Mzimba Heritage Association has described the death of Inkosi ya Makosi M’mbelwa 1V as a dark cloud falling on the Ngoni of Mzimba.
M’mbelwa IV died on Tuesday at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre after suffering from diabetes. He was initially admitted to Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, but was moved to Blantyre after his condition could not improve.
Mzimba Heritage secretary Aupson Thole said the late M’mbelwa IV revolutionalised the way Mzimba was being managed while maintaining cultural identity.
“When we talk about M’mbelwa, we talk about the founders of Mzimba. When the British protectorate came here, Mzimba was a country on its own under the leadership of M’mbelwa IV,” said Thole.
He praised the late chief for preserving the cultural identity of the Ngonis and also preaching peace and unity in the district.
According to Thole, M’mbelwa also respected all the treaties that were signed, one of which was between the Ngoni and the Free Church of Scotland.
He also improved the relationship between the Ngoni of Mzimba and Mpezeni of Zambia.
“But one thing that we will never forget is the establishment of Mzimba Heritage which helped to maintain the Ngoni culture. Again, he revived traditional activities such as umtheto which is being done annually,” said the secretary.
He, however, admitted that the chief faced some tough times such as when the country changed to multiparty democracy.
Asked whether his death would bring likely partition of Mzimba which he strongly objected to, Thole said it was not M’mbelwa IV that rejected the partition, but the Constitution.
“He was only upholding the Constitution which objected to any move that might divide the Ngoni. It was not him as a person who was against the idea,” said Thole.