The youngest son of the late Chief Khayisa Ndiweni of Ntabazinduna in Matabeleland South was installed as the new chief Friday in a traditional ceremony which was attended by hundreds of people, including chiefs from South Africa.
This is despite the row over the succession of the late chief which has seen the late chief’s eldest son, Joram Khayisa, filing an urgent application seeking the nullification of the appointment of his youngest brother as the chief.
Joram claims that the move was in violation of the Nguni customs, practices and norms, which recognise the eldest son as the rightful heir.
The respondents include Local Government Minister Ignatious Chombo. Both brothers and Minister Chombo engaged lawyers on the matter.
The Ndiweni family had flighted advertisements in the press Thursday, inviting the general public to the ceremony.
Nhlanhla, who resided in the United Kingdom, recently arrived in the country to assume the position of chief, and is supported by his mother Agnes, sister Lydia, and family relative former Bulawayo councillor Wilson Bancinyane Ndiweni.
Nhlanhla's brothers reportedly did not attend the ceremony.
Joram is backed by his other younger brother, Douglas Dumisani, and the local elders referred to as the Nhlambabaloyi clan, who forwarded Jorum’s name to the government.
However, the late chief’s widow Agnes is said to have insisted she has the final say and that her eldest son is “irresponsible”, adding it was her late husband’s wish that Nhlanhla succeeds him.
Jorum says even if this was true, his elder son, Mhlambezi, would assume the position of chief, instead of any of his brothers.
Cultural experts have expressed different views on the issue, with some backing the eldest son and others saying traditions can be altered under certain circumstances, as has happened in the past.
For perspective on the issue, reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga spoke to legal expert Kucaca Phulu, who explains how the court is likely to handle this case if the older brother continues with the challenge.