Mthwakazi is the traditional name of the original-Ndebele and Ndebele kingdom which existed in Zimbabwe until the end of the 19th century. Mthwakazi is also used to refer to inhabitants of Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in Zimbabwe.
The struggle in Mthwakazi under Rhodesia
After the 1893 invasion, Mthwakazi was ruled by white settlers. The “Rule by Conquest” after an invasion by the British South Africa Company mercenaries, which violated the Moffat Treaty of Peace and Unity: 188. The invasion was promulgated by Britain through the Royal Charter on 29 October 1889.
On 14 August 1893, at Fort Victoria in British Mashonaland Protectorate the British South Africa Company signed a secret contract called the Victoria Agreement pledging to give each member of the Pioneer Column “a free farm 6,000 acres with the title deed value of 9,000 sovereign pounds, 15 gold reefs, 5 gold alluviums, a share of looted cattle (600,000) one half going to the BSA Co another half being shared equal between officers and men, a share of the Kingdoms’ mineral consisting of two 20 liters tins of biscuit one full of pure gold with another one full of uncut diamonds all worth 10 million sovereign pounds and a provision of forced and cheap labour of the conquered people once Mthwakazi was conquered.”
On 18 July 1894, Britain promulgated the Matabeleland Order-in-Council, legitimizing the Victoria Agreement as the jurisdiction of ruling the Mthwakazi by conquest as well as the legal bases of the constitution of the “Rule by Conquest”. Once the Matabeleland Order-in-Council was in place, the British South Africa Company proceeded to expropriate all the fruitful lands from the inter-cultural society of Mthwakazi, dispossessed them of 600,000 cattle and any other valuable properties, displacing people by exiling them to the inhabitable two Native Reserves where they remained as forced and cheap labour.
The BSA Co promptly formed the government which imposed deprivation situations against the people of Mthwakazi and opportunity reservations for the rulers. The conquerors promulgated harsh laws including the Masters and Servants Act and made the conditions of forced and cheap labour unbearable. The culture and the traditional education system of Mthwakazi was broken down including the crucial support system that was based on the extended families and had assisted the people to help each other during hard times such as death, famine and disasters, were broken down during displacement. The society got disorganised followed by the personality disorganisation and permanent extreme poverty of the whole inter-cultural society of Mthwakazi.
In 1923, Britain promulgated the constitution of Racial Domination which ruled Mthwakazi jointly with Mashonaland and made the White people the constitutional rulers while it left the inter-cultural society of Mthwakazi without franchise. The racial domination ruled with violence and detentions without trial culminating in the 1970s liberation war which further displaced the people.