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Amahlubi People| The Nation Still Fighting For Kingship Status In South Africa

The amaHlubi speak a dialect closely related to the Swazi language one of the Tekela languages in the Nguni branch of the Bantu language family. According to historical evidence presented to the Commission on Traditional Disputes and Claims, amaHlubi originate from the Samburu and Shubu people found in present-day Kenya. They are a much older nation than either amaZulu or amaXhosa. The earliest known amaHlubi inkosi, who ruled the nation around 1300, was Chibe.

Thus, in about 1836, Langalibalele became king of the amaHlubi. Under the guidance of Zimane, the great man in the amaHlubi tribe, Langalibalele was circumcised and initiated into the rituals of the tribe. He then took his first wife. he later took another three wives.

During the reign of Langalibalele King of AmaHlubi. The tribe saw itself being removed from its original land by the British who wanted to take the guns of the amaHlubi tribe. This let to the Hlubi people scattering into parts of Eastern Cape and into Lesotho today.

The Hlubi (AmaHlubi) dialect is an endangered language. Most Hlubi speakers are elderly and illiterate. There are attempts by Hlubi intellectuals to revive the language and make it one of the eleven recognised languages in South Africa. Apart from the language the Hlubi people are also fighting for land and recognition in South Africa.

AmaHlubi leaders claim that their land stretches from Pietermaritzburg all the way to UMzinyathi, Income and some parts along the UThukela River. In 2010 the Commission on Traditional Leadership and Claims ruled that, in terms of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (2003, Act 41 of 2003). He said AmaHlubi do not have kingship and they don't have the kingship to be restored. The commission also found that amaHlubi are like several other indigenous peoples of South Africa with semi-independent entities, but not a kingdom.

As a result that issue technically reduced Langalibalele II to a chief under his more powerful neighbour, King Goodwill Zwelithini of amaZulu. If the amaHlubi people were not scattered all over South Africa. That could have prompted a high court challenge for recognition of the amaHlubi kingship succeeds next month.

But the aspirant monarch Inkosi Muziwenkosi Radebe (Langalibalele II) of amaHlubi is forging ahead with his legal bid to be accorded the same kingship status as that of amaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuZulu. They amahlubi claimed they have massive land in KwaZulu.

Langalibalele II of the amaHlubi whose indlunkulu, the royal homestead of emaHlutshini village is nestled in the KZN midlands about 40km away from the town of Estcourt is seeking the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to nullify the 2010 findings of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and claims.

Among the respondents in the matter were King Zwelithini, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, the Chairperson of KZN house of Traditional Leaders Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza and the amaZulu Royal House.

But the commission which became famously known as the Nhlapo Commission dismissed the kingship application by amaHlubi, citing in its report that the clan was the same as any other indigenous group living in South Africa and that they did not have a king.

This meant Langalibalele II was an Inkosi (traditional chief) paying his allegiance to Isilo Samabandla a reference to King Zwelithini. The amaHlubi nation then decided to approach the courts to overturn the decision by the Commission. Indeed AmaHlubi are facing a tough time to claim their land and kingship in KZN since 2010 and 2020.

Xolani Dube, KZN based political analyst said the challenge by amaHlubi was difficult to navigate through, saying that their desire to self-determination meant they should have their own land which is currently under the Ingonyama Trust managed by Ingonyama Trust board reporting to King Zwelithini.

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Amahlubi Chibe Samburu Shubu


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