Xiluva wishes to express its deep concern over the current existential crisis faced by Amakhosi [traditional leaders] in South Africa.
The crucial role of Amakhosi, in among others, preserving cultural heritage and promoting community development cannot be overstated.
Many communities that once relied on their leaders for guidance and decision-making are now turning away from them, as they look to modern institutions for support. This has left many traditional leaders struggling to find relevance in a changing world as they try to navigate this reality.
The role of Amakhosi is threatened by various factors such as urbanisation, Western modernisation, and the constitutional reforms which have brought about political decentralisation leading to a loss of community cohesion and the marginalisation of certain groups.
Modernisation – has introduced new ways of life, customs, and beliefs that have affected traditional systems,
While urbanisation – has created a new class of elites who see traditional rulers as a relic of the past. Additionally, the constitution has weakened the powers of traditional authorities, giving other political and legal structures more influence over rural communities.
These factors have eroded the authority and prestige of Amakhosi, making their role less influential.
Lest we forget, Amakhosi were initially responsible for governing their respective tribes and communities before the arrival of colonial powers. They played a vital role in the production, protection, and distribution of resources, as well as resolving disputes and maintaining order. They also upheld cultural practices and customs, in relation to Ubuntu which speaks to abantu, amasiko, and isintu.
We will take immediate action to reestablish the role of Amakhosi in communities. By recognising and empowering them once again, South Africa can promote greater social cohesion and build stronger, more inclusive communities for all.
We urge Amakhosi to take back their role in our communities. Their influence and guidance can help strengthen our eroding value system and ensure that our culture and heritage are preserved. It is time for you to reclaim your position and contribute to the development of our country.
Bongani Baloyi – leader of Xiluva political party.