Hlubi People: History
Although this dispersion explains why there are so many Hlubi chiefs spread disparately throughout Southern Africa, all paying allegiance to King Langalibalele II, who is headquartered in Estcourt, Natal, it is worth noting that the "Mthimkhulu" clan of Zimbabwe does not command a chieftaincy in Matabeleland, although they stand out as a proud, influential and cohesive group with immediate links to their origins in South Africa and Swaziland.
Norman Herd wrote that: “History records are inescapably dominated by the dramatic exploits of the Zulu. Yet the amaHlubi, one of the largest perhaps the largest of the eMbo had had their hour of greatness...at the beginning of the Nineteenth century the Zulus were a tiny insignificant clan and from their social pinnacle the amaHlubi could look down upon them as despised tobacco-sellers.”
King Dingiswayo of the Mthethwa confederation fled to King Bhungane to seek shelter when running away from his father's spear. King Bhungane as a well-known rain-maker and traditionalist passed his skills to Dingiswayo, who later used these skills to reclaim the throne when he returned to his people. This must have been the reason why Shaka, who grew under Dingiswayo's mentorship, never dared to attack amaHlubi though they were just a stone's throw away from his Zulu people. He always kept peace with amaHlubi and sought their advice on several military issues and is known to have asked for the help of their rain-making and traditional war medicine skills when going for a war. It is for this knowledge of traditional medicines and rain-making skills that amaHlubi were renowned as the "Mthimkhulu" clan. The name Mthimkhulu, is a conjugation of two Zulu words: "Umuthi" and "Omkhulu", which when taken collectively, translate to "Profound Medicine Portions".
The British government has returned the royal garments and chairs that it took from the Hlubi upon arresting their king in a big traditional gathering that was held in Ntabamhlophe in Natal.
Along with several other groups, the amaHlubi have lodged a request with the Nhlapho Commission now known as the Moleketi Commission to make a claim about the recognition of their king on a national level. They have also been involved on a massive drive to revive their heritage including the revival of their language. Their culture has been largely neglected by national heritage drives, in part because they are often seen as a subgroup of the Xhosa, Sotho and Zulu nations.
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