Civil servants, teachers sing Nkosi Sikelel' i'Africa'
NHLANGANO - Civil servants under NAPSAWU and teachers sang the ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica’ song at the Shiselweni Police Regional Headquarters (RHQ) after delivering a petition on Friday afternoon.
Evelyn Baring High School teacher, Ntombi Langwenya, led the protesters in song.
President of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), Quinton Dlamini, was standing next to the Nhlangano Police Station Commander, Superintendent George Mayisa and other senior police officers when the song was sung.
This happened immediately after the Shiselweni Deputy Regional Commander, Superintendent Azariah Ndzimandze, received a petition directed to the Regional Commander, Senior Superintendent Boy Ngwenya.
Dlamini asked the protesters to sing the song, which he referred to as "igwebetane", to mark the day’s business.
‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica’ is the national anthem for neighbouring South Africa but is also referred to as a struggle song, liberation or revolutionary song as it was sung by blacks when fighting apart- heid in South Africa years ago.
The protesters also chanted political slogans like ‘Viva’, ‘Amandla awethu’ at the police regional headquarters.
Some months ago Dlamini sang the song while at the Ministry of Public Service in front of Minister Magobetane Mamba during negotiations of salary cuts and salary reviews.
He was ordered to apologise for his act but refused. He was later advised in a staff meeting by the Minister of Health, Benedict Xaba, never to sing the song again on government premises.
In an interview later, Dlamini said ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica’ was a struggle song and to him it resembled a hymn or chorus sung by Christians during church services.
"I will never stop singing that song as it advocates for freedom. I said to the protesters ‘sesitagwebeta’ and they knew what I was talking about hence I started singing the song at the police regional headquarters.
"We managed to outsmart the police as they did not know what igwebetane was and they watched in disbelief as we sung the song.
"We will continue to sing that song as long as we live," Dlamini said.
When asked if he was not defying Minister Xaba’s order Dlamini said: "The song was not composed by Xaba and he has no right to tell me not to sing it.
"As I mentioned earlier, the song is like a hymn, I will not stop singing it."
Seven-day ultimatum to probe shootings
NHLANGANO - The Nhlan-gano NAPSAWU Branch has given the Shiselweni Regional Commander (RC), Senior Superintendent Boy Ngwenya, seven days to conduct investigations into the shootings of civil servants last Wednesday in Mbabane during their prot-est action.
They also want the Shiselweni Regional Administrator (RA), Paul Dlamini, to personally go to Cabinet and convince them to accede to their demands of a 4.5 per cent salary increment, provision of personal protective equipments and working tools within seven days of the receipt of the petition.
The Secretary of the Nhlangano NAPSAWU branch, Lungile Kunene, accused the police of declaring war against workers in the country.
"As a region, we have no jurisdiction over things happening outside Shiselweni, however, we will forward the petition as per your request to the relevant structures," Ndzimandze said.
The Shiselweni Regional Secretary (RS) Mshiyeni Dlamini received the petition on behalf of the RA at the Shiselweni District Offices.
The NAPSAWU President, Quinton Dlamini, claimed the RA ‘ran away’ after learning that they were marching from the library to deliver a petition directed at him.
The workers sang and danced while waiting for the RA as armed police officers led by Superintendent George Mayisa kept close watch.
A confrontation almost took place after police blocked the workers from marching to the Shiselweni Regional Police Headquarters from the Shiselweni District Offices.
The police formed a barrier and Superintendent George Mayisa cautioned the protesters in uncertain terms against marching on the road as they had no authority to do so from the Nhlangano Town Council.
The media has always reported about the singing of Nkosi Sikeleli Africa as if it was anathema. There is nothing wrong with this kind of expression, in fact these are the hallmarks of the free and democratic society that every Swazi aspires to live in. This song is not a purely South African song, it ony becomes South African once you include the pro-South Africa verses, such as the one referring to a united South Africa. The journalists must get their facts right. National anthems reveal the soul of a nation. They are akin to songs sung in religious circles for praise and worship. You cannot force these on people. The Swaziland anthem appeals to those who believe in the ideals and policies of this government. You cannot therefore force people to sing a Swazi anthem that they cannot identify with. There is no verse in the so-called Swazi anthem that refers to the people, its about rivers and mountains, and then a plea for blessing to fall upon leaders, not the people. Surely, i couldnt teach that song to my child, even if you paid me a thousand dollars!!!
July 16, 2012, 4:00 pm, Angelo
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