History of the Zvimba dynasty

Zvimba district is located in Mashonaland West province, in central northern Zimbabwe, sharing bounderies with Guruve district to the north, Mazoe to the east, Harare to the south-east, Chegutu the south, Kadoma to the south-west and Makonde district to the west and north-west.

The Zvimba chieftainship was founded by Neuteve Chihobvu who migrated from Guruuswa (thought to be in present day Tanzania). Chihobvu was Neuteve’s father and is the founder of the tribe in Guruuswa. Neuteve left his father’s kingdom and travelled westwards in search of a country for himself. This was probably part of the same migration as such other chieftainships like Chiweshe, Chipuriro, Chivero, Chirau and Magondi. When he arrived in the now Zvimba area, he complained that his feet were swollen  (Ndazvimba makumbo). He was thereafter nick-named Zvimba. At the time, the Rozvi governed the country and Tambare (thought to be Nemakonde) allocated the land to Neuteve, driving off Svinura’s people. Zvimba’s clan are of Gushungo totem with Zezuru as their main dialect with Korekore also in some areas.

Neuteve had three sons: Nemahunga, Negondo and Pokoteke. To the eldest, Nemahunga, was allocated a tract of land where Msengezi purchase area is today. Negondo married a sister of Gwenzi (a member of the Chivero community near Chegutu /Hartley), but was unable to father any children, so he invited his young brother, Pokoteke, who helped him to father Chambare and Pokoteke. These two were regarded as Negondo’s sons.

Zvimba family tree is as per the link below:


Neuteve’s successor in the Zvimba chieftainship was Negondo, who was followed by Pokoteke. The later gave a tract of land to Chambara (where Martinspur is today). This area was called Chikanga. Pokoteke himself retained control of the area between Karoi and Hunyani rivers. He married a Chikunda woman (from Portuguese East Africa) and had two sons , Kakomwe and Chidziva.

After Pokoteke’s death, Beperere assumed the chieftainship on the grounds that his elder brother Chambara, had his own inheritance (Martinspur farm). The news of the death was slow in reaching Chambara, but when he heard of it and came to pay his respects, he incited trouble. He wanted both areas, but many people backed Beperere, because Chambara had been away in his own area for many years and was regarded as a virtual stranger. Chambara had the support of Pokoteke’s sons, Kakomwe and Chidziva, and he sought and obtained assistance from the Rozvi, who had spears which instilled great fear.

Beperere’s people took refuge at a hill called Chakona, and were soon surrounded by Chambara’s warriors. Beperere summoned his sons to him and gave to each a horn of a wild animal, as follows: Baranje (eland), Nyamangara (kudu), Gwewera (sable), Dununu (tsessebe) and Chimbamauro (bush-buck). He himself had a horn carved from bamboo. They assembled in an unplastered hut on top of the hill and blew their horns in unison, giving off a terrifying din. A great wind arose and carried the hut (complete with occupants) to the far bank of the nearby Hunyani river. Beperere seeing the fear of his brother, shouted across the river: “You have failed “(wa kona) – hence the hill is called Chakona to this day.

Chambara was unable to cross the river, but shouted back: “Young brother, let us fight now for the country!” to which Beperere responded: ”Do you know what we are fighting over? Are we not brothers of the same womb? Is it not proper that each son should receive his inheritance? You, elder brother , have your country, this is mine!”

These words annoyed Chambara, who shot an arrow across the river at Beperere. The arrow landed into the sand near Beperere, who shouted: “So! It is you who has the audacity of war – yet you have no aim!”. He plucked the arrow from the sand, broke off the head, and spat on the shaft, saying: “Look, brother, my aim is true, but do not touch this arrow when it reaches you for you will surely die!” He shot it back across the water, on its way the arrow turned into a cockrel and settled on Chambara’s head, depositing its droppings in his hair. The BaRozvi loughed at him and withdrew their support. Thus Beperere got the country.

Chambara became insane and died shortly afterwards, and Beperere shared out the country amongst his sons. To Baranje, he gave Bangasefu (Banket) and he did the same to the other , with the exception of Chimbamauro, who began to sulk and beat his drums loudly every night until he was given land near Darwendale.

Thus originated the present subdivisions, of the Zvimba area: The chief’s own dunhu, and those of Dununu, Nyamangara, Chimbamauro and Nyamukanga (Chambara’s son).

Movements into and out of the area

Chief Mashayamombe tried to conquer Chief Zvimba’s people but was driven off. One, Chimanga, a kraal head from chief Nyandoro’s country, came to settle in Zvimba’s area, and was given a wife and a small piece of land. Chimanga is regarded as a “Muzukuru”, who officiates at the succession of chieftainship ceremonies. The following also came from other areas: Chitsinde, from Chief Hwata, Kutama from Chief Gutu, Mariga from Chief Nyashanu, Mucheri from vaRozvi. In recent times, Chief Nyabira’s people dispersed themselves, and many settled in both Chief Zvimba’s and Chief Chirau’s countries.  In addition, Madzima moved from Chief Njanja, Runganga from Chief Mutasa, Chaparadza from Gokwe and  Masiyarwa from Chief Chihota.

On the other hand Chief Serima moved out to Serima tribal trust land. Chief Serima shares the same totem (Tsiwo/Ngonya).

Totem praise

Maita Gushungo,VokwaNzungunhokotoko,Muchero waNegondo,Maita Tsiwo, Usavi hwavamwe varume,Vambwerambwetete,Kugara pasi kusimuka zvinohwira vhu,Musati hutukwa,Mutupo ndowenyu,Tatenda varidzi venyika,Vakabva Guruuswa,Varidzi vamazhanje.Maita vokwaZvimba,Vazere muChakona, Vene vamachiri namakute,Vano kutizira kunenge kudyara nzungu,Vakapangura nyika inoIchakatsitswa nezamu,Vomutupo weGushungo,Vari chipata, Zambezi naMaringohwe,Aiwa mwana waZvimba,Zvaitwa vaNgonya.

Compiled by: Misheck Samanyanga

Source: Mainly National Archives

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31 Replies to “History of the Zvimba dynasty”

  1. My mother is from Zvimba clan and I grew up surrounded by the clan itself. I usually sit with the current chief Dununu. I think some of the information is accurate but there’s some glitches like the one about Chimbamauro kingdom is near darwendale and the fight between Beperere and Chambara. And there’s another part which worth to be written like how Chambara dies. It is also said Chambara died after the fight with Beperere and he dies from the wounds from the battle.

    Bottom line is I think it worth to research more

    1. Impressive. may you please help me with the same type of history about the origin of the Chirau people. i am a Chirau myself but i do not have the history of my people. Thank you in advannce

      1. Chirau is a muzukuru to Zvimba. Chirau was a great and trusted warrior by Zvimba. When Chief Zvimba of that time was distributing land to his sons to help with governance, Chirau requested for some share and he was given the now Chirau area. The way he came about is something I cannot write about but if you can get in touch with me I will tell you muzukuru

        1. Thank you for the enlightenment, it’s quite interesting. I am a Gushungo and l seek to know more about the origins of the tottem and the general history associated with it. I need to also teach my children, vasarasike…Thank you.

        2. How is Chirau muzukuru wa Zvimba? May I also ask the connection if any, between Chirau who is mwendamberi ye nondo compared to Chivero ve mwendamberi ya Chivero

        3. Chris Murungweni, thank you. Please elaborate on how Chirau is related to Zvimba and how he arrived in the area where they have a chieftainship today.

  2. I would like to know the actual mutupo of the Gushungos kuti Tsiwo or Ngonya zvinomirira mhuka ipi kana kuti tinoyera chii chaicho

  3. Enlightening but seems you did not mention that the Zvimba people were initially only allocated a small place to rest by Chief Chirau. It’s surprising how today Zvimba has become a paramont chief controlling such huge tracks of land kutosvika muHarare.

    1. I dispute that. Its understand that the land now referred to as zvimba was initially allocated through varozvi at the time perhaps rupengo. Chirau muzukuru waZvimba to be precise.

    2. Zvimba allocated a small land by Chirau? actually its vice versa..chirau was given influence by Rhodesians but in actual fact Chirau was given land by Zvimba people

  4. Thank you. I am a Gushungo myself. I would be interested in knowing how a family was driven out of Zvimba to settle in Chiweshe. My grandfather told me they ran off after a tip off that chief Zvimba had prefered this family from a junior wife to take over chieftainship. Brothers from senior wives of chief zvimba did not like this and plotted to assassinate the family. Hence the running away to chiweshe.

  5. Its quite interesting that you are actually tapping into the narratives about the origins of the Zvimba people. I think you should have enlightened the readers about how these narratives differ from one source to the other, for instace the death of Beperere and how his son Gwevera caused it, or the death of Uzande (Negondo). You also left out some gaps on the wars that the Zvimba fought especially after the reign of Pokoteke, these wars they illuminate into the political problems that the Zvimba people faced in Chipata. In your narrative it seems as if the Zvimba were overall rulers of Chipata, but we know that the Rozvi were the overlords of the land called Chipata. Tell your readers about how the Rozvi influenced Zvimba chieftainship for instance the Beperere and Chambara’s fight in which Chambara seek assistance from the Rozvi even though they later saw no reason to fight on Chambara’s side and left the battle field.
    Your narrative should also have shown the people about the mysterious place called “Pagondo”, how is that place important to the Zvimba chiefs even up to today?

    1. Very interesting. I am sure we will all benefit from your understanding that gives rise to those brilliant searching questions

  6. Some of the info here is correct but among other things l am just going to comment on the inaccuracies concerning Beperere’s sons. Gwevera (or Chigovanyika/Govera), Dununu (Dutsa), Chisora (Chiimbamauro), Mutimuri and Dyakonda are the sons of Beperere..no Gushungo people here will pour out all our history here koz most of the stuff is for our consumption as a family.

    1. And Dyakonda had Dzirambi Akaita Tome akapihwa zita mushure mekunge amhanya kunouraya nzou yanga yabata Dzirambi apa mudzimai ari mu labor ya Garan’anga.kkkk ndaseka coz when I was 8 around 96 Baba Vangu Zvondai always talked about his Granddad Garan’anga vakazvara Nyikayaramba who called Dyakonda asekuru VA Baba Vangu….Long Live Neuteve ndini wake Xenophon

  7. Tipireio nenzvimbo yepa chikaka paibva vamatewu vakavigwa padombo ini ndibva munaraunda iyoyo the history is gud although mamwe mazita andaona hatina kumbowanzwa pakukura wangu living me with questions

  8. I am a bit confused about the Gushungo ‘s origins. My late grandfather told me that we originated from South Africa according to what he was told by his fatjer and settled in Zvimba his side of family in particular was in the Kahungwa book until they migrated to Guruve where we are currently located and we are the Gushungos but funny enough we use Ngwenya as a surname all because they said that was the surname we had from SA. My late grandfather claimed his father came with the first whites who settled in Zimbabwe and they were given the Zvimba chieftainship because of their loyalty to the settlers. May you please enlighten me

  9. Thank you for the informative contribution. Please kindly comment on the Madzima Clan, their origin, their connection to the Dutsa/ Zvimba Chietainship and their contribution and current role, if any.

    1. There are two Mwendamberis, the first one being Shava, who originates from Nyashanu of Uhera. Akavakidzana zvake naZvimba but his Chieftainship is Chivero, in Mhondoro, covering areas like Sandringham High School, Chibero College of Agriculture (which should actually be Chivero College of Agriculture, all the way to the Mupfure River. Some of his descendants, through ‘migration’ are also found in the Zvimba area. The second Mwendamberi ndiye Nondo as explained nevamwe pamusoro apo.

  10. @innocent Ngwenya
    That is the same story I got from my clan. They came with the settlers during a war
    Please enlighten us more on this . Is there a record we can look up either inSA or Zimbabwe

  11. Can someone please kindly furnish me with the list of names of the sons of Chambara, Pokoteke’s nevanji

  12. Ini ndiri muzukuru wekwa Nyamangara. Ndiri Mangwenya. Ndakaudzwa kuti kwaive na chief kana headman Chifamba. Anoziva nezvazvo anga batsira chose nekuti imwe background ndinayo. Zvimwe zvirikutaurika ndirikuwirirana nazvo. eg. Chirau akapihwa a piece of land na Chief Zvimba semuzukuru. As the land was too big to manage regardless of being the
    Rhodesian government later being involved. To cite just a few.
    If I need to write all in English I will. Some say Banga was the father of Headman Chifamba but
    It’s a bit fuzzy. We learned the headman would marry several wives as was custom. I have a list of named children according to their birth from one of Headman Chifamba’s Wife Samoyo totem Nzou Samanyanga
    One of the grandchild is alive and turns 97 this year.

    Thank you so much for your assistance in advance.

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