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

26 Replies to “Chief Chinamora of the Shawasha people”

  1. Your research is incomplete, the current chief is supposed to be from the house of Chidziva, and there is no one by the name Mhaka in the house of Chidziva, infact the current seating acting chief is not a mushawasha his late father who was said to be the chief was also not a mushawasha, come to Makumbi mission and we will give you the correct history of the chinamora succession

    1. That is very true. I sense this was hurried research, maybe for scholarly purposes. You cannot talk about Chinamhora chieftainship without mentioning Mhembere and his sons, Chinamaringa, Wafanenhombo, Chidziva and Nzvere. He also left the part where the Chieftainship moved to present day Chinamhora from Chishawasha.

  2. Thank you for penning this piece. Ndiri muzukuru wevaShawasha mwana wemukwasha. Mbuya vangu vamamhete mushawasha, ndeweimba yanaFrederick nanaDomnic Mavunga from Makumbi. This piece will be incomplete without making reference to Chishawasha where the chieftainship was originally housed. For scholarly and historical purposes a family tree illustration could have solidified the research. The prominent names in this chieftainship were left out, the likes of Chidziva, Nzvere and Chinamangira.

  3. Lets gather the truth history first before publishing the information .information haitorwe kumunhu mumwe munoenda kudzimba dzese dzaMhembere dzinotambidzana chimuti chehumambo dzinoti mukuru Chinamaringa ,Chidziva naNzvere monyatsonzwa hurukuro yedzinza redu then mozokanda pamhepo.Allan Gwindi wemba yekwaChinamaringa paGwindi maChinamhora

    1. Mazvita mukoma wangu, what you speak is non else but truth, I am not privy to our history as a clan and rely on scholarly research it would be shame if I was to collect half baked truths about my people. Prince Kahari here

    2. Taura zvako mukanya .isu varidzi vendoro yehumambo hwacho hatipaparike nekutaura history yemubook ,history yedu tinotanga before varungu uyezve mambo chaiye haamhanyire kuti ndini chaiye kuma newspaper kunyarara zvedu isu vana nhikamatika hotokoto inokwira namubvinzi …pfumojena kunze kwave kuchena varidzi vave kuuya tarisai zvenyu

  4. Chokwadi hachikundwe nenhema..zvine dzimba nevanohugara vendoro ….kunze kwachena yave nguva yemuridzi kuti achihugara Chinamaringa (Kahari) then vanun’a vozotevera zvavekutanga patsva

  5. Chikono chinokwira namubvinzi. Their is not much talk about Wafanenhombo here. I also blame us ana mukanya. We should commission someone to document the true family tree for future generations

  6. This is a mixture of tuth and unprecedented falsehood. Come to chinamhora and get accurate information about the vashawasha

  7. Isu vana Soko Mukanya Murehwa tauya vane vehumbambo ndibvunzei ndikuudzei zvizere. Va Shawasha tinobata Domboshava yose. Takuuya kuhumbambo hedu.

    1. Ndinofara kunzwa ana mukanya vachiti homu homu…. Ndinodawo chose kuziva zvedzidza rangu iri….. Ini ndinoziva kusvika pana muchemwa anova tateguru rangu, but the scarce information l have tells me of vana mhapira/ mapira, chaitezvi naDengu anova anemusha unonzi dengu paBindura area. Angabatsira nemore information ndinotenda chose

  8. Derere was the father to my grandfather .munyori anyora history yatoziva isu sana chinamora,isu vashawasha vana pfumojena vaera soko.

  9. Good day leaders of our land. Leaders whom majority trust and believe into. Leaders whom i think they fear God.
    Allow me to draft in short my heaviest concern about our land and you reapond to my email.
    My inherited land was empounded selfishly by my young brothers while I am in Cape Town where I am working. This piece of land was ushered by my late Father who had his sister (Atete), at our family village to her first born Son and is currently his piece of land of cultivation.

    Now my current Father’s young brother(baba munini), wrongfully inspired his sons and they now cultivated and the seeded the land in front of (muzukuru), please note this land belonfs to me. It’s mine given to muzukuru.

    May I have your ideas to setrle this matter before I rush to Domboshava Zimbabwe at our village to solve this messy.

    May God bless you.

  10. I appreciate the person who started this research.We all want to know our history.Knowing it and not documenting it in scholary platforms does more harm than good.May you please write the correct information than commenting bad about someone who has tried at list to make the name Chinamhora known.Humambo is supposed to be for vashawasha but you are not doing anything to take over from vazukuru venyu vari kutonga.Regai tiuye tihutore isu ana mambokadzi.I love to hear our history starting from North Africa to Kenya then Guruuswa until we settled in Zimbabwe.VaShona are believed to be the ones who built Zimbabwe ruins.Takes us from there to Chishawasha.What happened until we settled in Makumbe and sorrounding areas.Put the facts down.Publish them .They are important for next generations.

  11. There are many important missing names here. There’s Chidyausiku, Mandaza/Shambare, Vito. Where do they fit in? Who’s currently running Chishawasha the HQ of the clan? This narrative will be incomplete without mention of Shambare

  12. Hama dzangu takawanda chose.saka kunyora history yedu chero munhu akasiirira zvimwe wedzeraiwo musamushora zvenyu.kubvawo pakutanga kwehushe hwedu kusvika parizvino chinhambwe.kwakava nekutama kwakanyanya.kugadzirwawo kwemaguta kwakakonzera kuti vamwe vagare chero kwaChikwaka chaiko.asi kana tikanyora zvishoma zvatinoziva pamusoro pemhuri yedu zvinotipawo shungu dzekutsvagisisa.thanks makudo
    Ini ndoitwa Pride Tanyanyiwa ndichibva kwaRusike Goromonzi ndinobudawo mumba yaChidziva

  13. If only people could add on what’s missing rather than jus point the errors . When additions are made it becomes more clearer for everyone . I appreciate the Author , at least he did something . Vashawasha let’s add on and build our family tree. There will always be questions about chieftainship hazvipere asi ngatitangei tazivana first . Tatenda

  14. Makadiiko ana Mugagami Mvumvurume.Munyori anyora chaizvo ndomatangiro akaita huChinamora.Ini ndinonzi Sabhuku Mhizha ndiri mwana waChikakayi akaberekwa naMakumbe uyo akaberekwa naCharumbira mwana waWafanenombo munin’ina waChinamaringa.Chinondishamisa vanhu vanoti dzimba dzinotonga inhatu sei yet they were 4 sons of Mhembere namely Chinamaringa, Wafanenhombo, Chidziva and Nzvere.Ndomafambiro ehushe hwedu.This time it’s Nzvere akugara.After Nzvere its going to be Wafanenhombo coz takagara kamwe chete panguva yaCharumbira.

    1. MaShawasha ndinokukwazisai mose. Ini ndiri mwana wemhuri ya Chief Mutyawasara ainzi Nyamhunga. MaShawasha makauya mukagara munyika yedu yaMambo Mutyawasara naizvozvo yave nguva yekuti titorewo nyika yedu yamakapamba. Nanhasi hamuna mhondoro inonaisa mvura murudzi rwenyu nokuti makauya mukagara munyika yevaridzi nokushandisa gona. Kubva kwamakabva Hwedza maifamba muchipamba nyika dzevanhu. Makazouya kwedu kwaMutyawasara mukazvigadza humambo mega. Madzimambo aigadzwa nemhondoro yenyika iyoyo zvino zvamakauya mukatora nyika yemhondoro yaivemo makabva marohwa neshamhu yekusawirirana pachenyu. Chikonzero musingavige madzimambo enyu munyika yedu inyaya yekuti haisi nyika yenyu kune kwamunogumira. Pamuchagara matare enyu semhuri ehushe ibvai makurukura kuti nyika yaMutyawasara muchaiita sei.

      Mazviita

      Ndini mwana waNyamhunga Mutyawasara

  15. Ini ndokumbira kubvunzawo dzinza kana kuti Nhoroondo rinotangira Chikwaka Area rinozosvika pakuzonzi ana Soko Matemai kuzonogara Bindura Area. Zvakafamba sei mutupo wavo ndeupi chaiwo chaiwo. Ndibatsireiwo kuziva Nhoroondo yedzinza iri.

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