Women chiefs feel threatened

THE prevalence of disputes over traditional leadership is a life-threatening challenge - more so to women amakhosi (ondlunkulu) in KwaZulu-Natal.

This was revealed by Ondlunkulu Thabisile Zulu of eMatheni in Nongoma yesterday. Zulu was addressing a seminar held at Port Shepstone on the South Coast.

The seminar was part of the provincial government's way of assisting women amakhosi tackle challenges they face as heads of their clans.

Zulu said they sometimes returned from a clan's engagement worried about their safety. "Some of the people in your own (extended) family just won't accept that you are on the throne, especially because you are a woman," she said.

She said it was a woman's right to take the throne when their husbands died. "We ascend thrones on behalf of our sons. Everything will be handed to our children when they are ready to lead the clans.

"But some members of the extended families ill-treat us and think that we are not the right people to take that position," Zulu said.

The seminar was convened by cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube as part of her efforts to elevate the role and status of women in traditional leadership.

Dube said the objective of the seminar was to ensure full empowerment of women amakhosi so that they can take their rightful place in the traditional leadership.