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