Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko has implored the nation to respect chiefs for the leading role they play as custodians of cultural heritage and tradition.
Addressing mourners at Regent Chief Dakamela of Nkayi’s funeral service at Matopo High School yesterday, VP Mphoko said: “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.
“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.”
VP Mphoko said although colonial settlers tried to curtail chiefs’ powers by introducing native commissioners (now district administrators), Government would continue to uphold the institution of chieftaincy.
He paid tribute to Chief Dakamela, describing her as a selfless and hard working servant of the people.
Zimbabwe Chiefs Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira said: “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.”
Born Hleziphi Dakamela in Mbada Village in Nkayi, the Regent Chief (73) died in her sleep while visiting her daughter in the United Kingdom.
She trained and worked as a teacher in Dakamela, and retired in 2004 — the same year she became regent chief, taking over from her brother, Khura Dakamela, who died in 2002. Chief Khura Dakamela’s son was supposed to have succeeded his father but he was a minor at the time. Chief Dakamela is survived by three children, and was laid to rest at Matopo Mission yesterday.
Among the dignitaries at the service were Chiefs Council deputy president Chief Lucas Mtshana Khumalo, Chief Mathupula, Chief Gampu of Tsholotsho, Chief Nyangazonke of Matobo and Chief Sikhobokhobo of Nkayi.