How whites undermined black leadership


AFRICANS have been victimised in a very subtle way by accepting to be called ‘natives’ and their leaders ‘chiefs’.
The terms ‘native’ and ‘chief’ are colonial terms foisted on the indigenous people and their kings respectively.
The monarchs of England, France and Belgium, among others, were behind the imperialistic explorations of their people who embarked on numerous colonial expeditions in the 19th Century.
They recognised their own monarchs as ‘kings’ and ‘queens’ and not the indigenous rulers they encountered.
Strategically, they reduced kingdoms to chiefdoms and we shall see what the difference is.
First, we shall look at the term ‘kingdom’ as it is used in the field of biology.
There is a hierarchy of biological classifications called ‘taxonomic ranks’.
They go in the following descending order; domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and specie.
A kingdom is second only to a domain.
Besides the animal and plant kingdom, scientists also recognise bacteria, archaebacteria, protozoa and fungi as kingdoms.
Plants and animals are of the same domain called eukaryotes which is Greek for true (eu) and (karyon).
It refers to organisms made up of cells with a nucleus around a membrane.
Humans and other mammals are related to reptiles, birds and fish in that they all have a vertebrate column and skull.
They thus belong to the phylum or branch called ‘chordata’.
Some members of the mammal class are of the primate order because they have high intelligence.
These include humans and apes.
They belong to the hominid family which can stand upright. Humans, however, are of the homo genus which means they characteristically stay upright and walk erect unlike other apes that walk on all fours though they can occasionally stand upright.
The species of modern humans is called homo sapiens and is predated by other humans and not apes.
However, we have common branches, classes, orders, families and genus with certain animals like apes.
The common classification is owed to physiological similarities such as the existence of a spine, mammalian traits of giving birth as opposed to laying eggs, or primacy which is determined by high intelligence and hand dexterity.
The field of genetics has proved that the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in a specie is inherited from its parents and ancestors and does not change to the extant of causing a specie to assume a different genus other than its own.
A chocolate cake recipe cannot produce a bowl of rice because of the varying ingredients and methods of preparation.
The same applies to the DNA of species which is a recipe for their kind.
The 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans are arranged in a specific way which ensures we come out with typical human characteristics like standing erect, having no fur and tail, walking on one foot at a time and being able to speak.
Even a chimpanzee with 24 pairs of chromosomes lacks some of these characteristics because though carrying a similar chromosome count, the recipes are not meant to produce the same species.
This has been the case since the beginning of time.
Mother nature does not create the same species twice.
From the one archetype of a specie comes many more related ones owing to climatic adaptation, mutation and miscegenation. This explains the emergence of the Mongoloid, Indian, Arab, Latino and Caucasian races from the original black race in humans.
It is ironic that the West has acknowledged the kingdoms of plants, animals, bacteria, archaebacteria and fungi to the extent of identifying their subclades and so on.
Yet they have tried to eliminate all kingdoms among mankind besides their own by subjugating their kings, converting them, stripping them of their authority and replacing them with ceremonial chieftainships, if anything at all.
This is owed to their barbarian ancestry which moulded their barbaric nature of taking things by force.
It is clear that a cat cannot try to rule over dogs even if it defeats the alpha male of the pack.
They do not speak the same language, have different mannerisms and a host of other factors that do not allow this to happen.
Yet the white race found it proper to strip the black race of their traditional leadership in kings during the colonial period.
In the same way biologists recognise the taxonomy of species, the world must recognise the role of African kings in leading the numerous kingdoms that make up the nations of Africa.
African kingdoms are typically founded in the following manner: A man becomes great, either through military prowess, ordained priesthood or royal ancestry.
That man is made leader of his kinsmen and conceives children of royal blood.
The royal family grows over time and so does the number of kinsmen who fall under the monarch’s hegemony.
After the death of the king, one of his sons, traditionally the first one, succeeds him.
Kings are given authority over the land and people of the kingdom.
They speak their language, follow their culture and are related to the people they rule.
They have a mandate to rule by heritage and are believed to be guided by God (Mwari).
They are given taxes by their people and the royal purse resembles the wealth of the kingdom.
This is a powerful figure who is not replaceable till his death, and can only be succeeded by fellow princes of the same kingdom.
On the other hand, to be chief simply means to be a leader of a native community.
These were typically influential medicine men, kings who co-operated with settlers or inviolable kings whom whites failed to conquer.
Chiefs in colonial Zimbabwe were placed under a District Administrator (DA) who was white.
The white DA would address the chief who would in turn address the natives of the land.
In some cases, the chiefs were not of royal blood but were picked on the grounds they co-operated well with the colonial regime.
Efforts to simply convert tribal kings to the whiteman’s religion and subdue the people under their hegemony proved difficult. This was attempted by Goncalo da Silveira who failed to convert the Mutapa King in the 17th Century.
Reducing the kingdoms to chiefdoms became the new strategy. Kings who resisted were fought and killed along with their heirs unless they stopped resisting.
If they began to co-operate, they would be made chiefs but their powers would be greatly reduced.
A tribal leader is called ‘mambo’ and ‘ishe’ in Shona and this literally means ‘king’ and ‘lord’ respectively.
The word ‘chief’ merely means ‘leader’ or ‘head’, which is a less prestigious title meant to undermine the authority of indigenous monarchs.
Translating the word ‘chief’ to ‘mambo’ or ‘ishe’ is a deliberate mistranslation.
Kingship is traceable, just like the taxonomy of a species.
When a king is being anointed, his ancestry comes into question. Is he a member of the tribe, a descendant of the king, from which lineage, which clan and which family and so on?
This is similar to how the Hebrew Israelites anointed kings only from Israel, and then only from the lineage of Solomon, the son of David.
In colonial times, when non-Israelite kings like the Herodians ruled over Judea, the racial, linguistic and cultural differences caused many to not recognise them as kings.
Thus the resultant remembrance and search for a descendant of David to be king, which made the Herodian kings pursue the life of Yahshua who had Solomonic ancestry.
In conclusion, kings had a key role in the traditional African systems of governance which were upset by the coming of whites.
They were authority figures and the top custodians of their people’s culture and heritage.
Contemporary chieftainships are largely ceremonial and ought to be enriched by at least returning to calling our traditional leaders kings and their hegemonic spheres kingdoms as opposed to chiefs and chiefdoms.


  1. There were no District Administrators during the white rule. Rhodesia had District Commissioners, and we changed the title after independence.


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