A close look at Chivi history


African dignity is bestowed from the one’s roots. This is the case of Chivi (Chibi)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.


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. 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 the 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 whilst 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 quickly transplanted into Tavengegwei. Interestingly, Tavengengwei had the same attributes of his grandfathers 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 reveals 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 worth noting that, Tavengegwei became a polygamist and he was blessed with other sons and these included; 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 led by Musunda the elder one attacked their uncle while swimming. Unfortunately, the pool turned 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’s other sons became headmen. 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

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40 Replies to “A close look at Chivi history”

    1. A lot of lies there. The battle was at chidziva in makaruke not Runde. There is a lot of discord in your narration

  1. ingano yamanyora apa iyi vakudzanai rushiri. founder of the chivi dynasty ndiChikanga and nyangwe vakabva zvavo kwamtoko havana hukama naNehoreka. vanobuda muvaera soko vaMakate.

    1. According to history told. Makate and his clan disappeared in a rock after vafumurwa mishonga yavo yavaizvitavira nayo. Vaera Shumba vanobva kuna Nehoreka for sure though there may be sketchy history.

  2. Tavengegwei is said to be Chief chivi 1 and yet you say he died leaving chief Nyaningwe on the throne?

      1. Nyaningwe are the Hove people. Tavengegwei’s wife Vachifedza was of Hove tribe, from Chief Musaigwa. True, Shumba people of Chivi descent are maternal descendants of the Hove people, and they expanded their clan under Chief Nyaningwe.

  3. Vana dziva who fled the River went on to settle in the present day mberengwa area they are also known as Musaigwa , with last descendant of Musifare who was linked to Va Chifedza. This is the oral I heard growing up with the Musaigwa uncles of mine . But myself i am a shumba murambwi.

    1. In your narrative I don’t read anything about Nechidzudzu, Takavarasha and Makovere. Which makes me doubt your narrative.
      As a muyera Shumba our “praise poetry”(Chidawu) as Shumba-Murambwi-Masinire, my father and grand father as they recited.., I often heard them mention Makovere.

  4. This history needs to be documented correctly. For example, the person who left Mutoko is Chikenge son of Nehor-eka who is progenitor of Chivunguvungu who is the progenitor of Murarapavi, who is progenitor of Mudzingaire, who is the progenitor of Tabengegwei who married Shandurai-Va Chivedza who had one long breast that I was informed produced 12 sons. My own lineage that settled in Matebeleland is not mentioned in all documents I have read about Chivi people. I am a descendant of Tabengegwei through Hazvirishike who is progenitor of Murahwe, who is the progenitor of Shirichena, who is progenitor of Sigogo, who is the progenitor of Vuma, who is the progenitor of Saul, who is progenitor of Thabani who has generations after him in South Africa.

    1. Yours is very interesting and you are right, we need to have someone or people who can come up with a total history this clan of ours, You mentioned Sigogo and I remembered my late school mate who was a Sigogo of the Sibanda totem. i myself adopted thev surname Sibanda because although born in Chirumanzu, I grew up in Gwetu.

      1. That Sigogo is your relative. Sigogo became one of the soldiers in Lobengula’s regiment called iSiziba, under Manyewu Ndiweni, who was in fact Mzilikazi’s chief. Sigogo was raised by Chief Ndiweni at the request of Lobhengula from Sigogo’s father, Shirichena. Shirichena was Lobhengula’s Nyanga (traditional healer).

  5. I heard that Shumba Murambwi totem is a totem that originated in Chivi district so i need to know more about its main origin and how our forefathers settled there

  6. Wazama but Tavengegwei uyu ndiye aive nemkoma wake wainzi Bere vakatanga kugara paZvinyaningwe kwa Gundura Chirumhanzu ndokuzoenda pa dhibha pa Nyaningwe mkoma waTavengegwei Bere akadzokera kuMashava uyu akasara ndokuroora Mwana wevaera Hove kwave kuzvara Takavarasha,Mapuvire,Matsveru,Madyangove,Masunda,Maregere,Mazorodze,Madamombe and Nemahuzhe ndivo vakazodzinga madzisekuru mu homo guru riye rine boaster now asi ivo pakutanga vaigara paZvinyaningwe paye panematura now

    1. Ko Zita rekuti Gundura rakabva kupi? Gundura akaberekwa nani? Ini ndiri wekwaGundura asi nhoroondo yendu inondirasa. Sekuru vangu NdiTafireyi Gundura, vakatamira kuGokwe nevanin’ina vavo Jefias naMartin. Martin akazoendawo kuZambia. Baba vasekuru vainzi Machazire,handiziviwo kuti Machazire akaberekwa naani. Handina kukurira kwaChivi saka nhoroondo zhinji handina.

    2. Bt other documents say vachifedza bore five sons with Tavengegwei.Who was then the mother of Takavarasha,Masunda,Mapanzure etc?

    3. Nemauzhe ndishe asi arimuera Ngara. Matsveru wataura nezvake asi Marozva naZireva hatina kuhwa nezvavo sei nhai munyori. Tsvaka nyaya zvakanaka

  7. Hie.l am also part of Matsveru family from chivi but l don’t know my tree diagram.My father name is Simon Matsveru but he later died.Help if any clue.0773073242

  8. Good narration worth noting. our history is not perfect and factual to the point because it is mostly oral and not documented. Your narration differs a little with that of the late professor E. Makambe who was a historian and from the Murambwi clan.

  9. Makambe did not get it correctly. I think, when it comes to lineanage the best source is the family or families not text books. The Chivi people are not an offshoot of Lozwi or Rozvi people. Lozwi people are Moyos, varidzi venyika after San people. The Lozwi people came a long time before the arrival of Chivi people in Zimbabwe, possibly 1500 years before. The Chivi people are descendants of Nehoreka, whose father was Mukombwe. Nehoreka, together with his father, two brothers and their famous sister Njapa entered east part of Zimbabwe from Mozambique. They were descendants of people whose journey is traced from Middle East, through Yemeni, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, there spreading further down South and back tracking north. Some of the elderly people used to say they are the people of the north.

  10. Chivunguvungu is not the son of Nehor-eka. He is grandson to Nehor-eka. Chivunguvungu is son of Chikanga who is son of Nehor-eka.

  11. I’m in Zambia I know little about our history as murambwi however my suggestion is that let’s have a physical research especially you people who are in Zimbabwe,let someone find erderly people Kwa Chivi kwacho to give us the side of the history or you go through Chief Chivi who can identify the same people (elderly people) for us thanks

  12. In your narrative I don’t read anything about Nechidzudzu, Takavarasha and Makovere. Which makes me doubt your narrative.
    As a muyera Shumba our “praise poetry”(Chidawu) as Shumba-Murambwi-Masinire, my father and grand father as they recited.., I often heard them mention Makovere.

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