The common narrative (+ the perspective of my cousin Nhlanhla) around Bhambatha’s rebellion reminds me of the stories my mother tells us about Ndoni KaMzoyi Khathi. Ndoni was a very colorful character in my mother’s childhood stories.
One of the stories that I find fascinating is his refusal to pay tax. In his words “mhla ngazthola ngiqhuzuka ngithola imali, ngiyoyikhokha ke intela”, this he would explain to anybody that the apartheid government would send to collect tax from him.
The idea that a person would
1. demand tax from you, out of the blue and take your cows as payment if you have no money.
2. use taxpayers’ money collected from natives to develop areas reserved only for people of European descent is more than absurd but down right evil.
It’s in response to this nonsense that Bhambatha had to revolt! He may have gone about it the wrong way but his heart was in the right place.
The taking away of assets (land and cattle) from the natives was no doubt to force them into slave labour. This is how we were forced to abandon our way of life. Our subsistence farming, hunter-gatherer and buttering systems were rendered null and void. But ke asiqhubekeni sizonde “abangaphandle” ngokusithathela amajobs ethu.
We fight over these jobs and hate fellow Africans for providing cheaper labor at ‘our expense’. I wish we could wake up, open our own enterprises and support each other instead of this ‘crabs in the bucket’ mentality.
That’s my 2 cents worth folks. Ciao!