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. Mukarakate 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 Muzukuru” 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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56 Replies to “Chief Mangwende (Nhowe people) history”

        1. Nhohwe people are moyo muturikwa and not moyo muzukuru. The original rulership of Nhohwe whose last chief was Mungate Mangwende who ruled from 1880 to 1924 before his rulership was forcebly taken away and given to first moyo muzukuru chief in 1924 who was Chibanda. This was facilitated by the then white Native commissioner Wirri Edwards who felt Mungate was insubordinate to him unlike Chibanda who would bootlick Edwards hence was awarded the moyo muturikwa chieftainship and thereafter the history was compleyely dostorted in favour of moyo muzukuru.
          Moyo Muzukuru chieftainship only started in 1924 hinging on past rulership which belonged to moyo Muturikwa vaNhohwe vana magomatema.
          All previous chiefs and headmen inclusive of Hundungu, Katerere ,Gomwe all belong to Moyo muturikwa.

  1. From the history I saw Mushawatu did not resend to chieftainship since 1680 and no history about his sons .I am a living descendent of Mushawatu my uncle is brother to Mungate and presently a village of Mushawatu of Mangwende tribe is in Musana.

    1. wow i am happy please this is my phone number 0776468229 . you are my people

  2. wow interesting may the almighty God bless the vaNhowe people the living and the dead. may we rise.

  3. Good effort to document our ancestral history . But there are a lot of missing facts and misinformation. The Chieftainship, according to internal oral tradition rotates among Four main Houses of the the First Dembetembe , who had 33 wives. The Houses are of :
    1. Nyandoro, who was Dembetembe’s first born Son.
    2. Darangwa House
    3. Chibanda House .
    4 . Mungate House.
    It is the the 2 Houses of Mungate and Chibanda who bribed and connived with the then District Native Commissioner , Williams of Murehwa and paid him with a virgin daughter for a wife to change the order of the Chieftainship to exclude the Houses of Nyandoro and Darangwa from the chieftainship. If anyone remembers well , there were coloureds vazukuru vekwaMangwende who at one time owned buses. Those were the kids that were born out of the sale of one of our Nyamita to DC Williams for the alteration of the Mangwende chieftainship. The chieftaincy will never assume it’s royalty, weight and sacredness for as long as it being traded like this and it’s order has not been restored. We are the descendents of Nyatsimba Mutota who migrated Northwards from the Great Dzimbahwe , in search of salt. He later returned through areas of Mashonaland Central and finally rested at Chitopi, Mahopo, near Marondera before being moved by the white settlers. All the way from great Zimbabwe we left relatives behind who assumed varrying zvidawos . In Chipinge you find the Moyo Sithole. The Moyo Muturikwa branched from us, due to disagreements and or mischievery, so as the Moyo Muvhimwa, etc. We share the same ancestors back in history.So you find out that the base totem of Moyo, is kept. We are the Munhumutapa, we are the Rozvi, we are the Moyondizvo , we share the same great great great ancestors. We are the Moyo, varidzi veNyika.

    1. Very interesting claims! Everyone calls themselves varidzi venyika? Imbori yaaniko nyika iyoyi it seems inongove nyika isina vanhu! Or is it vanhu vasina nyika!?

      1. You can use “dunhu” instead.

        “Nyika” essentially refers to the area under one’s jurisdiction.

    2. Please do your research well and allow yourself to make informed contributions. Mungate Teteguru NEVER CONNIVED with the colonialists settlers for anything. If at all anything, he instructed his Gallant Fighter Son Muchemwa to fight the Colonialists head on. Which unfortunately is ill documented in the present day history of Zimbabwe, his efforts to liberate Zimbabwe from colonialists. Long live unsung Hero of Zimbabwe Muchemwa and your Gallant son Munhuwepayi👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

      1. Oral history mentions of two Nyamitas who were offered to Bernard Mzeki and Wirri Edwards and for what reason nobody currently knows

    3. The Moyo. Muturikwa did not branch from you. The Moyo Muturikwa are the original Nhohwe people. Moyo Muzukuru emanated from the nephew ( mwana wehanzvadzi ya Muturikwa.) . The last chief(King) of the Muturikwa dynasty was Mungate in 1924 who fought the colonialists represented by William Edwards((Native District Commissioner for Murehwa). Mungate’s sons fought the colonialists and muzukuru (Chibanda) was installed by the colonialists as paramount chief. Today, no traditional rites can be conducted without the Muturikwa presiding. Nehanda’s statue was commissioned in Harare and the Muturikwa were requested to perform the traditional rites. Chief Svosve, who was also muzukuru to Mungate had to approach the Muturikwa people to preside over the rites. Nhohwe dynasty belongs to the Muturikwa clan.

      1. I advise the writer to research history properly and to avoid distorting the correct facts. Where do you seperate Mungate from the Nhowe Clan- Moyo Muzukuru to be conveniently a Muturikwa Chief?
        History can not be rewritten in such a distortion of facts? There does not appear to be any Muturikwa who was Chief in Murewa? Perhaps the writer could enlighten further.

      2. Moyo muzukuru clan emanated from makunakuna akaitwa namuturikwa na Nyamita sister yake hence moyo muzukuru.(names withheld for now)

      3. There is reference to this unknown (hanzwadzi) ya Muturikwa, can you share the name of this so called sister. The Moyo Muzukuru Chieftaincy is properly documented to this day and no where has the Muturikwa appeared as chief, can you share this mystery.

    4. I just need to be educated lm also a Nhowe. Born in Gumbanjera family. My question is are we not in the Chieftainship race. Most of us are housed near St Peters Dombwe but we relocated to Chamapango area

    5. I agree the Nhowe Clan we are descendants of Mutapas, but the how part i tend to differ.
      1. Sakubvunza married Mutapa’s daughter Nyamita. They had 2 sons, Mushawatu and Gatsi. Thats why the Mangwende Chieftaincy rotates between 2 houses, ie Mushawatu (Bokoto) and Gatsi (Chitopi). Unfortunately people carry their fore-fathers’ oral tradition and sideline other households. The Mutapas and the Rozvi are one family (ndaanaAsekuru vevaNhowe) coz vaNhowe tiri vana vaNyamita zitete revaMutapa rakaroorwa naSakubvunza. The Mutaoas are the original Mwoyos. Is kunze Mwoyo Muzukuru, zvirikubva pakuti takashandisa mutupa wekumusha kwaberekwa aNyamita. Saka tainzi ava ndaanaMwoyo veuzukuru vana vaTete Nyamita. Ndopanobva kunzi vaNhowe ndeveMwoyo Muzukuru.
      2. Mangwende is not a surname, its a title yemunhu wemuMutapa state aive ari in charge of rainmaking ceremonies. Sakubvunza was a mhondoro with super rainmaking powers. Aipira mvura kt inaye, ichibva yanaya zvine mutsimba. Ndosaka uchinzwa zvichinzi “yanaya yechiNhowe” kana kwaitika heavy rain. So his title amongst the Mutapas was that of rainmaker, “Mangwende waMwenemutapa”. All those that use the title as a surname mix their facts inorder to sideline other households within the Clan. VanaMuturikwa, Muvhimwa, Mupfuiwa etc are all subtotem within the Muzukuru totem that emanated from internal Nhowe strife. Vanhu vaichinja zvidawo zvavo coz vairwira uChief panofa mambo.
      3. This Nyamita watunonzi ane dziva uyo, aive mwana waMushawatu, akange azopihwa zita raaNyamita ambuya, mai vababa. So ndiye wedu Nyamita weNhowe. The first being Nyamita weMutapa.
      Gatsi akazvarwa arimukomana wepiri mumba maSakubvunza. Akapihwa zita rekuti Gatsi, kuteedza zita raaSekuru kumusha kwaAmai, named after Gatsi-Rusere.
      3. Mangwende (Sakubvunza) was a sub-chief surbodinate to the paramount Chief (Mwenemutapa) . He was in charge of trade with the Portuguese and other chieftains. He also collected tribute on behalf of the Paramount Chief. Mangwende was a Mukuwasha in both the Rozvi and Mutapa states. Thats why at the overthrow/decline of the Mutapa State with the Rozvi dorminance, anyone who wanted to assume Mangwende Chieftaincy was supposed to go kuMasvingo kwanaaSekuru kunokumbira humambo. Zvakakonzera kt vanhu vechiNhowe vateverane nekupondana munanaWedza umo vachienda kwanaaSekuru.
      4. Its always best to outline nhoroondo yemba yaMangwende tichidzoka kudzimba mbiri dzeNhowe dzakaitwa naSakubvunza, that Mushawatu and Gatsi. That way tinodzika nenhoroondo yedu zvizere.

      Thank you hama, ndinonzi Colin Nyaradzo Sakutukwa.

      1. Thank you Colin, however, Sakubvunza had three sons namely Mushawatu, Gatsi and Botyo who died without family, this is why his name disappears from history.. While you mention Nyamita as Mutapa’s daughter, who was Sakubvunza’s father? How does Sakubvunza become mukwasha waMutapa and Rozvi at the same time, please shed more light? Should it not be Mutapa muRozvi? Can you be more elaborate on Nyamita the daughter of Mushawatu? Overally you seem to narrate the chronology well.

    6. There are so many questions than answers on this narrative which can be classified as fictional writing. The writer needs to read history and verify facts.

    1. Based on oral histiry handed dow generstions as narrated by the Late Thomas Mrewa, like other Bantu people we migrated southwards from Central Africa (Guruswa) and settled in Zambia. Our patriach who was a granson of Lewanika and Commander in Chief of his army decided to form his own chieftainship with the blessing of his grandfather crossed the Zambezi and settled in Makove in what is now called Mt Darwin.

      His 4 sons, Masembura, Gatsi, Dandara Murehwa, his maternal sibling Tandi decided to move further down. Masembura settled north of Shamva. The other three brothers proceeded south eastwards a under the leadership of Murehwa the eldest of the three until they reached the area called Murehwa today.

      1. My father’s mother has the maiden name Mrewa/Murehwa. Her father was Ezekiel Murehwa Mujuru, the son of Mujuru Mrewa. The totem is Moyo Muzukuru, Gono Chirandu.
        I believe kumusha kwaAmbuya wangu ndiMukarakate kwaMrewa, asi I’m not sure.

      2. Thank you Moses, however, if you are referring to the Nhowe mangwende dynasty, there are distortions especially on the second paragraph where while Masembura and Tandi’s story may be acceptable the others being mentioned are not the correct ones, there was only one person. This story needs further research to resemble some truth.

    1. May you enlighten on Benard Mzeki issue. One school of thought says Mzeki was in courtship with chief Mangwende ‘ daughter without the consent of chief Mangwende. So him Mzeki was then mudered by the Mangwende people and they buried him in a secret cave. Mzeki was a missionary so the Mangwendes feared their daughter would convert them to Christianity.

      1. Mzeki was an Anglican Missionary who officially married Mutwa, daughter of Chief Mangwende. His marriage certificate is there for authenticity

  4. Hmmm… the names that I see such as Mukarakate, Chibanda and Mrewa/Murehwa are familiar names to me. My paternal grandmother is a Mrewa with her totem being Moyo Muzukuru, Gono Chirandu.
    First of all with Mukarakate..
    I think Mukarakate is the name of the place where my paternal grandmother’s family are from.. Mukarakate kwaMrewa. I’m not really sure though.
    Second with Mrewa/Murehwa…
    That’s my paternal grandmothers maiden name. That’s where she is also from, kwaMrewa.
    And lastly with Chibanda..
    My paternal grandmother’s mother (my great grandmother) was a Chibanda by birth. Asi handizive mutupo vake, vakashaya mu2010.
    So yeah, these names seem very familiar to me. Even though I’m not a Mrewa by birth but a Muzukuru kwaMrewa.

    1. Mukarakate naKaterere vana vaMhotani aiva Chief Mangwende. Katerere akazoitawo Chief Mangwende. Katerere ndiBaba vaChibanda. Chibanda naMukarakate Baba(mnini) nemwana.

    2. May someone clearly state or elaborate kuti moyo muzukuru yakatangira papi uye yakawana hushe hwa muturikwa seyi??

  5. Based on oral history Muchemwa fought the white settlers and made peace agreements with them to show he was a real Hero who’s history is not documented but only the destorted one of mbuya nehanda and kaguvi it’s a real shame
    Long leave the hero’s
    Also Nyamita raiva svikiro remvura

  6. The Nhohwe kingdom belonged to the Moyo Muturikwa clan whose dynasty ended with Mungate in 1924. Chibanda (who was installed by colonialists under Williams Edwards) was a nephew of Mungate ( sister’s son) hence the emergence of Moyo Muzukuru. Chibanda usurped chieftainship after Mungate and his sons (including Muchemwa) fought colonialists and lost favour . All those who became chiefs after Mungate in 1924 are not original Nhohwe people but vazukuru vanvehanzvadzi who assimilated the clan names of the Muturikwa dynasty. This can be demonstrated by the fact that the current Mangwende cannot preside over any national traditional rites involving spiritual ceremonies. They have to request descendants of the Moyo Muturikwa clan to perform the rites. At the ceremony where the statue of Mbuya Nehanda in Harare they had to ask the Muturikwa descendants to perform the rites. Both the current Mangwende and Svosve usurped chieftainship of the Moyo Muturikwa dynasty and are not of the original Nhohwe Kingdom.

    1. For some reason I had missed Jonathan Chando’s incorrect narrative. It lacks research and can not be verified as it sounds like hearsay and fictional. It seems to suggest that Nehanda was a Moyo when she was a Hwata, and the fact that she fought in the first Chimurenga alongside some of the Moyo Muzukuru fighters does not necessarily make her a Moyo.

  7. There seems to be a lot of distortions on the relationship of Nyamita and Sakubvunza. We need well researched information. My information is that Nyamita never married and never had children, in addition she was not married to Sakubvunza as they were generations apart.
    The notion that Mungate was a Muturikwa Chief is disputed as it can not stand any historical test.

  8. We did an exercise for the “Moyo Muvhima”, starting at Mutota.

    The area we investigated is boundered within Makoni, Mutoko, Uzumba, Rusike (Marondera), Svosve and back to Makoni.

    I do not see that branch here. Where do they fit in.

  9. This is awesome.we belongs to great fighters and to be a descendant from hundungu chitopi .let’s keep our inheritance

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