Isandlwana Lecture

The multi-talented Mbuso Khoza brought a narrative of an historical event that raised eyebrows internationally and captivated the audience with the timeless remarkable story that still startles many to this day.
Recently held at the Soweto Theatre, the musical play displays a rich colourful cultural re-look at tribal narratives, rhythmic dance moves, high and low pitches summed up by Amahubo, the songs of praise evoking the strong African spirit and heritage.
At the beginning of a winter chill the lecture could have made a stunning firewood story-telling in the backdrop of a rural abode amid a blend of animal and insect sounds under the vast African sky.
As the curtain opens, actor and poet Mondli Makhoba ushers in an authoritative poem signifying a magnificent figure clad in powerful regal entrenching a cultural victory synonymous with the victory of the powerful Zulu regiment at the battlefield conquering the English soldiers at Isandlwana. According to legend the battle lasted from 22 January to 4th July, 1879 in the northern parts of KwaZulu Natal next to a mountain that is shaped like a Zulu hut – Isandlwana!
Mbuso begins by reminding the audience about the great King Shaka’s prophesy about a time when his people would experience the loss of their economic structure, which was livestock and their own land. Bayete! Hail to the king!
As an historical account and legacy, cultures are born but with the passing of time, the practice dies down. We safeguard the heritage as an inheritance from those who came before us and not just making money but having a clear view of where we’re going as Africans!
Mbuso puts emphasis that the lecture is not a Zulu narrative but African, as all tribes are faced with common problems in today’s times. With the theme “love for self will enable one to do better for self.” We must shy away from tribalism as we are interrelated in culture, religion, our way of worship and economic suppression.
As songs of our folklore tackles the times of yesterday and today, Mbuso’s subtle tenor provokes both imagination and suspense as he leads his young energetic performers in song, with distinct meritorious captivating choreography. He also relates on the dialects that affected phonetics and significantly altered clan names with the passing of time.
Teacher, musician and producer, Musa Mhlongo allayed parallels of the ‘Amahubo’ that remain distinct in their renderings in all African languages and that cannot be compared to the usual hymn notes brought about from the colonial era.
We have our own ways of saying prayers and making intercession when experiencing troubles. The analogy is that the whole village practiced that before the warriors went to battle. And more so imbizos were organised from different household clans to organise structures of battle and tactics. A correlation in present times that we need to fight our battles tactically, taking one another forward.
He further narrated that the African drum uGhubu or uMakhwela, the when played, sicknesses were healed including terminal diseases, through the vibrations and frequencies going into the spirit and through the flesh. And spiritual nourishment meant reaching the god level of who you are, the ability to see things ahead of time. The beauty and splendour of how we perceive God. Not only in the context of religion but in the entirety of creation, the mountains, valleys, seasons, etc, and the uniqueness of our very essence of being!

Jerry Sokhupe Soweto Sunrise News