Mphephu-Ramabulana is chief of the Vhavenda

THE Vhavenda community joyously welcomed President Jacob Zuma's announcement last week that Chief Tony Mphephu-Ramabulana was their paramount chief.

This weekend the tribe had a feast to celebrate the news and the new chief's birthday.

The news also ended the protracted dispute about who was the rightful leader of the Venda people.

Mphephu-Ramabulana was celebrating 38 years at a party that turned into a big celebration held at the Mphephu Royal Guest House outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo on Saturday.

It was well-known that Mphephu-Ramabulana was king of VhaVenda, though he was contesting with others such as Chief Kennedy Tshivhase and Chief Musiiwa Mphaphuli.

The battle for the chieftainship began at different commissions in Venda, Limpopo province and other national commissions until Zuma stepped in to announce the right chiefs of various nations on Thursday last week.

Mphephu-Ramabulana is the son of former Venda president Patrick Mbulaheni Mphephu-Ramabulana. He is the fifth chief of the Ramabulana's royal council.

During the celebration and birthday party people were entertained by traditional dancers and artists like Rapson Rambuwani, Eddie Masakona and Zozo.

Young people from various parts of Venda sang songs supporting the victory of their paramount chief.

Mphephu-Ramabulana told thousands of supporters that he appreciated the support from his royal council and the community at large.

He said his ancestors kept telling him that he would lead the VhaVenda people to unite and develop the nation.

"Now I'm going to make sure that the VhaVenda nation stops isolating one another and to sing with one voice to show unity," he said.

He said even his contenders were welcome to work with him for service delivery "to our people".

One of the VhaVenda community members, Thivhilaeli Mudau, said the Venda nation was divided because there had been no leader in the past.

Mudau also indicated that traditional leaders must join hands to support the new paramount chief.

"I'm happy because service delivery and development projects will be started. Chief Tony Mphephu-Ramabulana is a dedicated leader who loves all people equally without discrimination," said a delighted Mudau.