Following the recent commemorative festivities around the Battle of Isandlwana in the KwaZulu Natal province, eShowe-born music star, historian and heritage enthusiast – Mbuso Khoza, will bring the 5th edition of the Isandlwana Lecture from 24 – 26 February to Gauteng Province at the State Theatre in Pretoria. The Isandlwana Lecture was initiated by Khoza half a decade ago, accompanied by the Afrikan Heritage Ensemble (an acapella group comprising 18 musos). “When I presented the first lecture, I had especially great expectations.
As a lover of history, heritage and culture, as well as music, I toyed with the idea of presenting a lecture, but it had to be something that Africa as a whole would partake in. I have always regarded the Isandlwana Battle victory as a triumph for us all as a continent. I then decided to stage a lecture that was music driven with the narration of the past fused with the present, to provide an idea of what the battle of Isandlwana meant for the nation and the continent. Year-on-year we received massive support from patrons, corporates and the public sector, and we are excited about the milestone we’ve reached,” says Khoza, brains behind the Isandlwana Lecture.
44 years ago on 22 January, in the shadow of an imposing rocky outcrop called iSandlwana, the bloodiest defeat inflicted on the British Army during the Victorian age took place. The Anglo-Zulu war has not been a cricket match in which evenly matched sides had met up in fair play and the best side had won. It had been an unequal struggle between an industrialised nation with the best weapons the technology of the age could provide and a people fighting for their country with little more than raw courage to sustain them. Even though the particular battle was won by the inspired Zulu warriors, the subsequent revenge killings by the British would prove the most paralyzing for the Zulu and the rest of the black people of southern Africa.
The vanquished lost not only the lives of thousands, their indigenous political institutions, the centres of their political administration, many ordinary homes and thousands of cattle. In the main, the Zulu lost their independence and the very fabric of their way of life. Nothing for the Zulu would be the same again. This year’s Battle of Isandlwana Lecture edition, Khoza reenacts (in a true musical fashion) the lives and times of Zulu patriots like Ntshingwayo ka Mahole and Mehlokazulu ka Sihayo under King Cetshwayo and professional British soldiers such as Anthony Dunrnford and Charlie Harford – the men who were at the human heart of the savage and iconic Anglo-Zulu War by examining the songs –Amahubo – composed and practised during that moment in history.
Using the language of the music, Khoza with the Ijadu le Afrika choir presents not only a gripping picture of the pressures that drove both sides to a terrifying and bloody confrontation but a definitive history of the battle that has shaped the political fortunes of not only the Zulu people but of the entire African population in this part of the world to this day. Khoza’s lecture is not merely a nostalgic relook at the victorious and the vanquished. It is a call for the descendants of Isandlwana conquerors to seek to reclaim their losses by carefully appraising their approach to life. All holy cows are destroyed as Khoza challenges Africans to be wary of institutions that tend to perpetuate the inequalities that began to characterize all political life in the aftermath of Isandlwana.
From churches to amadlozi, Khoza is equally scathing of major dogmatic leanings that have seen the African people embracing all solutions on offer in the scramble to make meaning of life since Isandlwana. If the content and theme of the lecture sounds a tad uncomfortable, the lilting conveyance of the message in the music will soothe all rough edges as Khoza expertly leads the powerful and well-trained troupe of Ijadu le Afrika Ensemble in song and narration. The show is a must-see for all those in continuous search of their true identity and those who are prepared to re-imagine life after more than a century of colonialism. The Isandlwana Lecture makes a strong case for a deep introspection by the nation if a new order is to be established
To be a part of this edifying moment book your tickets from webtickets or Pick ‘n Pay outlets.