.com. The memorial was unveiled by Sir Herbert Stanley, the Governor of Southern Rhodesia, on 17th June 1941.
The Inscription on Mzilikazi’s memorial reads: “Mzilikazi, son of Shobana, the Matabele hail you. The Mountain fell down on 5 September 1868. All nations acclaim the son of Shobana. Bayete.”
The memorial was built beneath the tree where Mzilikazi held court, met many of the early European travellers to this country and conducted the affairs of state. However, the Indaba tree died because people used to strip off its bark, which they believed had curative powers.
Given opines that Mzilikazi’s final resting place in the Matobo Hills is special, particularly to the Ndebele because “it’s important for people to know where their ancestors lie.”
For Given, it’s imperative for the local community to visit the memorial so that they appreciate the culture of their ancestors.
He adds that, “When travellers visit Matobo, they want to appreciate history of the Ndebele people, that’s where their legacy lives.”
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