Interesting historical music insights in Africa

Music has been part and parcel of humanity for a long time. Not every sound is musical, but sound has meaning and sometimes the meaning of sound is specific to its context.

But when it comes to archaeology there is scant evidence of music or sound producing artefacts from southern Africa. This is because of poor preservation of the mostly organic materials that were used to manufacture musical instruments. Rock art offers depictions of musical instruments as well as scenes of dancing that can be linked with music performance, but here only music-related artefacts will be discussed.

I conducted original research as well as a survey of the literature available on these artefacts. Ethnographic sources were also consulted in order to attempt to provide a broader contextual background against which knowledge of the archaeological implements could be expanded. The Percival Kirby online musical instrument repository has also been used. Music archaeology is multidisciplinary in nature.

The result is one of the first reports on southern African sound- and music-related artefacts.

Research in music archaeology in southern Africa has just begun. Available evidence dates back from around 10,000 years ago, from the Later Stone Age up to the Iron Age. The artefacts fall into two groups, namely aerophones, where sound is produced by vibrating air, and idiophones, where sound is produced by solid material vibrating. These artefacts include spinning disks, bullroarers, bone tubes that could have been used as flutes or whistles, clay whistles, keys from thumb pianos (also called lamellophones or mbiras), musical bells and an ivory trumpet. The list is not exhaustive and more research needs to be conducted.

These music-related or sound-producing artefacts are made from various materials, including bone, ivory, metal and clay. The artefacts show how integral sound and music production was in the socio-cultural practices of people in the past, most likely for entertainment and rituals. Sound production and music making is a sign of being fully human.

Aerophones

Recent experimental work established that some Later Stone Age bone implements from the Klasies River Mouth and Matjes River sites are a spinning disk and a bullroarer respectively. Their replicas produced powerful whirring sounds and they can be referred to as sound-producing implements even though the purpose of the sound or their use cannot be clearly ascertained. They could have been used as signalling implements, toys, in ritual settings or in musical contexts, among others. Nowadays these implements are seldom found in the region.

A flat disc shaped like a mollusc with a hole through its thin end.
Bullroarer found at Matjes River. Joshua Kumbani

Bone tubes, mainly in bird bone, have been recovered from Later Stone Age contexts from the southern and western Cape of South Africa and some were also recovered from historical contexts. Previously, these bone tubes were interpreted as sucking tubes and beads. But morphological analysis – or studying their form – has indicated that considering the various lengths and widths as well as their smoothened ends, they could have been used as flutes or whistles. There is no a clear-cut distinction between flutes and whistles.

Brown flute-like tube with etchings on it.
Bone tube from Matjie’s River. Joshua Kumbani

If they were used as flutes they were single tone flutes since none has finger holes that can enable the production of more tones. Some of the archaeological bone tubes bear chevron and cross hatching patterns, but it is not clear if the decorations have a meaning or were just made for aesthetic purposes. The San and Khoe people in South Africa used reed flutes in the past. Flutes are still used today by various cultural groups in South Africa, for example the Venda people in South Africa use flutes when performing the tshikona dance.

Round, brown acorn-like object with a hole in one end.
Clay whistle from Mapungubwe. Joshua Kumbani

Clay whistles have been recovered from the sites of K2 and Mapungubwe from Early Iron Age contexts. Similar clay whistles are very rare and are not mentioned ethnographically, but it has been said that the Basotho herders in Lesotho used similar whistles. Whistles can also be used during a musical procession or as signalling implements in sending a message.

An ivory trumpet was recovered from Sofala site in Mozambique. It has a blow hole and some decorations on its body.

Intricately carved brown object.
Ivory trumpet from Sofala site in Mozambique. University of Pretoria Museums

Ivory trumpets are not common in southern Africa, but are known in west Africa. For example, in Ghana among the Asante people they had a spiritual significance and were associated with the royal court. Ivory trumpets are also said to have been used to announce the arrival of kings. The trumpets that are found in southern Africa are not in ivory.

Idiophones

Thumb piano, lamellophone or mbira keys have been recovered from the Later Iron Age contexts in Zimbabwe and in Zambia. This idiophone became popular with the introduction of iron technology and it is still used today. Some popular musicians play the lamellophone, for example Stella Chiweshe from Zimbabwe. Mbira is closely associated with spirituality, especially among the Shona people of Zimbabwe. The lamellophone is now a common musical instrument globally.

A small, brown, rusty metal object in the shape of an oar.
Thumb piano key from Great Zimbabwe site. Foreman Bandama

Musical bells were found in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia from Later Iron Age contexts. Both double and single bells existed and, for example, at Great Zimbabwe both were recovered. Ethnographically, musical bells are known to have originated in West and Central Africa and they were most likely introduced to southern Africa through trade. These idiophones are said to have been played to announce the arrival of kings. Musical bell


Musical instruments are seldom found in the archaeological record and are not easily identifiable, so there is a lot of debate among researchers when it comes to identifying these instruments from the archaeological record. Some instruments may not have been musical instruments per se but rather sound-producing implements that were used to convey certain messages or used for ritual purposes.

By Joshua Kumbani, Phd candidate

Extracted from https://theconversation.com/

You can now Print your Family Tree

The latest feature helps you print your Family Tree after designing it,

Are you interested in knowing your family history, where your great grandparents came from, what their tribe or race was, what their professions were and much more? Family history seems elusive these days as parents and elders no longer relay this important information to their children and grandchildren. This has also been exacerbated by a surge in urbanisation and gradual decay of the extended family concept. Few families document family history and a sizable number of the young generation do not know beyond their grandfathers.

It is therefore important to record this information in a way that will make it easier and convenient for future and current generations to access . This is the main focus of Zimtribes.com, a website that helps Zimbabweans to document and preserve their family history for centuries to come. Registered members can easily construct their family trees and send links to relatives and friends. The platform also provides an opportunity for prolific history writers to showcase their talents and write about history of places, names, great people, country etc.

To construct your family tree, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Open www.zimtribes.com and click on register or login if you already have an account- try to complete all or the most important details.
  2. After registering, log in and click on “Lineage” tab and click on the node (box) with your name (the border will turn blue).
  3. Add family members from your parents up to the last known grand father and down to your children using the “Add Parent,Sibling,Child” buttons.
  4. Click on “Save” button after adding the family members.
  5. After saving, click on “Details” and you will see suggested relatives who you share surname or totem with.
  6. Go to homepage and search your surname, totem, chief, town or village.
  7. Click on the Surname and you can view the Tree and there is an option to Print.

Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe (UMP) Dynasty

UMP map-Google

History is the opium of every society. A well-documented history is the preservation of societal culture and life. This article looks into the values, traditions and customary principles of VaZumba people in present day Mashonaland East province of Zimbabwe. Thus, this will help in tracing the clan, chieftainship and genealogy. Their cultural practices, respect of norms and values constructed a sound and efficient group of people. The society is egalitarian and it’s supported by peasant farming including other hand craft activities to earn a living.

Geographical Location and Historical Background of Uzumba Dynasty.

Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe (UMP) is geographically located in Mashonaland East Province of Zimbabwe. As per the 2012 census, the population stood at 112,611. It is important to note that, through the government authorities the area was subdivided into Uzumba and Maramba Pfungwe. However, this dynamic change did not affect the roots of the people but only created gap in areas of habitation. Thus, currently the people are occupying Uzumba, Muswe, Nakiwa, Nyadini, Karimbika and Dindi villages. The area receives relatively adequate rainfall sufficient for crop and animal husbandry. Mineral deposits such as gold are also found in the area. History reveals, that the Ndowe people migrated scattering into the whole of Zimbabwe. Their family roots is traced from Seke communal lands. In fact, one of the Ndowe ancestors is believed to have landed in Seke area under the Vhuramavi clan. However, control over resources and clan ownership caused mayhem and anarchy within the Vhuramavi and the Ndowe people. This culminated in migration of the Ndowe people to the present day Uzumba. The area is blessed with rich agricultural soils and this has significantly improved the society through subsistence and commercial agricultural development. Favored by these nature blessings agriculture boomed through the use of cow dung/ ndowe, hence their name was frequently used as the Ndowe people. The Ndowe people were thus also referred to as Eland/ Shava/ Mhofu yemukono people. 

Chief Nyajina Genealogy.

Oral tradition reveals beyond doubt that, the great Sororoziome Nyajina was the founding father of Vazumba clan. The revelations show that, Sororoziome Nyajina landed in Seke communal groups but later migrated to present day Uzumba. He migrated with his family and followers. He managed to secure a rich area where his clan developed tremendously. Sororoziome Nyajina was of the Shava/Mhofu yemukono totem. Upon his arrival in Uzumba, the aged Sororoziome passed the reigning powers to his elder son who became the first chief of the rich land. His name was Nyanhewe.  He regrouped the clan into a more centralised and focused people in transforming their land. He also transformed his security to guard jealously his people since they were new people in the area. His mission was accomplished as he managed to defeat weaker groups and subduing them into Uzumba clan. Chief Nyanhewe was blessed with one son named Nyahuma. However, old age and body exhaustion numbered Chief Nyanhewe’s days on the rich soils of Uzumba. He died and was buried at Marowe Mountain leaving his son Nyahuma the seating Chief. After Chief Nyanhewe’s death, Nyanhewe became the family guardian spirit/ svikiro known as Bvukura or Bvukupfuku. As the name implies he was responsible for the upkeep of his children and clan. His role was also extended in chief selections and dispute management.

Interestingly to note is that, Chief Nyahuma upheld his elder’s cultural belief of having one spouse. His marriage was blessed with four sons namely Kanodzirasa, Mukonde, Kawoko and Chikuwe. It is common cause that, Chief Nyahuma taught his sons their culture and values. Control over their territory was their priority and they promoted unity among the Uzumba people. However, Chief Nyahuma died mysteriously. Ownership of his legacy became disputed amongst his four sons. Oral tradition reveals that, dispute originated between Kanodzirasa and Mukonde. The dispute was over who was the elder son to take control of the rich land of their fore-father. Through the help of svikiro Bvukura or Bvukupfuku, Kanodzisira lost the chieftainship battle to Mukonde. However, Kanodzirasa angered the spirit mediums and his descendants were cursed and were prohibited from retaining chieftainship. Mukonde was regarded as the first son and family legacy was bestowed to him. Being the incumbent chief Nyajina, Mukonde extended his love to his younger brothers. He collectively scraped the leadership wound created by Kanodzirasa and united his Uzumba clan. It is believed that, the three family starting from Mukonde, Kawoko and Chikuwe were the sole responsible chieftainship families respectively and interchangeably exchange the role and reverting it to Mukonde family.

The advent of colonialism did not affect this chronological sequencing hypothesis in the Chief Nyajina family tree. However, oral tradition reveals that, there was a time when Bvukura the guardian spirit would randomly choose the next Chief Nyajina. Chief Mukonde’s son Dyora was handed chieftainship responsibility. He executed his duties within the pretext and values of the clan. It is believed that, Chief Dyora was regarded as one of the best Chief Nyajina. After his death there was a smooth chieftainship transfer of power to Kawoko and Chikuwe families respectively. Around, 1931-1968 Chief Kapita from the house of Chikuwe had the ruling powers. It was then reverted back to the Mukonde family. It is important to note that, this sequencing ideology maintained peace and stability that fostered economic and political cohesion in the Nyajina Uzumba clan.  

Oral tradition reveals that, Chief Dyora’s son David Nyajina and Chief Kapita’s son Joseph Manyika teamed up to cause confusion on the genealogy and linear  accession. Attempts by these two failed dismally as Bvukura, the svikiro barred them from these shadow wrong doings. It is believed that, succession was then passed from Chief Nyahuma to Chief Kawoko. Importantly to pin point is that the reigns by passed Mukonde family. It is believed that, Chief Mukonde eldest son was late. Thus, sequencing principle was disobeyed. However, around the 1971, the Mukonde house retained the chieftainship. This leadership role was handed to Chief Bere. Chief Bere ruled up until Zimbabwe gained independence. Oral tradition revealed that, Chief Bere played a pivotal role in the liberation wars and he fought jealously for land. Around the, 1970s and the late 2000 towards his death Chief Bere maintained the cultural dictates of his Uzumba clan.

The death of Chief Nyajina Bere brewed leadership wrangle. In fact, the wrangle was caused by failure to chronologically sequence the family tree. This created mayhem and despondence with the family of the great Sororoziome Nyanjina. However, substantive Chief Chirinda was given the role until the dispute was resolved. With the advantage of age some elderly people within the family and clan, family roots were traced and exposed. Family testimonies reveals that, Mukonde family was last to have the role hence they was need of passing it sequentially. It is important to note that, both families alluded to the fact that chieftainship was to be transferred to the Kawoko family. Also, substantive Chief Chirinda was a stranger and was only to act whilst the dispute being dissolved.  Chipfuyamiti from Kawoko family was thus granted the role and is the current Chief Nyajina.

Chief Chipfuyamiti being the current chief has transformed the area. His is playing his traditional leadership role in resolving family disputes, maintenance of peace and tranquillity in this part of Mashonaland East, respect of cultural values and norms of the area. The economy of the area has also changed for better through his leadership, albeit the economic challenges.

Conclusively, Uzumba clan was egalitarian. Its traditional leadership was defined by its ability in fostering sound and vibrant respect to cultural values and norms. Chieftainship was thus sequentially transferred and svikiro Bvukura helped where wrangles emerged.  

By Leon Chigwanda  

A close look at Chivi history

Introduction

African dignity is bestowed from the one’s roots. This is the case of Chivi residents as their society’s roots is traced as the descendants of Mashonaland East Province. Societal values are important and they are collected to construct a resounding and sensible history of a tribe. Chivi chieftainship has transformed and shaped the peoples livelihood. Cattle ranching, gold mining and hand craft activities have been key to the Chivi people.

The leadership has also done exceptionally well in fostering peace, stability and promotion of good quality, respect of cultural values, norms and customs. This policy paper will trace the family roots of Chivi traditional leadership and examine clan development.

Background

Chivi district lies in Masvingo Province. Historical facts reveal that, Chivi dynasty was an offshoot of the fall of the Rozvi Empire. Currently, it is important to note that the area is boarded to the north by people under chief Chivi of the Shumba Murambwi totem- family of their fore father Nehoreka and to the west under headman Kuvhirima and Mspambi of the Dziva totem- family of their fore father Chief Nyaningwe. 

Chivunguvungu son of Nehoreka of the Shumba Murambwi totem migrated from Mutoko to Masvingo residing in the special corner present day Chivi district. Nehoreka family had super natural powers and had the ability to perform mystical deeds. These powers were also vested in his elder son Chivunguvungu which he later used to steal Mutoko residents cattle and other valuable products. In After, embarking on a 350 kilometre walk Chivunguvungu was welcomed by the Dziva-Hove people. Thus the totem meaning a big pool of water. This group was in the leadership of Chief Nyaningwe. It is prudent to acknowledge that Chief Nyaningwe was the sole responsible leader of his clan in present day Chivi district under Masvingo Province. Chivunguvungu was blessed with strong and able bodied sons namely Mudzungairi meaning a wanderer and Mudzore who resided in present day Mashava, known as chief Bere. One of his sons Mudzungairi had the ideology of togetherness and he preserved the cultural beliefs and values of his forefather in Mutoko area. Bearing these attributes, Mudzungairi bestowed these attributes to his family members mainly his sons Tavengegwei and Zumba. Unfortunately, Chivunguvungu died leaving his legacy to his sons.

Moreover, nature pronounced its fate leading the death of Mudzungairi the elder son of Chivunguvungu. Smooth transfer of fatherhood was passed on to Tavengegwei. Family legacy, ideology and values were quick transplanted into Tavengegwei. Interestingly, Tavengengwei had the same attributes of his grandfather’s Nehoreka and Chivunguvungu of performing magical powers. Oral tradition reveals that, Chief Nyaningwe-Dziva was gifted with beautiful daughters namely Chiroodza and Shandurai. Shandurai was believed to have stunned Tavengegwei with her beauty. Shandurai classical beauty confused Tavengegwei forcing him to plan marriage. However, this was not easy as Shandurai was the Chief’s princess. Through his courage and commitment, Tavengegwei approached Chief Nyaningwe family with his matter. With the blessing of his father, Shandurai was allowed to marry Tavengegwei. Oral tradition revels that, Chief Nyaningwe demanded a live warthog and a python as bride price. This mission was made possible by the ability bestowed in Tavengegwei of performing magical powers. Marriage between the two was made possible earning Shandurai the name vaChifeza. Nature blessed the two with five children. His children were Matsveru, Musvuvugwa, Chiwara, Musunda and Chidavarume. It is prudent to note that, Tavengegwei became a polygamist and he was blessed with other son called, Madamombe, Madyanove and Mazarire to mention but a few. However, their father Tavengegwei died leaving Chief Nyaningwe in custody and guidance of the children from vaChifeza family.  

Chief Nyaningwe of the Dziva totem took good custodianship of his nephews mainly from her daughter Shandurai. However, his nephews decided to dethrone their uncle chief Nyaningwe chieftainship. Tavengegwei children also had abilities of performing magical powers. Oral tradition reveals that, Chief Nyaningwe and his nephews convinced each other to go for a bath and to perform rituals at Runde River. With the idea of dethroning their uncles, Tavengegwei sons lead by Musunda the elder one attacked their uncles while swimming. Unfortunately, the pool coloured red with blood. However, some managed to escape this mystical act and crossed the Runde River shouting ‘CHIVI CHAWA’ a crime has been committed. This shouting earned Chivi district the current name Chivi.  Thus, how the Tavengegwei son managed to dethrone their uncles. Chief Nyaningwe died on the incident and his remaining people were easily subdued in the new chieftainship under the Shumba totem and their uncles became headmen.

Chieftainship was however bestowed in the hands of Tavengegwei sons who then multiplied the dynasty with their born Shumba Murambwi totem. Masunda became Chief Chivi. He was quick to trace his roots thereby preserving his forefather’s cultural values and resonating them being the real Buja people from Mutoko not the Karanga.  Tavengegwei other sons became headman. For instance his son Madamombe became famous and present day the area is still intact. The Chieftainship is thus traced from Nehoreka to present day Chief Donald Chivi of the Shumba Murambwi totem.

By Kudzanai Rushiri, B.A Hons in Economic History

The Njanja people of Buhera

African societies are best traced from their roots and genealogy. The Njanja people are a forgotten group among the Shona.  They became one of the first societies to industrialise in pre-colonial Zimbabwe around 1900. The society was egalitarian and the discovery of iron promoted economic growth that improved and modernised the social and political landscape of such an intelligent group of people.  This article mainly aims to explain the historical background of these people, specifically pin pointing WHO really are the people, WHO was their fore-fathers what was their cultural life. Importantly, we also expose HOW they got their chieftainship and expansion ending up to the Hera dynasty in present day Buhera district. Some of the villages in Buhera include Muchererwa village, Mutara village, Marume village, Makuvise village, Tsotdzo village, Magunda village, Mutsindikwa village, Chibongodze village, Mukucha village, Magaya village, Mutizwa village, Mupungu village, Matsinde village, Makanda village.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Njanja people are believed to have been the victims of the Bantu migration and the MFECANE. In fact, Mfecane was a violent wars situation that disrupted in Central and Southern African societies around the 1822-1838. They landed in the Rozvi grounds.  Oral tradition reveals that, the Njanja people bore a Portuguese origin in genealogy and expansion. The researcher adopts oral evidence as source of construction such a history of the Njanja dynasty. Being the victims of the Bantu migration, around 1830 the Njanja people settled in Wedza Mountain mainly attracted by iron deposits in the area. Arriving in Wedza Mountain the Njanja people were under the stewardship of Muroro who is believed to be a Portuguese. Oral tradition reveals that Muroro copied the Rozvi totem of Moyo Chirandu and he assimilated the praise name of Sinyoro derived from Portuguese word ‘senhor’. This group of people accrued overwhelming wealth from the rich iron deposits the Wedza Mountain offered. Iron smelting developed tremendously in hoe, axes, iron spears and iron bows and arrows. These tools were used economically, socially and politically.  Iron deposits mainly hoes promoted intermarriage that saw the amalgamation of cultural values and norms of the Muromo, Chirwa and Mbiru families.

NJANJA CHIEFTAINSHIP ROOTS

Plants have roots the same way as the African people. Muroro a half-baked Portuguese is believed to be the forefather of the Njanja people of present day Buhera district. His genealogy is traced back from 1822 where he migrated and settled in the rich iron deposit area. In fact, history reveals that, there was a brave and courageous man by the name Nemato of the Shiri totem who migrated from Basutoland and got a welcoming home at Bvumbura Hill. Nemato brave son Chirwa became anxious thereby established chieftainship in Bvumbura area and covering the areas of Nyazvidzi River, Magangara and Nharira. It is believed that, a group of people arrived in Chirwa’s dynasty under the custodianship of Mbiru. Mbiru and Chirwa people were connected through inter-marriages hence the group was assimilated. For instance Chief Chirwa married Mungu a beautiful daughter of chief Mbiru. However, Portuguese traders under Kuveya landed in the area under Chief Chirwa. Unfortunately, Kuveya nicknamed Muroro fell sick to the extent that he was no longer able to do trading from point to point exchanging his products. Implanted with a loving and caring heart, Chief Chirwa instructed her daughter Mashawashe to take good care of Kuveya- Muromo. Aroused with Mashawashe beauty, Muroro impregnated the princess of Chief Chirwa. Fearing for her death Mashawashe decided to kill Kuveya-Muroro but unfortunately Chief Chirwa got the news. He demanded bride price from Muroro. Muroro took his trade goods items and paid as lobola to Chief Chirwa. Thus intermarriage inter-grated and amalgamated the Chirwa, Mbiru and kuveya- Muroro families.

Furthermore, Muromo and Mashawashe were blessed with a son called Neshangwe. It is imperative to note that, iron exploitation gave the Njanja people power to create a formidable territory. Their society was self-sufficient and sustaining.  As it has been exposed before, Muromo landed in the Rozvi ground and thus his son became famous to be recognised a chief by the Rozvi chief. Importantly to note is that the relationship of Chief Chirwa and his nephew Neshangwe was close. Chief Chirwa is believed to take his nephew Neshangwe to the Rozvi courts, thereby Neshangwe became popularly known at the courts than the real sons of Chief Chirwa. Upon, Chief Chirwa’s death Neshangwe was quick to be recognised as the new chief. Secondly, Neshangwe was multi-skilled in iron smelting and he earned a lot of wealth. Thus, this culminated in being installed the Njanja Chief. Thus, therefore there was a shift in chieftainship from Chirwa family to his nephew Neshangwe family.

In addition, installation of Chief Neshangwe created leadership wrangle from the sons of the late chief Chirwa. Having the support of the Rozvi rulers, chief Chirwa sons were detained and Neshangwe was given magical medicines to use against possible attack from the Chirwa people. The mission was accomplished and thus the Chirwa people displaced leaving Chief Neshangwe the custodian of the land. Chief Neshangwe retained the Rozvi totem as Moyo Chirandu but later changed his name to Chief Gambiza. Oral tradition reveals that, Chief Neshangwe-Gambiza married nine wives and his roots scattered within the area.  Presumably, succession was managed as it was from first family going down. Chief Neshangwe Gambiza died leaving the legacy in the hands of his sons Makumbe and Chivese. Makumbe became chief and he dominated the area occupying the northern side whilst Chivese became chief occupying the southern side. Both are believed to embark on their expansionist policy wayward their spheres of influence. Chivese died leaving Chitsunge the legacy. Importantly to note that these Chiefs were polygamist and they left many children in the society. Thus this prompted divisions within the Njanja people. Division rocked exposing Chief Makumbe and Chief Chitsunge. However, Chief Makumbe rose to become an independent leader with his group of people leaving Njanja to the south-east of Buhera district. On arrival, Chief Makumbe defeated the Dziva people under chief Nerutanga. Makumbe people thus occupied the Hera dynasty and settled at Gombe Mountain. Chief Makumbe became polygamist and he had fourteen wives and from those houses his children expanded forming their villages.

Chief Makumbe and Chief Chivese became bigger and together they conquered the Hera capital present day Buhera. However, chieftainship wrangle were created by polygamist ideology as the four sons of the pillar Muromo became more vicious and have desires and thirsty to occupy the vast land of their ancestors. Thus, the family of Makumbe present day is the family to consider who to become the chief with the aid of spirit mediums and council of elders.

By Leon Chigwanda

Chief Chinamora of the Shawasha people

Chinamhora Chieftainship falls under Goromonzi district in Mashonaland East province of Zimbabwe. The area is surrounded by communal lands of Chiweshe, Murehwa, Mutoko and Marondera. The people in the area are referred to as vaShawasha who are believed to have migrated from Fort Victoria. In Fort Victoria the vaShawasha people are believed to have occupied the Mazhumwi or Mahugi/Mahugwi communal land under Chief Tumbudu. Chief Tumbudu constructed a brave and courageous army that he used to raid weaker groups.  As Chief Tumbudu expansionist policy widened he moved to settle at Wedza Mountain area where there was plenty of iron ore. His army would to take all the treasures such as cattle sheep and goats and women from the people they conquered. The chiefs of other countries were afraid of Tumbudu and his army because the vaShawasha used a Gona when they fought. This Gona was called maGumbatya. It contained their medicine (ndudzo) which they put in the porridge and ate. After eating they went to fight with the people whom they wanted to fight. When these vaShawasha people ate the mixture of porridge even the guns would never shoot them, the bullets would be caught by that medicine and the spear thrown at one of the muShawasha would bend, even the axe could not cut. No other gonas were as powerful. They made a fire and put medicine from the gona into it. Then they asked, Where are we going?” “Are we going to win the battle?” If the smoke did not come out immediately or if it went straight up they did not go, but if it came out quickly and went to the side they went in the direction where the smoke was blowing certain that they would win the battle.

The work of the vaShawasha was making spears, axes, hoes and knives. Discovery of Iron ore promoted the manufacturing of armoury such as spears, axes, knives and stabbing picks that were used to defeat other groups. Chief Tumbudu as the forefather of the Chinamhora clan was ascribed to the Soko (Monkey) totem with Mutinaye as Chidawo. After his death, his sons exchanged the Chieftainship up to present day.  

One of his sons, Tingini became a polygamist. It is believed that, Tingini became famous in Wedza in iron smelting which compelled him to return to Zululand to sell the iron products. In Zululand he is believed to have left a dynasty with the totem Tsvubve. On his return to Wedza area, Tingini returned with his seven sons namely Derere, Chidyausiku, and Rusere to mention but a few. Unfortunately, on his return Tingini learnt of his father’s death and the Chieftainship was in wrangle. With the help of his sons and other relatives they managed to retain their Chieftainship in Wedza. He became chief, however Chief Tingini died and chieftainship was passed on to his son. Interesting, chieftainship up to present day is in Chief Tumbudu family. From the time of his death, it was Chief Nemango, Tingini, Derere, Chaitezvi, Nyamare, Chihunga, Chidziva, Chinamaringa, Nzvere, Chingoma, Kuvhimadzama, Chigodora, Muchenje Kurima and Kahari who exchanged the Chieftainship of Chinamhora. Currently, Chief Mhaka is the legitimate Chief being the son of the late chief Kahari. Installation of these traditional leaders was done by the whole family clan in agreement. The process was graced by the drinking of beer, music and dancing. People were well fed with sadza and meat as they grace the installation of their leaders. Thus it is prudent to assert that, Chief installation was an open ceremony witnessed by the whole clan.

Oral evidence suggest that, the word Chinamhora was derived from what one does when he wants honey. In Shona it’s called Kumora huchi. Interestingly, chief Chinamhora is believed to have fought with the bees/ Nyuchi to extract honey thereby he was given the name Chinamhora meaning the honey monger. In 1961, Chief Chinamhora, under a gathering in Seke Village was elected a member of Chiefs Council of Southern Rhodesia present day Zimbabwe. Thus, Chief Chinamhora played a central role in government. Being elected as Chief Council he had the role of overseeing other chiefs, monitoring and evaluating their roles. 

Cultural Values of vaSHAWASHA people.

Every society is governed by its culture. Culture is the opium of every society. As this is the case of Soko people under Chief Chinamhora. Firstly, the society ascribed themselves to Soko/ monkey totem. This was the first stance in preserving their culture. Thus this animal specie is regarded holy and endangering this spice is a serious offence under Chief Chinamhora. Respect to totems was also spread to other tribes who were subdued through raiding and present day globalisation. Thus, every totem in Chief Chinamhora communal land is respected. Intermarriage within the people of vaShawasha was respected and allowed. Payment of lobola was done with iron tools such as hoes and present day people are paying cattle and money. However, women in the society had no land ownership. Land was men’s property. Thus, this culture still stands in Goromonzi area.

Furthermore, cultural practise of rainmaking is done by the vaShawasha people. Rain making ceremony was a process of appeasing the spirit mediums with beer so that they will provide people with sufficient rainfall for agriculture and drinking. Rainmaking ceremony was graced by Chiefs as it was their role. Also Kurova makuva, a process of bringing back the dead home is done in Chinamhora community. It is a Shona practice done by family of the deceased of retaining the spirit of the dead home and the process was also graced by the traditional leadership in Chinamhora community. Beer brewing, music and dancing and eating are witnessed on these occasions. Thus, Chief Chinamhora respected people diverse culture and norms.

The people were religious. Historically, the people respected spirit mediums as their god. They believed in spirit mediums as they do their sacrificial offering annually. Cattle blood was used for the sacrifice. However, with the advent of Christianity the people were diluted and they to a larger extent drifted away from spirit mediums to believe in the highest God, through Jesus Christ. This is evident with the number of Churches in Goromonzi such as Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Mapositori to mention but a few. Thus, Chief Chinamhora’s jurisdiction is diverse in nature.

Socially, the chief plays an indispensable role in solving societal conflicts. Through his counsel of wise and brave men, the Chief is helped to solve family, village and communal issues and disputes. He normally arbitrates and solves the matters without favour. They charge fines that are fair but deterrent so as to discourage people from repeating the same offences or misdemeanour. They behave in a manner that is professional and transparent.

Chinamora chieftainship is rotated from the family roots. Currently, Chief Mhaka is in reigning and is doing its best in turning the economic fortunes of the land by promoting agriculture, mainly horticulture. Socially, the chief upholds the practice of maintaining the moral fabric and values of their society.

By Leon Chigwanda – Researcher with Great Zimbabwe University

The history and truth behind Harurwa

While a lot of people have heard of the Harurwa insects of Norumedzo Village, Bikita District, Masvingo Province of Zimbabwe, and while lots more have enjoyed the delicacy that Harurwa insects are, very few people realise that there is a very elaborate management system that goes with the tradition of Harurwa.

There is a whole systematic management system that goes into Harurwa which in itself is proof of the efficacy of indigenous knowledge systems, in this case, as far as management goes.

So lets look at the Harurwa traditional practices used to manage Harurwa so as to demystify the rumour, gossip, innuendo and half truths that a lot of people, out of ignorance tell each other about Harurwa and the traditional practices thereof as practiced by the people of Norumedzo village.

 We hope that by now most people know that the Harurwa insects came naturally from God to cushion Nemeso, the founding father of Norumedzo village who was born with four eyes and was rejected by his father for this abnormality of having four eyes.

He was given his inheritance in advance by his father in the form of the piece of land now called Norumedzo village so that he could be far away from the rest of his people because of this abnormality of having four eyes.

He therefore didn’t have anything to eat and God through the ancestors then gave him these insects, not just for momentary hunger satisfaction but as a perpetual source of food and trade.

The detailed story of Nemeso is found in the book Harurwa written by this same author. What we can with authority reveal is that Nemeso is the first born son of Fupajena – today represented by Chief Mazungunye- and Mhepo, the rain maker daughter of Chief Musikavanhu of Chipinge.

Fupajena is the brother to Mutindini, popularly known as Mutindi today represented by Chief Mukanganwi. Both Chief Mukanganwi and Chief Mazungunye are Moyo Chirandu Duma and in fact form the nucleus or centre pivot or fulcrum of the vast Moyo Chirandu Duma people who are the majority sub tribe of the generality of the Karanga tribe of Zimbabwe. 

What we want to document now is the actual practice of the Harurwa tradition as it is done by the Moyo Chirandu – Duma – people of Norumedzo village, Bikita District, Masvingo Province Zimbabwe because there have been many distortions regarding the Harurwa insects and we want to clear the air and clarify matters so that those distortions  are cleared and Zimbabweans and the rest of the world begin to clearly understand the Harurwa practice as carried out by the Moyo Chirandu – Duma- people of Norumedzo.

‘Do you know the Harurwa insects of Norumedzo village in Bikita district Masvingo Province, right here in Zimbabwe?’

‘Oh you mean those stinking green beetles that are eaten when one is crying?’

This is the answer that one gets when such a question is posed in places far away from Norumedzo village where people don’t quite understand the whole harurwa practice.

Now, the insect Harurwa has an acidic juice inside its belly. This juice is its defensive mechanism. If you try to catch it, it squirts this acidic juice out of itself and if the juice gets into your eye, it is very irritating and you will spend a minute or two with this sharp irritation which goes away anyway without damaging your eye at all. Consequently your eyes will naturally produce tears as tears are also the human’s natural eye protection from any foreign bodies entering the eye.

But the tears people are referring to are not the ones caused by the insect squirting its defensive acidic juice into a person’s eye.

Because this acidic juice is sour, before you fry the insects for consumption you must ensure that this juice is squeezed out of the insects otherwise the insect will be horribly sour in the mouth if you eat it with the juice inside it.

But it always happens that when you kill the insects for frying and eating, there will always be some of the insects which will retain their juice. In fact it is actually a skill which gets acquired through practice and experience that one gets to kill the insects in such a manner that you end up with very few or none at all which retain the acidic juice.

To achieve the highest level of the skill, one has to master the art of pouring very little amounts of hot water on the insects which will be in a container and as the insects try and fight this hot water, they do so by squirting the acidic juice out of themselves. The longer one takes pouring these small amounts of hot water on the insects while stirring them means that almost all of them will die after having tried to defend themselves thus ridding themselves of this acidic juice resulting in very few retaining this juice.

The belly of a harurwa insect which hasn’t squirted all the acidic juice out of itself turns a very distinctly dark brown colour after it is fried and this colour is much deeper just on the insect’s belly as opposed to the rest of the insect’s body which will be a benign and appetising light brown.

If you then go on to eat this insect with a dark brown belly due to the acidic juice still inside it, your mouth is sharply incensed by this sour tangy taste which makes you want to spit the insect out of your mouth. The sensation this sour taste causes in your mouth conjures tears from your eyes in the same way you feel tears when you eat say a sour fruit like a lemon.

These are the tears people in Harare and other parts of Zimbabwe not privy to Harurwa refer to.

But the way they say it, one would think that these insects are eaten when one is howling! In fact people far from Norumedzo actually believe that indeed harurwa are eaten when one is crying. That is not correct. Far from the truth. The explanation lies in this insect which may have retained its acid. And this doesn’t happen all the time at all.

So it is absolutely incorrect to say that Harurwa insects are eaten while one is crying.

They merely cause a teary sensation similar to the one you get when you are eating a lemon and this only happens if you have met with a Harurwa whose acidic juice has not been removed before frying the insect for consumption. It doesn’t happen all the time as people are erroneously meant to believe.

Such a sour harurwa insect is called a FUVE in the Karanga vernacular language (pronounced as spelt) of the area and it is identified by its distinctly more darker brown belly than the rest of the harurwa insect which will be a light crispy brown.

In fact when eating the harurwa insects, you are actually warned to be careful of these FUVES, so you can select those harurwas with the dark brown belly and you throw them away as they are the fuves and you only eat the ones without the dark brown belly to avoid the sour taste. We hope this puts an end to the incorrect debate particularly in Harare and other places far from Bikita and the Harurwa insects as it is in these far flung places where some people who know nothing about Harurwa have gone on to mislead people into believing that harurwa are insects that are eaten whilst people are crying.

Dr.Claude Maredza is an author and film writer, producer and director.

Some Pre 1900 dynasties

Starting in the far north of the region, in the angle of the Mazoe and Mubvinzi known as Satwa, was a minor ruler known as Tambi, a ‘Rozvi’. He was supplanted by the Musana gumbo dynasty which came from the Mutapa state. The dating is however vague: the Musana gyneology goes back to the 18th century, or perhaps earlier  as there have been civil wars in the dynasty, but a gumbo offshoot under Mudzimu had already reached middle Zambezi by the 1690s, so it may be that the conquest of Tambi was in the 17th century. On the other hand the Musana-Mudzimu linkage may be suspect. Just to the south of Satwa between the Mubvinzi and Nyaguwe was the Gora gwai dynasty which was supplanted by the Chikwaka mbano dynasty from the Mutapa state. The main Gora dynasty moved to Matanha on the edges of Chivero’s country, while others moved to the modern Murehwa area. Neither the Chikwaka nor the Gora gyneology go far back into the 18th century. To the south-west of Gora was the ‘Rozvi’ soko/murehwa dynasty of Ditoti, conquered by Chinamhora’s Shawasha in the 1st part of the 18th century. On the Mhanyame was a Shava dynasty under NeHarava, conquered at about the same time or a little earlier by the Seke shava dynasty. On the site of the modern city of Harare was Mbare shumba/gurundoro, conquered in the late 18th century by Hwata and Chiweshe shava from Buhera, and west of him on the Gwivi flats was the Nyavira shava/nyakurivuka dynasty. The small Nyavira group survived until the 20th century, but it lost all of its land to farmer and all of its people scattered so that no history has been available. Another Shava dynasty, that of Zumba, occupied the upper Mazoe and Tateguru valleys before it too was conquered by Hwata and Chiweshe’s Hera. We also have the Nyamweda moyo/ziruvi dynasty, which apparently originated in the Jeta Hills east of the upper Mazoe.

To the east it was bounded the large territory of Maungwe under the Makoni Shonga dynasty and by the western limits of the Nyanga archaeological culture which is still little known to us from traditions. To the north-east lay the territory of Budya , dominated by the dynasties of the shumba totem. To the north lay the Mutapa state of Mukaranga, dominated upto to about 1700 by the nzou-samanyanga Mutapa dynasty but containing many subject groups of different totems. To the west lay the Zvimba and Chirau dynasties , part of a greater number claiming ‘Guruuswa’ origins, and with vague links with the Mutapa dynasty. To the south lay the shava belt , the nearest dynasties of which were those of Chivero, Rwizi and Mbiru. Non of these frontiers were entirely rigid in political terms: groups crossed it in both directions, and on north bank of the upper Save territory held by shava groups under Mbiru and Masarirambi-Mutekedza was lost to dynasties from farther north.

More on Gora Gwai dynasty

Devera is one of the Gwai dynasties though little known when compared to Gora. The Gora, gwai/mukuruvambwa was another gwai dynasty. There were links between Gora and a group  that accompanied Nyamhunga, a dynasty that reached Zambezi-Sanyati confluence area. Both of these had come from the territory between the Mubvinzi and Nyaguwe where a ruler named Kanyoka had a daughter who married the ancestor of the Chikwaka mbano/matemayi dynastry. Conflict between the mbano and gwai groups, with Rozvi involvement, led to the former dynasty coming to rule the disputed area, while Kanyoka’s grandson moved to Chivero’s country. There he was given land in the Matanha area, east of Nyundo tributary, and founded the Gora dynasty. This would have been before 1800, and the exact circumstances under which  the Gora dynasty established itself are not clear. This was because Gora was put under Nherera shortly after colonial rule began, and by the 1960s it was claimed that Nherera usurped Gora’s rights when the latter fled in fear from the guns and foreworks at Edward V11’s coronation celebrations in Salisbury. Thus it was claimed that the Rozvi gave Gora land and he in turn allowed Nherera to settle. The more prosaic truth is that in the late 1890s, the NC Hartley found several different groups in Matanha and put Nherera over them for convenience sake.

Turning to the eastern half of this region, the early dynasties are even thinner on the ground. A Gunguwo Rozvi dynasty figures prominently in the history of the upper Mupfure. In what was to become the territory of Nhowe there was nyamhunga or Nyamunda who preceded the Mangwende dynasty. Some sources make him the moyo ancestor  of the Tandi dynasty of Maungwe , while others make him Barwe or even Shangwe, though it is agreed that he was under the Rozvi before Mangwende arrived. Finally one of the groups that figure as immigrants , Samuriwo moyo/wakapiwa, apparently came from Uzumba on the northern border of the north-central plateau.

Dynasties that by documentary evidence or traditions can be shown to have been, or to have very probably been, established before 1700: Mutapa, Makoni, probably Marange, Mbiru, Ngezi, Chivero, Zvimba, Chirau and possibly Rwizi

Extract taken from D.N. Beach

Mutasa kingdom (district)

Historical Background of Mutasa Chieftainship.

Mutasa District is one of seven districts in the Manicaland province of Zimbabwe. Mutasa district is located 30 km from Mutare and stretches up to the Honde Valley, which is about 100 km northeast of Mutare along a tarred road that branches off the Nyanga road. The area extends from the eastern border of Zimbabwe into Mozambique. The area receives annual rainfall of about 850 mm to 1000mm annually and a relative average mean temperature of 2 -30˚C. Mutasa area covers areas such as Honde Valley, Hauna, Erin Forest, Zindi, Penhalonga to mention but a few.  Founder of this society is believed to be Tendayi from the house of Chikanga. Tendayi from the house of Chikanga was banished from the clan by his brother Vumbe and went into hiding becoming known as Chifambausiku.  Tendayi was astonished by Vumbe conduct. This culminated in return of Tendayi to overthrow Vumbe and reign as Mutasa Chief. The Mutasa people are Shona speaking whose territory stretch into now Mozambique. They were originally known as the Chikanga. However, wars over succession and factionalism within Manyika dynastic politics led to groups splitting from one another.  This then led the Mutasa people to recall their lineage to have rooted from the house of Chikanga. In the early days of the Mutasa dynasty, the clan came into contact with Portuguese textile traders and entered into business with them. This conduct resulted in trade which resulted in Tendayi acquiring armoury to protect his kingdom. His people obtained jewels and other precious materials in return of gold and ivory. Mutasa chiefdom adopted the custom of being carried in hammocks or chairs by their subjects as way of superiority and authority. During their migration from the north of Zimbabwe to the east the Mutasa clan passed through the north-western region of Mozambique, an area known as Sena. Various ancestors of the clan are buried along the route they took.  They passed through Gorongoza a place in the heart of Mozambique. Southwards, the area is bordered by the Jindwi dialect also known as Chibocha. Mutasa clan is thus believed to have emanated from Mozambique.

Mutasa totem is the lion/ Shumba Murambwi. Oral tradition thus exposes out that, clan praise is of the Tembo-Shumba, the Zebra-Lion a mythical totem animal that serves as the emblem of the Mutasa people. Interestingly, by integrating together the attributes of Lion and Zebra into one creature, the Mutasa clan creates a scared totem.  Shumba Murambwi praise totem glorifies the Lion’s courage, braveness and fear it inspires in other animals. The male zebra is known for being well-endowed and its member resembles a green maize stalk when aroused. This line is a subtle boast of the attributes of the men of the clan. The totem also celebrates the marvel, beauty, sophistication and virility of Zebra. By fusing the two animals, Chief Mutasa was regarded as the well-dressed one.

Due to colonialism and resettlement coupled with globalisation the society is mixed with different tribes with different totems. However, with good leadership qualities Chief Mutasa and his headman have maintained and crafted values to respect both men and the environment. 

Richness of Mutasa Kingdom

Agriculture dominates the Mutasa dynasty due to ubundant land, availability of water, sound and vibrant human resources which have transformed Mutasa area into a self-sustaining society. Mutasa is a society that is egalitarian and its people respect its core values, norms and tradition. Royalty and respect of traditional chief Mutasa had paid dividend in economic and social development in Mutasa dynasty. Traditional leaders that is chief Mutasa, headmen and cowboys have played a central role in mapping societal development in Mutasa district. The economy under Chief Mutasa has boomed in agriculture, forestry, and mining, tourism and electricity generation. It is prudent to credit traditional leadership in Mutasa district in working flat out to unveil and utilise resource in Mutasa for community development hence national development. It is also critical to finger out that economic development in Mutasa area has improved and advanced social lives of ordinary people as we witness the traditional leaders are in a position to provide basic human needs to the people, creating opportunities for youths hence community prosperity. It is therefore prudent to credit the roles of traditional leadership in community and national development.

Abundant land for cash crop cultivation has earned Mutasa area the status of being a rich belt in Manicaland. Fair fertile land distribution by traditional leaders have born positive fruits as everyone in Mutasa area is a custodian of adequate farming land. Honde Valley became famous for Banana, sugarcane, avocadoes and yams growing. The area annual rainfall is high and possibly the factor behind the growing of these cash water demanding crops. Products from Honde valley have dominated the Mbare (Harare), Sakubva (Mutare) markets places and all major supermarkets such as OK, Spar and Pick n Pay Zimbabwe. Exports are also done as bananas and yams are exported to Mozambique and South Africa respectively. Growing of fruits such as peaches, apples, peas, and mangoes is being done commercially in the area. Cash crop farming has transformed people’s lives and the community at large. Ordinary people in Mutasa society are able to buy food, build permanent shelter and access to cheap health cares and fund for education. Thus the profits return from selling of cash crop enormously transformed Mutasa community and its people. It is therefore, prudent to credit the role of land distribution by Chief Mutsa. Chief Mutasa is playing his roles and duties to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment in Mutasa area.

Forestry development has transformed the lives of Mutasa people. With the ability and good leadership qualities in Mutasa traditional leaders, they have managed to distribute land for the growing and processing of timber. Areas such as Erin Forest Nyakupinga, Penhalonga and Sakarombe are famous timber hubs. Establishment of Wattle Company and Allied Timbers in Mutasa district is a clear indicator that the area is developing economically. Timber production is done commercially and the product is being processed into finished product in Mutasa area. Much credit is given to traditional leadership who by authority vested in them managed to fairly distribute land and other resources to people to erect community development. Social progress has also been witnessed as the area leaders are creating building blocks for employment creation. Wattle Company and Allied timbers are employing a sizeable number in the Mutasa community. Creation of employment improved living standards of ordinary people. People live healthy and have access to better primary health care, quality education and infrastructural development. The community is also benefiting from the establishment of these timber processing companies as witnessed by infrastructural development established by the companies. Road construction, construction of schools, hospitals and shops are indicators of economic and social development in Mutasa area. Timber production tremendously developed Mutasa area as the area inhabitants enjoy formidable and commendable good quality living standards. Thus traditional leaders are playing their roles and duties of community development.

Power generation in Mutasa area is an economic indicator of community and national development. Abundant rainfall received by Mutasa area have transformed the area to be a power generation society. Hauna electricity scheme was built from May to December 2016 and commissioned in 2017 with the beginning of rains. The station has a capacity of producing 2.3MW of electricity and a transmission of 33kv into the national grid. The brains behind this idea is a clear highlighter that Mutasa area is developing under the stewardship of Chief Mutasa. Power generation for domestic and national use significantly helped the operations at Wattle and Allied Timbers. These companies require adequate electricity for operations. Operation that need electricity such as schools, hospitals are not much affected by national load shedding hence executing their jobs diligently. It is therefore prudent to credit roles being played by Chief Mutasa and his team to develop Mutasa Kingdom.

Culture and the traditional leadership

Culture is the opium of every society. It is the role of tradition leaders to guard jealously its cultural norms and values. Like other Shona communities Chief Mutasa practises the rain making ceremony, kurova guva, and masvikoro among others. Rain making is a traditional ritual for the rains. This is done at every start of the raining season. Brewing of tradition beer is done to perform the rain making ceremony. It is believed that by performing such ritual acts the Mutasa area annually receives adequate rainfall. Kurova guva is a Shona traditional way of bringing the dead spirit in the family and society at large. Respect of totems in Mutasa area is also practised. As the area is inhabited by different people with different totems, the Chief thus crafted preservative measures to guard these species. People in Mutasa are ascribed to different totems such as Lion/Shumba, Soko/Monkey, Nyati/Bufallo, Humba/Pigs, Nhewa/Leopard, and Moyo. Thus killing of these animal spicies is a punishable offense in Mutasa kingdom. Cutting down of traditional fruit trees is also a punishable offense. These trees include, muhute, mutamba, musekesa, munzviru, and mutohwe. Such trees provide the Mutasa people with delicious juicy that is healthy.

The traditional leadership has managed to erect sound and vibrant systems to map economic and social progress of both community and national development. Preservation of culture is being done as a way of integrating people. Therefore, Chief Mutasa has developed Mutasa district.

By Leon Chigwanda – Researcher with Great Zimbabwe University

Chirumhanzu – Chirimuhanzu

Chirumhanzu area is located in Midlands province between Mvuma and Masvingo in Zimbabwe. Chirumhanzu District is a Second-order Administrative Sub-division of Midlands between Mvuma and Masvingo. Its center is about 46 km south of Mvuma but the administrative centre has moved to Mvuma a small mining town just off the Harare-Beitbridge Highway near Gweru Turn-off. It occupies 496 square kilometres of area with an estimate of 80 thousand people according to 2016 national census. Annually, the area receives 650mm of rainfall and an average mean temperature of 10-29˚C. Chirumhanzu refers to the traditional home land of the Shumba-Tembo yekwaChirumhanzu people. History of Chirumhanzu people is traced back to colonialism where how Goveranyika who died in Mutasa district in Manicaland in 1795 was the first chief of Vagovera people.  Interestingly,  his brother Mhepo, after a family dispute delivered the group of Vagovera passing Enkeldon  present day Chivhu where he made a marvellous and beautiful dress (hanzu) hence, the name Chirimuhanzu. Unfortunately, Chief Mhepo died in 1820.  Nherera son of Chief Mhepo became adventurous and built his new kingdom called Guta raNherera or city of Nherera present day Driefontein.  As Nherera was on the expansionist expedition some of his lieutenants went to settle in some parts beyond Nyautonge, Mavhaire and Ngezi rivers now in Chirumhanzu area.  Therefore, since 1820 the area known as Chirumhanzu was occupied by the group of Manyika people of the Shumba-Tembo yokwaChirumhanzu and the Karanga people. At this juncture it is imperative to expose the Chirumhanzu chieftainship from the death of Chief Nherera in 1820. Chief Zinyoro ruled from 1973 to 1992, Chief Masendeke was acting in 1992 to 1994, Chief Hunyenyiwa from 1994 to 2004 and Chief Mudzengi from 2004 to current. It is also important to note that, Chieftainship in Chirumhanzu district is assisted to administer the community by headman or Sadunhu and cowboys or masabhuku. This history is important in exposing the birth, rise and growth of Chirumhanzu dynasty.

The role of Chiefs

Traditional chiefs have a role in shaping, moulding and developing communities in independent Zimbabwe. Traditional chief in Zimbabwe as a whole are the custodian of our values, norms and tradition. Traditional leader’s play a leading role in developing every society economically, politically and socially. Interestingly, the traditional chiefs advance the social progress index as a model in community development. By social progress they make sure basic human needs are met, foundation of wellbeing and opportunities are created in their societies.  They work with government organisations, non-governmental organisations and private organisation in fostering community and national development.  In fact, Chief Chirumhanzu is preserving the sustainable development goals by allocating land, preserving the environment, promoting gender equality, peace and justice, good health and quality education.  Thus, by doing so Chief Chirumhanzu’s ideology of advancing human social progress in Chirumhanzu district is a stepping stone towards community prosperity

It is the role of the traditional Chiefs to provide for its people most essential needs.  Provision of good quality food for human growth is essential in driving towards community development. Growing of food stuffs such as maize and drought resistance crops is evident in Chirumhanzu in areas of Hama, Chaka, Mavise and Mvuma.  Able bodied people are responsible for erecting development in every societies. It is the main thrust of Chirumhanzu chieftainship to feed everyone. Chief Chirumhanzu is also mandated to provide water and sanitation, air, shelter and personal safety to his people. Provision of water and sanitation defines human beings. Thus, Chief Chirumhanzu and all stakeholders are compelled to drill boreholes, harvest water through building dams and wells a way to meet people’s needs. When water needs are met, people will be liberated from water related diseases such as cholera and diarrhea. Furthermore, provision of basic medical care is being done in Chirumhanzu area. Construction of clinics and hospital in communities is to be initiated as a way of meeting human needs. Health care liberates the mind of human beings. A society without clinics and hospital is a death trap. It is therefore prudent to applaud Chief Chirumhanzu by availing land for the construction of Mwoyomusande Mission, Holy Cross Mission, Hama Mission, Driefontein Hospital and Muonde Hospital. It is prudent to argue that, when human needs are provided the citizenry is free to participate in economic, social and political spheres of life. Therefore, by advancing social progress of people in Chirumhanzu district, traditional leaders are playing a central role in mapping community development.  

Chief Chirumhanzu is mandated to create opportunities for all individuals to reach their full potentials. Creating opportunities through access to higher education is a step towards community development. Primary and Secondary education should be provided to everyone in Chirumhanzu with the respect to gender. Evidence of schools such as Hama High School, Taringa primary and secondary, Takwira High, Shashe and Hwata primary schools is good in measuring community development. Such evidence is necessary in exposing the roles and initiatives being done by chiefs in erecting community and national development. Advancement in tertiary education should be promoted. Individuals will have the full potentials to explore, excavate and initiate new ideas for community development. By doing so the Chief Chirumhanzu is also mandated to create employment opportunities and good policies to boast private sector development in Midlands province.

Culture, Value and Norms in Chief Chirumhanzu Dynasty

Society is measured by its ability to preserve its culture, norms and values. This ability has been witnessed in Chirumhanzu community where the traditional leaders are upholding this ideology.  Culture of Kurova guva or Kuchenura/ Kudzosa a ceremony of officially inviting home the spirit of the deceased is being done in the community. Rainmaking or Maganzo ceremony is done in the society as a way of sourcing sufficient rainfall for agricultural development. All these process are being done by brewing of beer and community gathering. Moreover, the ideology of totem is preserved in the society. Killing and eating totem of community members is a fineable offence.  Drafting of offences are done by the chief’s council and everyone will be advised of these fines and penalties.  This will help in protecting the environment hence national development. Therefore, Chief Chirumhanzu is developing his society through preservation of culture, values and norms.

Conclusively, Chief Chirumhanzu is fostering community development in Midlands province. By advancing social progress to everyone the community has developed. Access to basic human needs and creation of opportunities has transformed the area. Land has brew positive fruits in providing food and security to the people, provision of good quality education and primary and secondary health care. Preservation of cultural norms and values are also being done to foster community development.

By Kudzanai Rushiri

B.A Hons in Economic History