Mhudi Theme

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The first major ironic contradiction I came across in the book Mhudi by Sol Plaatje was the friendship between a Boer by the name of De Villiers and a Baralong by the name of Ra-Thaga. Ra-Thaga had his home, his people and his entire history destroyed by the ‘tragic, hero’ tyrant, Mzilikazi of the Matebele. Mzilikazi is the King of the Matebele, who are a people who split from the Zulu nation to establish their own nation elsewhere (Plaatje, 1975). In doing so, he went to all the neighbouring chiefdoms of the surrounding areas and gave them the choice of submission with annual tax, or complete annihilation (Plaatje, 1975). Mzilikazi wanted to build a strong nation, one that had the same respect status as the Zulu’s, and one would expect the…show more content…
Umnandi was the favourite wife of Mzilikazi. She was beautiful, kind and gracious. She received all her guests and the guests of the king with such welcoming, that she was also a favourite of the people, and was called the Queen of the Matebele (Plaatje, 1975). This popularity caused her to be the envy of all the other wives of the king, and one in particular, Nomenti. Nomenti decided to plot her death and this eventually led to Umnandi fleeing her king and her people (Plaatje, 1975). After many years of self-exile, Umnandi heard of the downfall of her kind and felt that it was her wifely duty to go to her husband at his time of need, and started her journey back to her lord. On this journey she met Mhudi, who was also travelling to her husband, Ra-Thaga, who on the war frontlines. Mhudi had had a bad feeling regarding her husband and feared his death so felt the urge to go to him to protect him in a sense (Plaatje,…show more content…
They formed a friendship in which both admired the other women and her strength. While Mhudi was looking for her people, Umnandi was running away from hers. Mhudi was the sole wife of a kind hearted man, but Umnandi was only one of the wives of a king that was renowned for being terrible. This friendship is an interesting one taking into consideration that they come from such different backgrounds. Umnandi is the wife of the man who ordered the death of Mhudi’s family and people, and those of her husbands as well. Umnandi chose exile, whereas Mhudi had no choice but to live in exile until she met Ra-Thaga. One would assume that they would hate each other, or that at Mhudi would hold a deep resentment towards the Queen, yet the women grow close and bond over the mutual worrying of their husbands and warfare. To quote Umnandi “while there are two men on this earth, there will always be war.” (Plaatje, 1975). The two women were very different, yet they also had similarities. They both were journeying to find their husbands, they both wanted peace and were significant role players in the lives of two of the strongest characters in the book. The two women, although they didn’t appear to have done much, were instigators in their own right. The flight of Umnandi caused major upheaval in the Matebele kingdom, and was seen as one of the reasons of its downfall, for
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