Chief Mangwende (Nhowe people) history

Mangwende dynasty was started by the patriarchy of the Nhowe people, Sakubvunza in 1606 who established the Shona tradition state of Nhowe. Mukarate is a place in the northern eastern Murewa district of Zimbabwe. It is situated in Mashonaland East province and is almost entirely inhabited by Shona-speaking people of the Zezuru dialect. The traditional leaders/rulers of the area are the Nhowe people whose chieftainship is called Mangwende. Many of the Nhowe people use Mukarakate as a surname because it is the name of the great – great ancestor of the tribe. Their totem is ” Moyo Mukuni” which uses the bull as its symbolic animal, the heart is sacred not the whole body. In 2013 the then chief Jonathan Tafirenyika Chibanda passed on in South Africa. He was the President of the Chiefs Council. He was the son of Chataika Chibanda Mangwende. He became chief Mangwende in 1926 and died in 1936. He only ruled for 10 years.

Their chieftainship employs a system of collateral succession which alternates between houses of the dynasty. Mhotani (Bokoto)and Chitopi (Hundungu) houses ruled between (1833-1878). Hundungu is the first person to assume the ruling title Mangwende with proper infrastructure from the Rozvi. There was no common name in the reference to the chieftainship and previous chiefs used family names in respect to the clan , Nhowe.

Chieftainships and dates

Sakubvunza 1606- 1631

Gatsi  1633-1656

Mushawatu 1657-1681

Dembetembe 1681-1706

Mhonyera 1707-1731

Hwita 1732-1756

Zemura 1757-1781

Rota 1783-1831

Mhotani 1833-1857

Hundungu 1859-1878

Katerere 1878-1879

Mungate 1880-1924

Chibanda 1926-1936

Munhuwepayi 1937-1960

Enock 1960-1968

Chibanda 1969-2013

Mhotani (Bokoto) and Hundungu ( Chitopi) are the highest ranking names in the modern day history of Nhowe politics and they represent both chieftainships. In the case of Mungate 1 (Mushawatu) and Gatsi 1(Bukuto) houses are purely for administrative purposes and lineages lived in close proximity for over 3 centuries at Mahopo Chitopi Nyakambiri river near Marondera.

The Mangwende clan dominated the geographical area between Makoni and Mutoko in Mashonaland east in Zimbabwe and existed in the political format of traditional states. Mangwende had a fighting force that fought rival clans and was often called to defend allies in battle. Within their territory the Mangwende chieftainship had several  chiefs of surrounding clans under their protectorate who would pledge allegiance to chief Mangwende in return for military support if attacked by other rival chiefs.

Mangwende administered over welfare , security and all order of small chieftainships clans and presided in ceremonial duties.

The house of Hundungu who was chief from 1859-1878 and was the first to assume the title of chief Mangwende with proper Rozvi structure. Prior to this period all chiefs (mambo) were called or known by their family names. It was at this time that there was a bit of animosity between the two chieftainship lineages as it was alleged that the other lineage had attacked the other with a flock of bees from a charm (Gona).

Katerere father to Chirodza and Chibanda ruled for one year and died 1878-79 and was replaced by Mungate son of Hundungu who ruled from 1880-1924. He was the chief by that time when the white settlers arrived in Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia. Most of the late Mangwende chiefs are buried at the Mangwende shrine in Mahopo Masekwa. The Bukuto house decided to bury their chiefs at Bokoto in Mukaravate. Only 3 chiefs were not buried at Mangwende shrine, Musekwa Mahopo being Katerere, Enoch and Chibanda 11.

White colonialists arrived around the period 1890 and disguised as hunters and missionaries and settled in the territory controlled by chief Mungate Mangwende. In about 1896, chief Mangwende fought white settlers who tried to impose on his territory in the famous battle known as the 1896 Rebellion. It led to his forces to defend chief Makoni who had also been involved in the resisting of white settlement rule.

Chief Mangate’s oldest son Muchemwa was given orders by his father to fight the colonialists white settlers in the 1896 with the uprising in conjunction with Mbuya Nehanda and Kaguvi. Mungate made peace with the white settlers in 1896 his son Muchemwa and other members of Nhowe  continued to wedge a guerilla type of war. This continued upto 1903 and ended in the fierce battle in Bokoto hills which lasted several weeks.

Muchemwa brokered a deal with the white settlers that he could only lay down his arms together with his lieutenants on condition that he did not face prosecution.They agreed on one condition that he resided next to Murewa District Headquarters where he will be monitored. After the rebellion the white settlers took over the fertile land in Mahopo Musekwa and chief Mungate was moved to a place called Rota; Chamachinda. The village around Murehwa district centre is known as the Mangwende village at the time of Muchemwa’s death in 1909 (murdered his father while still on throne) but he left three sons Mbumbira, Munhuwepayi and Maiziveyi.

Munhuwepayi became a chief of Mangwende village and the entire Murehwa area from 1937- 1960.

He was disposed from chieftainship for continually disagreeing and criticising white settlers administration decisions which deemed to be gross insubordination. Another contributing reason ; he participated in politics 1950-50s up to independence 1980. Once dethroned he was sent to detention at Gonakudzingwa restriction camp (where they banish and sleep) in the Southern Rhodesia near Mozambique border. He was not permitted to enter the near Salisbury (25 km radius) or visiting his relatives and children. He died in 1988 and buried at Mangwende shrine. It was his brother’s sons who performed the rights for the chief Munhuwepayi to be buried at the shrine.

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