HomeOpinion & AnalysisJulius Malema is of Jewish ancestry!

Julius Malema is of Jewish ancestry!

THIS week’s piece was supposed to scrutinise the symbiotic relationship between the Ndebele and Tonga tribes, which is believed to be backdated to more than 100 years ago.

travelling & touring:with Burzil Dube

According to tradition, this centred at some sacred place in Binga where cultures of these two tribes were put to the test and both prevailed.

Very few people have dared to visit this place as it is considered to be sacred unless one is accompanied by local elders.

While yours truly was in the process of putting together some nitty-gritties of this interesting piece on cultural tourism, another intriguing Lemba/Remba issue emerged north of the Limpopo River.

This may in future continue to send tongues wagging because my previous articles on how the Lemba consider themselves to be among the biblical 12 Tribes of Israel continue to cause controversy.

Just a brief recap about this hallowed tribe.

The Lemba tribe, who are also called VaMwenye (in Mozambique, (Remba in Zimbabwe) and Ba Sena (from Sena), are also called Mushavi, which is the other name term for expert traders.

Talking of the name Mushavi, which is the gist of this week’s article, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) president Julius Malema recently disclosed that he is a descendant of the biblical Jews.

Addressing scores of EFF supporters in South Africa recently, Malema said he was a Mushavi and a descendant of the Black Jews.

“One day I will tell you why I’m Mushavi.

“Mushavi are black Jews…“I will explain why I am a Black Jew because we come from very far. Where these Jews claim they come from, that is where we (Black Jews) come from as well,” said Malema.

He went on to state that original Jews are black and there was no need to speak bad about the Mushavi (Black Jew) because an individual ought to know his or her origins.

Malema also assured his supporters that the day would come when he will provide a detailed account of his Jewish descendancy.

There has been intense debate within the Lemba community in Zimbabwe as well as in South Africa on whether Malema is a Jew or it was just some form of rumour.
His public admission could somehow put the matter to rest.

Yours truly is patiently waiting for the day when Juju, as Malema is popularly known, will provide the detailed background concerning this Lemba issue.

During my previous articles concerning this interesting cultural tourism story, yours truly tried to elucidate how the Lemba or VaMwenye migrated from the Middle East around 580 BC heading for Africa in their droves.

According to researchers and scholars, the migration route they took was along the east African coast where some settled in Ethiopia and Mozambique, from where the majority entered Zimbabwe through the Eastern Highlands in Manicaland.

Others proceeded to modern-day Masvingo where their architecture expertise was fully utilised through the construction of the Great Zimbabwe monument.

This magnificent stonework structure constructed without any form of mortar and whose handiwork is a marvel and mystery, continues to attract thousands of tourists every year.

The monument, which are part of Unesco World Heritage Cultural Sites, are also the largest collection of ruins in Africa south of the Sahara and whose architectural design also continues to baffle many archaeologists.

Some researchers argue that most of the architectural designs at Great Zimbabwe were “emulated” from Yemen and other Middle East countries where such designs are still in existence even to this day.

Hence, that is the reason why the Lemba continue to juxtapose their traditional norms and beliefs with those of the biblical Israelites in the Old Testament.

The Lemba also proudly claim that they are the only tribe in Zimbabwe that migrated into the continent whose mode of transport was the bark of a tree, ie, the boat.

So, how did some Lemba find themselves in South Africa especially in the Limpopo province?

As alluded to in previous Travel and Touring articles, the Lemba after their migration from the Middle East, especially Yemen, followed the east African coast route.

Some settled in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and finally Zimbabwe even though a few proceeded south of the Limpopo River.

The majority of the Lemba tribe in South Africa are mainly concentrated in this particular province where they gradually assimilated into local tribes just like other fellow Lembas did in countries such as Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique, among others.

Scholars argue that this tribe cannot recall a particular tribe of the biblical Israel they descended from but they regard themselves as an offshoot of Yemeni Jews who left Israel before Babylon (modern-day Iraq) and headed for Africa.

In South Africa the Lemba are popularly known as Vhalemba as most of them were gradually absorbed by the BaVenda but retained their cultural norms and practices.

It is also said that the Lemba are born leaders and still maintain their tradition where they constantly stay in contact with other fellow clan members.

In South Africa there is a popular phrase, “The girl is as beautiful as Mulemba!”

Need I say more
Some have argued that President Cyril Ramaphosa could also be a Lemba, hence he is also of Jewish ancestry.

Let us leave it for another day.

l Comments always welcome on: dubebasill@gmail.com or Twitter: @DubeBurzil

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