[LISTEN] Are traditional leaders relevant in contemporary society… Yay or nay?

On the Eusebius McKaiser Show, a hot debate brewed around the place of traditional leadership in South Africa.

Guests Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana and Prince Mashele spoke on the issue surrounding the need for traditional leaders, and questioned if their roles are completely outdated.

Head of the Bhala Traditional Council and newly elected chair of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana spoke about the importance of traditional leaders in contemporary society.

Nonkonyana says that traditional leadership as an institution has existed since the beginning of time. He adds that it plays a unique and crucial role in South African society.

We defended this country and this continent against colonialism, and apartheid.

Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana, head of the Bhala Traditional Council and newly elected chair of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders,

Nonkonyana says that when traditional leaders were ushering in the new South Africa, they agreed that their place as traditional leaders would be entrenched in the Constitution.

We are not even dealing with local government issues, all issues be it mind, or be it health.

Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana, head of the Bhala Traditional Council and newly elected chair of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders,

Political analyst Prince Mashele, who wrote his masters on the relevance of traditional leaders at Rhodes University, interjected saying that Nonkonyana is both right and wrong about the history and role of traditional leaders.

Mashele adds that on the African continent, the history of the institution of traditional leadership is not as rosy as Nonkonyana paints it to be.

I have looked at the history of this institution and what you will find is that there are tales of traditional leaders, who fought the colonial system says Mashele. He adds that there were also disappointing cases of traditional leaders who sold out their own people.

The question around the relevance of traditional leaders in contemporary society is practical, says Mashele. He adds that as long as there are South Africans who believe that traditional leaders are important, then there’s a need for them.

There’s no place for traditional leaders in Sandton, its completely irrelevant in Gauteng.

Prince Mashele, political analyst

Mashele says that there are traditional leaders in certain areas who are regarded as being a vital part in society. He adds that the argument he presented in his thesis was around the notion that traditional leaders need to play a cultural role in rural South Africa.

Mashele says that the problem stems from a clash between a modern constitutional government system, and the institution of traditional leadership. He adds that this is because there are certain traditional leaders who view themselves as a parallel government.

Click on the link below to hear the debate and what social worker, John Clarke has to say about the matter…


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