New heritage foundation for the Lembas
According to prof Takalani Madima, the foundation comprises 12 clans, who are the Bhuba, Hamisi (Hamese), Seremane (Seremani), Sarefu, Sadiki (Sathekge), Ngavi (Zungunde, Dumah), Thobakgale (Thovhakale), Mange, Bakali, Hadzhii, Mhani, and Tshinyaladzi.
He indicated that, when they questioned the “lack of transparency and accountability” in the LCA, they were instantly and “[derogatorily] dubbed the Group of 24. “Our being Lembas was also brought into question,” said Madima. “There was some suggestion and innuendo that we were not Lembas. To what end, we have still not been able to fathom.”
Madima emphasised that the formation of the Lemba Heritage Foundation was fully legitimate. “Organisations are founded or formed for a variety of reasons,” he said. “The founding of the Lemba Heritage Foundation has the support of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which makes provision for freedom of association and assembly of like-minded individuals pursuing a common purpose.”
He further said that there are without a doubt many more such organisations that cater for the interests of the Jewish people in South Africa. “All of them exist in harmony and mutual respect, despite the tensions, real or imagined, that might exist between them,” he said. “I accept that, as Lembas, we are not a homogeneous people. We have different spiritual and physical needs and wants. It is almost impossible for one organisation to cater for all of our needs and wants.”
According to Madima, the true history of the organisation of the Lemba people in South Africa is still to be accurately captured. “In that narrative, the role played by the Lemba Cultural Association will feature prominently,” he addressed members of the LHF. “It is incumbent upon you, and all of us, to write that narrative. If we do not, others will do it for us. All we shall be capable of doing will be to complain that the hunter is writing the narrative of the hunted.”
LHF’s cordinator, Mr Gabriel Malaka, said that the organisation’s programmes were designed to return the Lemba to the laws and traditions of Judaism after 4000 years of isolation. “We are eager to reconnect and expand our knowledge, study our history and adopt the customs and ways of the Torah and implement these into our daily rituals and lives in intention, thought and action,” Malaka said.
Mr Advocate Mfandaedza and Mrs Hilda Mfandaedza from Zimbabwe said they were happy to witnesss the emergence of such an instrumental organisation in the Lemba history. “I am glad to have attended the occasion and to be part of the foundation,” said Mr Mfandedza.