Chief Tategulu, the soft-spoken youthful traditionalist

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter

WHEN Tategulu was installed as Chief at the age of 21, it soon dawned on him that wearing shorts and vests and courting women in public was something taboo.

He was now the father of the area and everything that his peers could do without a thought, he had to think twice.

Chief Tategulu was now the custodian of his people’s culture despite his age and he had to uphold it.

Born Nhlonipho Brilliant Moyo on July 22, 1990, Chief Tategulu succeeded his father, Marko Moyo, who died on  June  1, 2005.

He did his primary education at Mahole Primary School near his homestead, about 40 kilometres west of Tsholotsho Centre and completed his Ordinary Level at Northlea High School in Bulawayo in 2008.
Chief Tategulu is married and has six children.

Northlea High School

Speaking to the Chief, one has to listen attentively as he uses a soft tone as he discusses his life and 11-year reign since his installation.

He said he realised that he had to act like an adult when he was young and even courting his wife, he had to do it surreptitiously.

“I no longer wear vests or shorts as a chief, it’s not allowed. Whatever I do I should not do it in public like when I courted my wife,” said Chief Tategulu at his homestead in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North province.

He said he had to send an emissary to ask for his now wife’s number.

“Long ago, it was arranged, but now as a Chief, I can choose. I met her at Tsholotsho Business Centre, in fact, I saw her. I then asked one of my aides to ask for her number and then we started talking.

“It’s done like that because if you approach a woman and try to court her and she spurns you in public, that’s embarrassing. It’s better that she tells you in private, it’s more respectable for a chief,” said Chief Tategulu.

He vividly remembers the first case he presided over in his court so many years ago.
“The chief’s court sits on Wednesdays mostly and handles at most six cases, but if there are many, it extends to Monday and Friday. My first case that I presided over as a Chief was when a herd of cattle broke a fence and destroyed someone’s millet crop.

The suspects were arrested and brought to court but in their defence, they asked the complainant to show the markings on the cows as proof that they belonged to them. The man didn’t know the markings,” said Chief Tategulu.

He said days after deliberations he called villagers from the area where the crime was committed.
“I said the cows that ate the millet in the complainant’s field were from their village, but do not have owners. So, the fine must be paid by the village,” said Chief Tategulu.

“The villagers didn’t want to pay and I said since they didn’t want to tell or come forward with information as to whose cattle they were, the fine will be paid by the whole village. They agreed and the complainant was given compensation for his loss.”

Chief Tategulu says he lives a normal life now, save for his duties that have become routine and finds time to spend with his wife and children.

“I wake up in the morning and be in my homestead and wait for those who want to see me about different issues.

“Then when I leave, a police detail will be left here, to take down who would have arrived when I’m not around.

“The different reports will then be looked at when I return and then find a day when we can sit down with the people and see how we can help them,” said Chief Tategulu.

The Chief’s homestead last week hosted a rain-making ceremony.

“Our culture as black people is very important, we should know where we came from. Our ancestors give us blessings hence we shoud find time to thank them,” said Chief Tategulu.

He said he wants to complete his installation through a traditional ceremony next year at the Njelele shrine.

The Njelele Shrines

“The installation by the Minister or President, while it’s important, it’s not enough. So, when I was installed, it was a white man’s ceremony and I have to go to Njelele to be installed traditionally and that’s what’s going to happen next year,” said Chief Tategulu.

“A bull is slaughtered and the chief is anointed with its bile, its meat eaten, people then drink traditional beer and dance the whole night. This process will complete my installation.”

Chief Tategulu said he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps as he was engrossed in culture and tradition

Chief Tategulu’s chieftaincy started in Nyamandlovu where the community was based during the time of King Mzilikazi.

King Mzilikazi

Sigabada approached King Mzilikazi and asked for a place in Nyamandlovu and his people became a force in the king’s army and were nicknamed Inyoka kaTategulu.

Tategulu had four wives and one of the wives, MaMlalazi, bore a son Guduza, who only had girls and his brother Gibide became chief when he died.

Chief Gibide’s brother Mahole was the first to settle in the Mahole area in Tsholotsho from Nyamandlovu in 1936 hence the name of the area.

After Chief Mahole’s death, Tategulu became chief and later handed power to Sihweba, Chief Guduza’s son, who was later removed by whites.

The Tategulu family sat and chose Mbunjwa who was working at the DA’s office in Tsholotsho as chief and because of his commitments, appointed Mswigana to act on his behalf. Chief Mswigana gave back the chieftainship to the Sihweba house and when he was old, resulting in the appointment of Marko Moyo, Nhlonipho’s father.

Chief Tategulu said their original surname was Mhlanga as they originated from eMhlangeni in South Africa.

“I used to see how he supported amaHosana and I just followed in his footsteps. However, I don’t discriminate, those in the Christian faith are welcome because they are under my jurisdiction. We also encourage them to support traditional ceremonies,” said Chief Tategulu.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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