March 16, 2012

Campaign for the return of the Mzilikazi armband from V&A Museum

Posted at 6:08 pm in Similar cases

Campaigners in South Africa & Zimbabwe are asking for the return of the Mzilikazi armband by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The armband was taken from what was then Zululand in 1896.

Newsday (Zimbabwe)

‘We’ll recover Mzilikazi armband from UK museum’

The organisers of the King Mzilikazi commemorations to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, next month have said at this year’s event they will focus on the recovery of King Mzilikazi’s armband which is kept at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the United Kingdom.

“We will send a delegation of Mthwakazians to go and recover the king’s ornaments. The King’s armband was sacrilegiously taken off his body when it was exhumed by some barbaric fortune hunters in 1896,” the organisers said in a statement.

King Mzilikazi Khumalo’s descendants from Zululand will on Saturday September 10 join some Zimbabweans based in South Africa for the commemoration of the death of founding Ndebele nation leader in Johannesburg.

Historian Phathisa Nyathi could neither confirm nor deny the existence of Mzilikazi’s armband at a British museum, but said there is a report of a break-in to King Mzilikazi’s grave in the 1890s.

“Generally, it was the behaviour of the white, mostly fortune hunters, who knew about the customs of Africans to bury royals with the items they used, to loot these graves.

“In the 1890s there are people who vandalised his grave and there was a ceremony to appease his spirit. Black cattle had to be slaughtered. That incident is recorded in history, though it is not clear what they looted,” he said.

Nyathi said the “looting and desecrating” of African graves, especially royal ones, was rampant in the colonial era as this was the case with the supposed King Lobengula’s grave in Binga district, Mapungubwe in South Africa, Great Zimbabwe and Khami Ruins.

The organisers of the Johannesburg commemorations said eminent historians like Rhodes University history professor Julian Cobbing, University of South Africa (Unisa) professor Sabelo Gatsheni Ndlovu, and Misheck Matshazi, a history professor who wrote the book, Mthwakazi: The Birth of a Nation, will address the gathering.

“Moreover, this year there is a special invitation to all the Khumalo royal family through their Mzilikazi Cultural Association, plus for the first time ever, the appearance of the house of Prince Njube Lobengula Khumalo whose son, Rhodes Lobengula Khumalo formed the famous Highlanders Football Club in 1926.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Possibly related articles

Tags: , , , , , ,


  1. DR.KWAME OPOKU said,

    03.16.12 at 8:16 pm

    The delegation mentioned in the article would be well advised to submit also a written demand to the British Museum and the British Government. Such a demand should also be made available to the press and be posted on the internet.
    Kwame Opoku.

  2. sizwe said,

    03.29.12 at 8:53 am

    The campaign for the armband of King Mzilikazi is similar to the concept organised by the Lobengula Foundation based in the Eastern Cape, Grahamstown which is duly seeking the return of Njube Rhodes Lobengula remains to be buried back in Matopo Hills, with his ancestors including Mzilikazi. Anyone interested or seeking more information on the concept you can log on to the Youtube website and check the video on King Lobengula titled the “Roots”. Additional information is also available on articles concerning the return of Njube Lobengula.

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment

We want to hear your views. Be as critical or controversial as you like, but please don't get personal or offensive. Remember this is for feedback and constructive discussion!
Comments may be edited or removed if they do not meet these guidelines. Repeat offenders will be blocked from posting further comments. Any comment deemed libellous by Elginism's editors will be removed.
The commenting system uses some automatic spam detection and occasionally comments do not appear instantly - please do not repost comments if they do not show up straight away