CHAPTER 3: THE EVOLUTION OF TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN AFRICA
The institution of traditional leadership in Africa has been in existence for a very long time. Tlhoaele (2012) believe that customary institutions such as traditional leadership, and the traditional leaders that uphold them, have a stabilizing influence. These observers are of the opinion that South Africa is as rich in institutions with indigenous roots which are founded on customary practice as many other African countries. However, the traditional leadership institution in South Africa, the Chieftaincy in particular, is believed to be tainted by its association with the apartheid regime (Tlhoaele (2012). As a result, the chiefs they were estranged from their people as they allegedly became increasingly indebted to the South African government.
On the contrary, Ntsebeza (2004) believe that traditional leadership institutions played, and continue to play, an important role in the governance and development of communities, particularly, in rural areas. Ntsebeza further argues that rural communities knew no other form of governance, or authority, except traditional authorities. Opponents of traditional leadership argue that traditional leadership is a regressive step that undermines progress towards democratic consolidation.
Traditional leadership practices in South Africa have gone through various stages of transformation since the dawn of democracy. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 recognises the rich diversity within societies, particularly, indigenous knowledge systems in general and traditional authorities in particular. Traditional leadership structures and institutions are recognised as an indigenous legal system which represents a large section of society, especially in the rural setting.
Traditional leadership in Africa possessed and continues to possess significant power, and is instrumental in the development of communities under the rule of traditional leaders. In the Tsonga tradition, all matters were settled in a village court known as Khorho in Xitsonga. Khorho used to take place under a tree at a chief’s or an induna2.
It was known as a community parliament as all matters were decided based on the consensus reached by the majority of the participants. When colonialists attempted to introduce a form of democratic or modern authority amongst traditional leadership, there was massive resistance which often resulted in the deposition of some of the traditional leadership. In South Africa, a Commission of inquiry headed by Nhlapo partly managed to restore some of the traditional leadership, while others were given to the wrong people for a variety of reasons. Tsonga people still await the restoration of Tsonga/Machangana Kingship.
This chapter presents the evolution of traditional leadership in Africa, in general, and in South Africa during the pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid and post-colonial or democratic dispensations
OVERVIEW OF TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN AN AFRICAN CONTEXT
According to Dipholo, Mafema and Tshishonga (2011:1), the governance of rural communities in Africa has been associated with traditional leadership. These authors argue that traditional leadership has been instrumental in protecting and preserving customs and cultures. In addition, traditional leadership also played a significant role in protecting African tradition from Western influence. However, on the one hand, some authors, such as Reddy and Mkala (2008:3), are of the opinion that traditional leadership has to change or move with the times, lest they become irrelevant. What these authors fail to mention is that, when the colonialists came into Africa, there was an attempt to impose their colonial ideologies on African leadership, and to discourage the traditional leadership from maintaining their culture, as it was seen as backward (Reddy and Mkala (2008:3). Redy and Mkala further argue that the colonial and apartheid administrations stripped the traditional leadership of their roles, responsibilities and their dignity. On the other hand, there are those who claim that traditional leaders are responsible for the lack of development within communities as they resisted the attempts made by colonialists to assist the traditional leadership to move out of stagnation, due to resistance to change. They claim that the traditional leadership hindered and continues to hinder development brought about by democracy. The institution of traditional leadership is not only recognised in South Africa, but it is also recognised in other African countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana, to name a few.
Traditional leadership in South Africa in the pre-colonial era
The pre-colonial conception of Chiefdom consisted of a mobile group, with no fixed or permanent territorial boundaries, that followed a particular Chief (Nelson, 2006:1). Nelson (2006:1) posits that the pre-colonial traditional hierarchy consisted of a Chief, a Paramount Chief, King or Chiefs. Below them were Headmen, who were normally the representatives of leading families. Headmen were responsible for defined geographical areas and reported to the Chief. The Chief, together with the Headmen, constituted a Council. Below the Chief and Headmen were family or kraal heads (Nelson, 2006:1). Furthermore, the Chief’s role was to adjudicate disputes fairly, and to provide for the well-being of his people. The Chief was vested with secular powers and was also granted certain privileges that he was entitled to exercise. In addition, the Chief was viewed by his people as being possessed of spiritual powers that enabled him to act, inter alia, as a conduit between his people and the ancestors (Bennett, 1994:122; Beall, Mkhize & Vawda, 2004:1).
The evolving institution of Chieftaincy in South Africa
Beall, Mkhize and Vawda (2004:3) observe that Chieftaincy in Africa operated on principles that were contrary to democratic ideals. They argue that, selection for the office of chief was not by popular vote; it was hereditary and for life. In addition, it was a hierarchical and patriarchal system, meaning that women were excluded from the process. The Institution of Traditional Leadership in Africa depended entirely on the government of the day for resources and recognition, leading to awkward lines of upward accountability (Beall, Mkhize & Vawda, 2004:3). Arguably, the institution of traditional leadership, Chieftainship in particular, has endured hardships over the years. The resilience of the institution of chieftaincy across the continent bears the battle scars of having to adapt to survive. This is as true for South Africa as elsewhere.
Similarly, Bennett (1994:123) agrees that the selection of a Chief was rooted in ancestry. Traditional Leaders were born into the role rather than selected and trained for it. Traditional leadership structures were not subject to any form of separation of powers, and the only limitations on the powers of the Chief were that he was required to consult with his councillors on certain matters, and that he was always required to act for the benefit of his people (Bennett, 1994:122). Potential challenges to the office of the Chief also acted as an incentive to ensure that Chiefs acted appropriately (Bennett, 1994:124). Sadly, colonial powers viewed the traditional leadership structures from a western perspective and determined that they were autocratic. Consequently, they acted paternalistically to save the “natives” from themselves and eliminated traditional government. They substituted their own leadership for traditional leadership and imposed it on the local inhabitants.
The institution of traditional leadership during the pre-colonial era already occupied an important place in African life and in the body politic of South Africa. It embodied the preservation of the culture, traditions, customs and values of the African people. It represented early forms of societal organisation and governance (White Paper on Local Government, 1998; Government Gazette, 25438:20). In Africa and South Africa, in particular, early systems of governance were characterised by the rule of traditional leadership.. Traditional leaders and institutions dealt with a wide range of issues relating to their communities. A King or Chief was regarded as the father figure or head of the community or tribe. The Chief was responsible for the welfare of his people, including peaceful and harmonious co-existence, dispute resolution, as well as the promotion of agriculture and indigenous knowledge systems (Mahlangeni, 2005:16).
During the pre-colonial era, traditional leadership was the only institutional authority known to rural communities. The traditional leaders, the King or Chief in particular, were vested with all powers. Research shows that, in terms of African tradition, leadership is not subject to the electoral system or processes, but it was and continues to be hereditary. Women were excluded from succession to traditional leadership. In contrast, public officials or representatives, such as councillors, are elected into office for a particular timeframe (Guideline Document on the Roles and Responsibilities of Councillors, Political Structures and Officials, 2011:1).
Succession and roles of traditional leadership in South Africa
According to Ayittey (1991:43), a number of factors were considered before qualifying for succession. For instance, firstly, the traditional leader’s eldest son could not assume a leadership position if he was found to be mentally unfit or otherwise. Secondly, the traditional leader’s eldest son could be prohibited from inheriting a leadership position if there has been questionable conduct on his part. Traditional leaders, such as Chiefs and Headmen, used to govern specifically defined geographical areas and there was no confusion regarding their roles and responsibilities. Furthermore, the hierarchy consisted of the King, Paramount Chief, Chief Headmen and/or Indunas, forming a Council. Below the Chief and the Headmen were family or kraal heads (Ayittey, 1991:44). As previously indicated, the roles of each of these traditional leaders were clearly defined. For instance, the role of the Chief would be to handle disputes in the community and to ensure the well-being of the subjects under his rule, among other things. In some communities, the traditional leader would be accorded a position with specific powers and privileges. Bennet (2004:104) indicates that some of these traditional leaders were revered in such a manner that they were thought to possess spiritual powers and were regarded as the link between community members and the ancestors. Bennet (2004:23) argues that these traditional leaders were compelled to exhibit an appropriate character. According to Nicholson (2003:3), traditional leadership structures were viewed by the colonialists as backwards and un-democratic. As a result, the colonialists were determined to replace this institution with what they regarded as democratic. This so-called democratic process was actually forced or imposed upon the traditional leadership, which resulted in conflict.
Cultural practices, the promotion of self-discipline, the celebration of man/womanhood such as initiation/circumcision – played a major role in ensuring healthy communities, which were materially and spiritually prosperous (Matsila, 2016:1). In addition, the system of traditional leadership was based on a hierarchy that recognises the separate but interconnected roles of the elderly, adults and youngsters in society. As indicated, the colonialists were determined to impose political structures which sought to replace traditional leadership.
Traditional leadership in South Africa during the colonial period
African people have lived under traditional institutions or authorities for centuries (Holomisa, 2004). Communities in South Africa did not know any other kind of authority until the colonialists arrived. Holomisa further argues that traditional leaders were not elected to their positions but were born into positions of leadership. It was known in advance, in the family within the community, as to who the successor to the chieftainship or throne would be. Normally, the eldest son was a definite successor unless there were compelling reasons as to why the eldest son would not take over from his father’s reign. The traditional leadership commanded immense respect from community members and their decisions were final. The main role of traditional leaders was to ensure the well-being of their communities. Among other authority assigned to traditional leaders, they were responsible for allocating both residential and commercial land.
According to Houston and Fikeni (1996:3), the duties of traditional leaders were as follows:
Processing of social security benefits;
Promotion of education, also involved in the maintenance of schools;
Allocation of land held in the their trust; the preservation of law and order; The provision and administration of services at the local government level.
Houton and Fiken (1996:4) further argues that one of the main objectives was apartheid government was to weaken the institution of traditional leadership by removing those who were opposing the apartheid system. Many traditional leaders who resisted the colonial system were forcefully removed from their positions. Only those traditional leaders who complied with orders from the political system at the time would be afforded privileges, as they were seen as an extension of the government of the day
CHAPTER 1: GENERAL ORIENTATION
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.4 RESEARCH AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.6 DEMARCATION OF THE FIELD OF STUDY
1.7 DELIMITATION OR SCOPE OF THE STUDY
1.8 KEY THEORETICAL CONCEPTS
1.9 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.10 METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION
1.11 DATA ANALYSIS
1.12 TRUSTWORTHINESS OF THE STUDY
1.13 METHOD TO ENSURE RELIABILITY
1.14 METHOD TO ENSURE VALIDITY
1.15 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1.16 CHAPTER LAYOUT
CHAPTER 2: LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK GOVERNING TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN SOUTH AFRICA
CHAPTER 3: THE EVOLUTION OF TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN AFRICA
3.2 OVERVIEW OF TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN AN AFRICAN CONTEXT
3.3 INSTITUTIONS THAT SUPPORTED THE APARTHEID GOVERNMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA
3.4 TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN A DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA
3.5 THE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS IN A DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA
3.6 THE ROLE OF TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN SOUTH AFRICA: WITH REFERENCE TO CRIME PREVENTION AND PARTNERSHIP POLICING
3.7 TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN GHANA
3.8 TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN NAMIBIA
3.9 TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN BOTSWANA
3.10 TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN ZIMBABWE
CHAPTER 4: TRADITIONAL INITIATION SCHOOLS: CONTEXTUALISING TRADITIONAL CUSTOMS VERSUS THE PERPETRATION OF CRIME
4.2 RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND OF CIRCUMCISION
4.3 AN OVERVIEW OF TRADITIONAL INITIATION SCHOOLS IN AFRICA.
4.4 INITIATION SCHOOLS IN SOUTH AFRICA
4.5 CIRCUMCISION PHASES
4.6 DEATHS AND INJURIES IN INITIATION SCHOOLS IN LIMPOPO
4.7 TRADITIONAL CIRCUMCISION VERSUS MEDICAL CIRCUMCISION
4.8 CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES REGARDING CULTURAL INITIATION PRACTICES ASSOCIATED WITH POLICING
CHAPTER 5: PARTNERSHIP POLICING IN CONTEXT: A SOUTH AFRICAN OVERVIEW
5.2 THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK GOVERNING PARTNERSHIP POLICING IN SOUTH AFRICA
5.3 THE DEVELOPMENT OF PARTNERSHIP POLICING IN SOUTH AFRICA
5.4 CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS OF PARTNERSHIP POLICING
5.5 CHALLENGES IN PARTNERSHIP POLICING
5.6 INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES
CHAPTER 6: PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
6.2 THE OUTCOME OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEWS
CHAPTER 7: INTERPRETATION OF FINDINGS
7.2 EMERGENT THEMES AND CATEGORIES
CHAPTER 8: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
8.4 Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Policing Strategy (MSPPS)
8.5 Suggestions for further research
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