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Matimu, VVX

Samora Moisés Maxele’s role in Tsonga History

Maxele (Xitsonga)/ Machel (Portuguese) / Mashele (Nguni & Sotho)

Samora comes from a powerful family in the Limpopo valley. His grandfather, Malengani (Magivelani) was a close friend of Magigwani Khosa. Malengani was in the same battalion as Magigwani, he was involved ka nyimpi against va ka Bingwani. After kuhluriwa ka va ka Bingwani le ka Bahule, Malengani was made a Ndhuna by Nghunghunyani, in a land south of Limpopo just opposite Chayimiti.

Malengani a ku ri ribulandlela, mara was not 100% loyal to Nghunghunyani. He was more close to Nkuyu Nxumalo, a powerful man who was in favour of Mawewe who opposed Nghunghunyani with N’waMucinga, the rebelious anti-Nghunghunyani Nxumalo princess.

As such, after the collapse of Gaza, Malengani did not run away with Mpisani. Malengani was related with the Nkuna, he was home.

Fast Forward to Samora’s Era

Malengani u veleki Mosi, kutani Mosi a veleka Samora (Malengani is the Father of Mosi, who is the Father of Samora).

Va ka Mashele, by the time ku velekiwa Samora were small scale commercial farmers, kind of a middle class rural family. Samora, just like Mondlani, was educated in Protestant schools. He could not get a place ka government schools because he refused to be baptized as a Catholic. The Catholic Church controlled government education back then. He then went to Maputo and studied as a nurse, and worked as such.

He married in Maputo before he joined Frelimo. After joining Frelimo, he had to leave Mozambique en route to Tanganyika. He stayed in Alexandra Township, and then via Botswana he went to join Frelimo in Tanganyika.

Samora was a Mozambican Nationalist, a Pan Africanist. His consciousness was beyond Tsonga ethnicism. Though he was partly influenced by the local dynamics, such as his grandfather fighting in the 1895 war (The Fall of Gaza) between Gaza and Portuguese army.

Samora, being close with Mondlani, was obvious aware of the dynamics of Tsonga identity. Mondlani was a psychologist and anthropologist, he commanded academic respect and like Samora, Mondlani was also from a family that had been subjects of Gaza. Therefore, both had “Mabulandlela status”. Going back to Tanganyika, during the war Samora met Josina Muthemba. She became his second wife; Josina came from the Bila clan (Tsonga), her family resisted Gaza rule and her brother was a well-known anti-Shangaan Ruler. In the war against Portuguese colonialism, he would say, “We were also colonised by the Nguni’s” – all of this could have impacted Samora.

After independence, with Samora as president, all traditional Rule was abolished. Remember Samora was from a family that held traditional authority, so he knew very well what he was abolishing. Then in 1985, in a nationalist drive, he went to Portugal to demand the remains of Nghunghunyani. Not because Nghunghunyani was legitimised as a king ya Vatsonga, but because he was historically recognised as an anti-colonial hero in a national and African history context. The remains were given to Samora, and are now lying in the Heroes’ Acre in Maputo. Nghunghunyani is declared a national hero among many others.

This has bolstered the ego of va ka Nxumalo in the context of present day Tsonga dynamics. Nghunghunayani is a national hero in two countries – South Africa and Mozambique. With Soshangani’s remains in Maputo Heroes’ Square, and a statue in Giyani, it was through the manipulation of history (lobbying obvious) that a monument was erected at Soshangani’s grave and declared a national historical site. However, monuments, statues and avenues do not validate claims made on historical lies.

When Samora abolished traditional authority, it was based on his Marxist conviction. He saw traditional authority as stumbling block to drive the country into social justice and development. In fact, he was right on that one. In less than 10 years, he had done much to develop the country but all was destroyed by the civil.

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Image: durban.gov.za

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