Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
VICE-PRESIDENT Phelekezela Mphoko has urged the nation to respect chiefs, saying they play a leading role as custodians of cultural heritage and tradition.
Addressing mourners at Matopo High School yesterday during the funeral service of the late Regent Chief Dakamela from Nkayi in Matabeleland North, VP Mphoko, said traditional leaders were important people who play a leading role in the preservation of the country’s heritage and culture.
“Chiefs are very important people in our communities as they are the custodians of our culture and heritage. Let us work with our traditional leaders and respect them,” he said.
VP Mphoko said although the colonial Government tried to curtail the powers of chiefs through the introduction of then native commissioners (now district administrators), the Government would continue to accord the institution of chiefs due respect as well as attending to their grievances.
“If you (chiefs) have anything you want from the Government let us know. In fact, there is a Ministry that is solely responsible for you through which you can channel your grievances,” he said.
VP Mphoko paid tribute to the late chief, describing her as a selfless and hardworking servant of the people. Born Hleziphi Dakamela, the Regent Chief, Mrs Dlodlo died in her sleep at the age of 73 at her daughter’s home in the United Kingdom where she had gone to visit. Zimbabwe Chiefs Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira spoke highly of the late Chief Dakamela whom she described as a humble, dedicated and intelligent leader.
“Chief Dakamela was a symbol of true African governance and ethos. She was an intelligent person who was also instrumental in the process of land reform in 2004 when she took over as regent chief,” he said.
The Regent Chief was born in 1944 in Mbada village in Nkayi. She trained and worked as a teacher in Dakamela until her retirement in 2004, the same year she became a regent chief, taking over from her brother Khura Dakamela who died in 2002.
Following Chief Khura Dakamela’s death, he was supposed to be succeeded by his son, but at that time his son was a minor, resulting in Chief Khura Dakamela’s sister being chosen as the regent chief.
The regent chief is survived by three children. She was found dead by her grandchildren more than two weeks ago in the UK as they prepared to go to school. She was laid to rest yesterday at Matopo Mission graveyard where her late husband Edward Dlodlo is also buried. Among those who attended the burial were the deputy president of the Chiefs Council, Chief Lucas Mtshane Khumalo, Chief Mathupula and Chief Gampu of Tsholotsho. Also in attendance were Chief Nyangazonke of Matobo District and Chief Sikhobokhobo of Nkayi among others.