By Sphelele Khumalo
See English Translation Further Down
‘Wonke umuntu makasukume enkantolo!’, wamemeza umgcini weNkundla ephakeme uMnumzane Dube ngesankahlu, phela kulenkundla kugcwele abantu abusuka ezindaweni eziningi. Kukhona abazokweseka umndeni ka Zabazendoda okuthiwa ubulawe ngu Baas Van Tonderr. Abanye bazozibonela mathupha lomuntu osakwazi ukubulala abantu ngesihluku esingaka kodwa sesiphila esikhathini senkululeko. Yilabo nalabo abaphethe amabhodi abhalwe ngokwehlukana, ‘uBaas makahambe kulendawo’, lapho abanye bephethe abhalwe ‘uBaas makashiswe’, ‘lomhlaba siyawuthatha’, ‘Onke amandla kumuntu omnyama’.
Abomndeni kaVan Tonderr nabo bakhona ukuzokweseka ilunga labo lomndeni, kepha babukeka bethukile ngenxa yalomphakathi ogane unwabu. Umndeni kaZabazendoda Xaba ngokuphelela kwawo ukhona. Lolusuku lufika emuva kwamasonto amabili emva kokuthi beyifihlile indodana emndenini. Emngcwabeni wakhe bekufike izikhulu zezombusazwe kanye namaKhosi imbala nezinduna. Kuthe ungaphela umngcwabo, sezihambile neziphathi mandla kwayilapho sekufakwa isixwayiso somhlangano ozokwenzeka okuyilapho kolungiselelwa khona ukuya eNkantolo ukuyokweseka umndeni. Yize umndeni nomphakathi ubusosizini ngalolusuku kufihlwa indodana, ebinekusasa elithembisayo kodwa yadutshulwa ngesihluku, bakwazile ukuyifihla ngesizotha futhi bathembisa ukulwela ubulungiswa bayo.
ENkantolo babukeka besashaqekile ilesehlakalo esenzeke enganeni yabo. Abamaphephandaba nezintatheli bagcwele enkundleni eNkulu kanti futhi izwe lonke liyazi ngasehlakalo.
Elinye lephephandaba eliphume ekuseni belibhalile kwikhasi lokuqala, ‘Iphepha langomsombuluko: Uyavela namuhla eNkantolo osolwa ngokubulala umfana oneminyaka ewu-16, emva kokuthi emthole ebhukuda edamini eliseduze neplazi lakhe’. Abantu baphume ngokuningi babo balibangisa enkundleni yeNkantolo. Ngumsombuluko, icala liqule ngezikhathi zasekuseni. Kanti imigwaqo eseduze neNkantolo ivaliwe ngoba amalungu omphakathi ebetoyi-toya endleleni eza eNkantolo. Ehamba ecula, ezinye zezingoma ebiziculwa bezizwakala zinobuhlungu obujulile kuzona. Into enjengalena ayiqali ukwenzeka kulendawo, ikakhulukazi kubantu abasebasha.
Ube esesukuma umsolwa washo konke afuna ukukusho. Wabe esecela inkantolo imthelele ngoba unokuzisola okukhulu. Lawomazwi ayihlokomise ngokukhulu inkantolo ngoba abahlali bavele bamemeza khona eNkundleni bethi makayozisola emva kweminyango yejele lana afanelwe ukuba khona.
‘Makube nokuthula eNkantolo!’ waphinda umphathi weNkantolo ngezwi lakhe elinesankahlu futhi. Baye bathula impela abomphakathi. Kulapho okucace khona ukuthi sekuyisikhathi iNkantolo yehlise isigwebo kulelicala eselidonse iminyaka emibili lixoxwa. Ngoba abashushisi beNkantolo kaHulumeni bebenzela ukuthi beqinisekise ukuthi umsolwa utholakala enecela futhi uzobhadla ejele impilo yakhe yonke. Kanti nabameli bakamsolwa nabo bebematasa bezama ukuthi iNkantolo imzwele, bese izwa ukuthi konke lokhu bekuyiphutha lapho umsolwa bezivikela khona eyitshena ukuthi ubona isigebengu eplazini lakhe.
Lapho okuthe kwabakhona isizotha eNkantolo, libe seliqala ukukhuluma Ijaji lenkantolo enkulu, Ijaji Mvukeliwezizwe Magoba. ‘Ecaleni eliphakathi kuka Hulumeni no Msolwa wokuqala, umnumzane Van Tonderr, ecaleni lokubulala, iNkantolo enkulu ikuthola ungenacala, abashushisi bahlulekile ukubeka ngokusobala ukuthi ubulale ngenhloso’ lingakaqedi nokuqeda nje ijaji, inkundla ivele yaba nomkhulu umsindo ovela kwabomphakathi. Kanti umaka Zabazendoda nodadewabo bavele basikhihla bona isililo. Kusenjalo, kubonakale beyishiya ngamunye ngamunye inkantolo ngoba kusobala ukuthi ibisiphinde yahluleka futhi ukugcina isithembiso sokwenza ubulungiswa kulabo ababulawa bengenzanga nelinye icala. Miningi imndeni esicule amagugu ngenxa yabaphathi bamaplazi abafana no Baas Van Tonderr. Lokhu bese kuyinto eyaziwayo ezweni lonke.
Lomphakathi obugane unwabu bekubonakala ngokusobala nje ukuthi uyafisa ukuzibambela mathupha ngezandla zawo lendoda esiphunyuke esandleni somthetho ecaleni lokubulala. Kodwa amaphoyisa ebeqaphe ngeso lokhozi ngaphandle eNkantolo kanti nangesibalo esifanayo ngaphakathi enkundleni. Kanti bebephethe ezinkulu lezi izibhamu ongazi ebengasho ukuthi baya empini yomhlaba. Yilelo nalelolunga lomphakathi belizibuza liyeka ukuthi kanti kungani impilo yomuntu omnyama ingathathwa njengebalulekile kulenkululeko yentando yeningi?
Omunye uze wamemeza ngamazwi aphekezelwa zinyembezi uma abezindaba bembuza ukuthi uzizwa njani ngesinqumo senkantolo ‘iNkantolo ikubeke kwacaca namuhla ukuthi izingane zethu zisazobulaliswa okwezilwane, nathi imbala kusazoba njalo, okubuhlungu kakhulu ukuthi noma sesibulewe, isihluku esibuluwa ngaso nokuphuma komphefumulo wethu akubona ubufakazi okwanele ukuze kugwebwe labo abasibulala ngesihluku’. Omunye uye wabeka kwacaca ukuthi yena isinqumo senkantolo usizwile kodwa ngokubona kwakhe umphakathi kumele uthathe isinyathelo ukuze ufezekise isithembiso sobulungiswa owasenza mhla kufihlwa uZabazendoda.
Emva kwesikhathi esingamahora amathathu, amalunga omphakathi engaphandle kwenkantolo ecula izingoma eziveza isihluku sokubulawa kwamalunga awo, aye athatha isinqumo sokuthi kumele kube khona umhlangano namuhla ngehora lesikhombisa lapho kodingidwa khona izinyathelo malunga nokuthola ubulungiswa kukamufi. Kumenywe bonke abomphakathi, iziphathi mandla kwezombusazwe nabaholi bezomdabu kulomhlangano, nabefundisi babiziwe kanti futhi abambalwa bebekhona nabo enkundleni yeNkantolo.
Ngehora lesikhombisa uye waqala umhlangano, wavulwa ngomthandazo yize iningi labebekhona ikakhulukazi intsha, ibisifisa ngabe kuvele kwahlalwa odabeni olushisayo nje. Emva kwamahora amane kudingidwa lokudaba, umphakathi ube usuvumela ukuthi yize iNkantolo ingabenzanga ubulungiswa kepha umphakathi uwodwa wona uzokwenza isiqiniseko ukuthi buyaba khona. Yilapho okuthathwe khona isinqumo sokuthi umphakathi uwonke, ngosuku lwakusasa uzothatha indlela ebheke eplazini lika Baas Van Tonderr.
Nangempela ezintathakusa kwaba njengoba bekuthathwe isinqumo ebusuku. Amalunga omphakathi aphuma ngobuningi bawo. Kwathi uma befika eplazini bathatha yonke imfuyo yakhona. Kanti uBaas Van Tonderr yena ebesezwile ngomoya ukuthi izakhamuzi azisamfuni kulendawo emva kwesehlakalo, bathena befika kwabe sekukhala ibhungane ehambe washiya yonke into. Konke lokhu kwenzeka ngoba ehambe ngokubaleka kanti vele amalunga omphakathi ambophele amanqina enyathi. Emva kokuthi bethathe yonke into eplazini, abahlali belishisile leliplazi ngokusho okuthi kugezwa imimoya encolile lena okuyiyona ebiyenza ukuthi kube khona abantu abangenanhliziyo nanembeza abafana no Van Tonderr.
Lasha lonke lanqonqa kanjalo ke leliplazi, emva kwesikhathi kwafika abezindaba kanye nabahlezi befika emva kwendaba, amaphoyisa. Afika nje amaphoyisa ahamba nezicishamlilo, kodwa kwasho khona ukuthi bonke bafika selidume ladlula. Inkosi yomdabu kulendawo ibe isinquma ukuthi leliplazi kusukela namuhla losetshenziswa ukwakha ukuphila komphakathi. Kuyothi makuhamba isikhathi futhi nolaka selwehlile ebantwini bese liyavuselelwa kuba ngelomphakathi uwonke. Lokhu kuye kwawuthokozisa umndeni wakwaXaba yize indodana ibingeke isabuya, kodwa ubulungiswa kutholakele.
Bathena abezindaba uma bebuza uMfundisi oseduze nabo obeyinxenye yamalungu omphakathi afike entathakusa ukuthi kahle kahle kwenzekeni kulendawo, lapho amalangabi ebesavuthela phezulu, wabe esephendula ngesineke uMfundisi uNdlovu, wathi ‘uVan Tonderr ufezekisiwe kuyena umbhalo osencwadini kaMathewu isahluko sesithathu evesini leshumi nanye. Ufezekile umbhalo kaNkulunkulu.
‘Ephephandabeni lwangolwesibili ekuseni, kwikhasi lokuqala bekubhalwe kanjena, ‘Umphakathi wakwaVukamtshene uzithathele ezandleni zawo ekufezekiseni ubulungiswa kulona owaphunyuka kwisandla somthetho ngecala lokubulala umfana wakwaXaba, eVukamtshene, isigodi kwaKhuzezinye’.
The Story of Baas Van Tonderr and Matthew
‘All rise in court!’, said the sheriff of the High Court, Mr Dube with a harsh voice. The High Court was packed with people from various places. Others came to support the family of Zabazendoda, who was allegedly killed by Baas Van Tonderr. Some other people came to see this person who brutally killed the young men during the time of democracy. There were people who were holding placards with different messages. Other placards were written ‘Baas must leave this place’ while others were written ‘Baas must be burned’ ‘We are taking back the land’ ‘ Power of black people’.
The family of Van Tonderr was also present in court to support him. They seemed terrified because the community members were furious. All the family members of Zabazendoda Xaba were also present. The court date came two weeks after they buried their son. His funeral was attended by politicians, Chiefs and Kings. As soon as the funeral was over, a notice was issued of the upcoming meeting in which arrangements were made to go to court to support the family. Although the family and community members were in deep sorrow because of the death of their son, who had a promising future but was brutally murdered. They buried him with dignity and they promised to fight for justice.
During the court proceedings they looked shocked because of what happened to their son. Various newspapers and journalists were also present at the court, and the whole country was aware about the gruesome murder.
One newspaper that was published on that Monday morning was written, ‘He is appearing in court today on charges of killing a 16-year-old boy, after he found him swimming in a dam near his farm’. People came out in numbers to hear the court proceedings. The court case began early on Monday morning. All the streets that are close to the court were blockaded by protesting community members. They were singing songs that were expressing their sorrow. Incidents similar to this one were not something new among particularly to young people.
The accused stood up and said everything that he wanted to say. He begged the Judge to forgive him because he had great remorse. Those words from him caused a commotion in the court. The community members said he deserves to be in jail.
‘Peace in the Court!’, said the Court sheriff in his harsh voice again. The public kept quiet. It was now the time for the court to release judgement for the case that has been pending for two years. The prosecutors were trying to make sure that the accused is found guilty and would spend the rest of his life in prison. The lawyers of the accused were also busy trying to ask the court to forgive him because he was trying to defend himself. He thought he saw a criminal on his farm.
There was a silence in the court and Judge Mvukeliwezizwe Magoba said, ‘the case is between the state and the first accused Mr Van Tonderr with a murder case. The High Court found you not guilty. The prosecutors failed to present enough evidence that you killed him intentionally’ Before the Judge finished speaking there was an uproar in the court coming from the community members. His mother and sister wept bitterly. They left the courtroom one by one because the court failed to keep its promise and to do justice to those who are killed without doing any evil. Many families went through similar situations because of farm owners like Baas Van Tonderr and it is known across the country.
Angry community members wanted to kill Van Tonderr after he was found not guilty by the Judge, but there were presents of the police in and outside of the court. They were holding big guns as if they were going to the war. Community members were asking themselves why the life of a black person is not considered in this democracy?
One of the community members shouted with her eyes full of tears when she was asked by a journalist about the court decision. ‘The court made it clear today that our children will be murdered like animals, including us, and the sad thing is that even though we are being murdered, there’s no justice.’
Another community member said she heard the court decision, but she wants the community to take this matter into their own hands for the justice to be served for Zabazendoda.
Three hours later, the members of the community were outside the court chanting songs depicting the brutality of the killings of their members. They then held a meeting today at 7 pm to discuss steps to find justice for the deceased. All the members of the community, political authorities and traditional leaders were invited to the meeting.
At seven o’clock the meeting began and it was opened with prayer, although most of those who were present, particularly the youth, were rushing for the outcomes of the meeting. After four hours of deliberations, the public agreed that although the court had not done justice to them, only the public would make sure it did. During that meeting, the decision was made that the whole community, on the next day, would go to Baas Van Tonderr’s farm.
Early in the morning, as they all had agreed during the night. Members of the public came out in large numbers. When they got to the farm, they took all the live stock. Baas Van Tonderr heard that the villagers didn’t want to see in that area after what he did, and when the community members got into the farm, they did not find him.
All of this happened because community members were eager to meet him after they took everything from his farm, the community members set the farm alight, claiming that the evil spirits were being chased away, which was the cause of heartless and unscrupulous people like Van Tonderr.
The whole farm burnt down and the media arrived at the scene after the fire was over. The police arrived with firefighters, but they were also late. The traditional chief in the area then decided that the farm would be used change the lives of the villagers The Xaba family was happy about the decision even though they will never see their son again, but justice was served.
The media asked the pastor who was one member of the community what had really happened in the area, when the flames were still raging, and pastor Ndlovu replied patiently saying, ‘Van Tonderr has been fulfilled in Matthew chapter 3 verse 11. God’s word is fulfilled’.
The newspaper that was published on Tuesday morning on its front page was written ‘The community of Vukamtshene has taken it upon themselves to get justice with Xaba’s boy who was murdered brutally.
Sphelele Khumalo is a young black man in his mid-20’s. He identifies with the political block that seeks to do away with all that’s left of colonialism in South Africa and Africa in extension. He spends most of his time reading African literature, ranging from decolonial thought to black liberation theology. Currently, he lives in his hometown, Mtubatuba and is enrolled with UNISA for BA Studies majoring in Philosophy and Politics.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Vernac News.