Nyanga Chiefdoms explained

Nyanga District is located in Manicaland province. The district is bounded on the south by Mutasa district, on the west by Makoni district, on the north-west by Mashonaland East province and by Mozambique on the eastern side. The Nyanga mountains occupy the southern portion of the district, extending into Mutasa district. Nyanga National Park covers the central part of the range, including Mount Nyangani , Zimbabwe’s highest peak. The Gairezi river forms the eastern boundary with Mozambique and the Nyangombe river being the western and north-western boundary. The Nyangui  highlands lie in the center of the district and this is where  Nyangui state forest/plantation is located.

Some of the chiefs in the district are; Saunyama, Katerere,Mupatsi, Tangwena

CHIEF SAUNYAMA

They  are Vaunyama or Vatokwana by tribe, with Shato as their totem and Mheta as chidau. Their language is Chimanyika. The chief is appointed on collateral basis by spirit medium/svikiro. The main family tree is as per the link below:

https://www.zimtribes.com/search/links/surname/saunyama/member/

The tribe is said to have come from Nembire under the leadership of Mudziwepasi. Mudziwepasi had several sons and two of these became headmen holding away over his border areas – Sanyamaropa and Ganje.  Upon the death of Mudziwepasi, his eldest son, Nyoka, and another son, Hata, went to arms over the succession. Hata was ultimately killed, and the tribe split into two sections; the main section under Nyoka lives in the present Inyanga and Mutoko districts, and the smaller section under Hata fled to Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique).

Some years later, after the turn of the century, the Hata group returned and sought readmission into the tribe. Saunyama permitted them but would not allow them to have independent recognition. Since then the two elements have never reconciled. During the 1930s, the then native commissioner recognized the Hata segment as a separate chiefdom but this did not prove to be a lasting solution.  Later in the 50s, Mr Meredith, the then Native Commissioner , achieved a reconciliation of the two segments, and the idea was that the chieftainship was to alternate between these two villages. The Nyoka (senior) lineage first received the title, which they retained until the death of Kanyuru. Upon Kanyuru’s death Hata lineage claimed the title, but were outmaneuvered and outvoted by the Nyokas and Kamunu of the Nyoka house succeeded to the title.

In the meantime the Hata family have been given the headmanship (Gwidibira) which is not recognized by the Saunyama chief, who claims it to be a Government invention and not based on tradition, which says the Hata came back from East Africa and requested for a place to live in and were accepted.

The Hatas on the other hand, appear to consider a headmanship a scant recognition and indicate that they should be the chiefly house at the moment, based on Mr Meredith’s negotiations.

Some of the kraals under Saunyama’s Zimbiti Tribal Trust land include; Zimbiti, Sanyabako, Munuwani, Gwanyangwanya, Kanyuru, Saruchera, Chibaya, Tayengwa, Kutombo, Nyagura, Mandiwawarira, Tamunesa, Chipika, Sachirera, Nyapfupi, Kuwenyi, Chiobvu, Ruziwa, Nyakwangwa, Sadomba, Dirorimwe, Gambe, Matongo, Nyabeze, Mukonowatsauka, Tasundwa, Katsatse, Samapenda, Chimonyo, Mupambo, Mapara, Mapako, Katuta, Marawa, Chinyerere, Mudondo, Tungunika and Mupfurira.

Then under Swithin Tribal Trust land included; Dambakupetwa, Mutetwa, Samatina, Mufakazi, Manimanzi, Kadyamukonde, Sanyapani, Nyagwara, Nyamutowera, Mazarura, Nyagwande, Mutetwa, Sanyamahumba and Mutigwa.

Sanyamaropa Community

They are Vaunyama of the Shato, Mheta totem. They were given the area by Sawunyama with a view to protecting the eastern and southern portions of the chiefdom. The area derived its name from the bloody battle which took place in it, between the Nyoka and Hata after the death of their father Mudzewepasi. Their main family tree is as per the link below:

https://www.zimtribes.com/search/links/surname/sanyamaropa/member/

Some of the village kraals include; Karima, Sanyadowa, Sanyamaropa, Nyabasa, Samungure, Bumira, Chisoma, Mawadza, Nyikayaramba, SanzengaSamanyika, Samukuwira, Samuwi, Chidokohori, Mutemararo, Masangwi, Ruwende, Hamunakwadi, Murengami, Marugumisa, Manyawu, Sereko, Nyamupangedengu, Samutamba, Matema, Ngawagare, Ziko, Magadu, Kunyarimwe, Mukwekwe,Matiza, Gonda, Mutunduwe, Wudinge and Dhladhlara.

Ganje Community

Vaunyama, of the Shato, Mheta totem. Some of the kraals here include; Dandadzi, Mandigora, Mutetwa, Munembe, Bariri, Garafa, Satuku, Mutanga, Mukurakudhla, Sanyatwe, Sanyanhongo, Takundikana, Dzimano, Shamwarira, Guta, Madziwa, Sagwidza, Sakarombe, Nyamande, Sadazi, Nyazenga, Mandidewa, Tungunu, Kambuzi, Mandioma, Mutukumira, Nyabanga, Nyamakupe, Nyagweta, Nyagwaya, Gondokondo, Chapambauka, Nyanzuma, Mandikuwaza, Masaya, Nyagadza, Nyamutena, Mususa, Shatindo, Mandiwanzira, Mutandakamwe, Paridzayi, Mutsikamawe, Mazumba, Sabvure and Mataswa.

Gwidibira Community

They are Vaunyama, with Mheta as their totem and ChiManyika as their language.  Some of the kraals here include; Bonde, Maposa, Dzapasi, Matsapa, Nyatondo, Ndarangwa, Mutimutema, Ngwaseke, Manjoro, Mandipaka, Bore, Mandicheta, Sanyahokwe, Nyamugafata, Pasipawora and Bepe.

CHIEF TANGWENA

They are Wanewa or Wanyanga by tribe, with Ingwe totem and Nhewa as their chidau.  Their language is Manyika. Below is their main family tree link:

https://www.zimtribes.com/search/links/surname/tangwena/member/

The tribe came from west through Nhowe (Murehwa) and settled in Portuguese East Africa-Mozambique (where most of the tribe now are). In 1952 the Portuguese tried to get Mudima to go to Portuguese, East Africa to be chief but he refused. Today the chieftainship is reduced to one kraal in the Tribal Trust land and some kraals in the “European areas”.  Most movements have been to and from Mozambique.

CHIEF KATERERE

They are of Hwesa tribe, with Mbeva as their totem and their language is Chimanyika.  Chief selection is collateral based.

They are said to have come from Mbire which is the present day Hwedza district, led by their founding ancestor, Muriga. They settled in their present area which they say was unoccupied, and divided into  three groups, under Katere, (those of Sachiyo, Sanani and Katerere); each group was headed by a senior member of the original family.  There is some disagreement as to which branch was originally the most senior, but Katerere emerged as the overall leader as he had a far larger following than the other two.

Katerere’s main family tree is as per the link below:

https://www.zimtribes.com/search/links/surname/katerere/member/

Movements included Nyakakweta who was placed under Katerere but belongs to Sawunyama – was moved by Government. Sabvure who usedto be under Katerere, was moved out under Saunyama by the administration.

Some of the kraals include; Maruza, Binguro, Chabundo, Jani (Maruza), Matoropito, Mashumba, Marowo, Samakange, Mangezi, Tsengerayi, Zimunya, Mukuzunga, Munondo, Musuza, Mafara, Taziwa, Muzudza, Mundenguma, Katerere, Arufandika, Mupunwa, Sadowera, Mugarandega, Manwere, Fombe, Kazhanje, Kanyokazinu, Nzerodzawo, Kagoza, Koromora, Mukondo, Mupondapatari, Musangadzi, Chatara, Figu, Fero, Chibisa, Tizora, Chifambe, Chibvura, Renzwa, Sabamba, Kazozo, Nyamagoromondo, Tembo, Nyandoro, Pfumaikaramba, Sangoma, Kodzaimambo, Mbiriadu, Mukunza, Kawarauswa, Kudangirana, Kwawa, Katandika, Kadyamusuma, Nyakakweto, Nyamudeza, Mukwewa and Chibvembe.

Some of the divisions include; Sachiyo community and Sanani community.

CHIEF MUPATSI

They are of Shumba Tembo (Mbizi) by totem and Manyika by tribe. Chokahambeni was nominated by Mutasa to act for him in ruling the VaManyika in Inyanga district, and was appointed acting Chief in March 1949 but died on 18 April 1949. Mpatsi was nominated by Mutasa as his next representative. The subsequent chiefs are supposed to be appointed by Mutasa but Mpatsi then considered himself a chief in his own right and that his sons should succeed.

They are vaManyika and claim to have come from Mbire (Hwedza), but evidence suggest that they originally came from  the Dande Valley (Zambezi).

Communities under Mpatsi include; Mparutsa, Mandeya 1 and Mandeya 11, Zindi, Chikomba, Mudzindiko, Samanga.

Mparutsa Community

They are VaManyika of the Shumba (Mbizi) Gwara totem. Chifambausiku came hunting from the Victoria area. He showed Muponda cooked meat which he liked. However, later Muponda chose rump and not breast; therefore, Chifambausiku said he must be greater than Muponda (as he took the breast) and he assumed control.  Mundofa was a hero in a fight against Makoni (and was given a medal showing he had the right to be a chief). When he refused to take the chieftainship, he was given the present area.

Some of the villages within Mparutsa include; Buwu, Chimbu, China, Dumbura, Feremba,Kashiri, Mapeza, Mparutsa, Manyumwa, Mwanatsa-Jojo, Nyandoro, Sanyadororo Nyahereka, Samukupe, Sanyanga, Toro, Tafangombe, Tegwe and Zvarewamambo.

Mandeya 1 community

They are of Mbizi Shumba totem and fall under Mutasa.  They left Chief Mutasa and moved to Mapwepwe. All those who crossed Odzi were told they would not return (Mandeya, Saruchera, Sakarombe). Later they moved to Chirarwe and then to Hwera. Chief Mutasa ordered one branch to move to Holdenby.

Movements into the area included Marowe from Chirarwe, under then headman Sadurawe, and Chukimu moved from Makuni.

Some of the kraals include; Aparari, Chikumbu, Chinyama, Dudzayi, Dzingirayi, Hakuziwi, Kagweda, Kasikayi, Kawunyangepi, Magadzire, Makaha, Mpatsi, Muchena, Mukoyi, Murowe, Mwanaka, Nyamakambo, Nyariya, Tondondo, Toronga, Tsemunhu, Musakwa, Tadyanemhandu, Chitsanza, Dera, Dzvairo, Manjoro, Mashingauta, Mangere, Mikuro, Makora, Tichawangana, Dirorimwe, Guwerere, Kanganya, Mutwetwa, Munuwani, Nyamurundira.

Mandeya 11 Community

They are of Shumba Mbizi totem with Manyika as their language.Same history with Mutasa.

Some of the kraals include; Dziruni, Kawunyangepi, Nyakuwa, Hamudikuwanda, Mangwanda, Makwara, Sipeyo, Matambo, Mbare, Zawara, Pamayi, Fenga, Chiko, Chatambudza, Macheka, Sharambuya, Dzimwasha and Nyamundanda.

Movements into the area include; Dziruni, Nyakuwa, Mangwanda, Chatambudza, Dzimwasha, Nyamundanda, Hamudikuwanda, Pimayi, Fenga, Macheka, Sharambuya. Those from Mozambique included; Kawunyangepi, Makwara, Sipeyo, Matambo, Mbare, Zawara and Chiko.

Zindi Community

Mbizi Shumba totem with ChiManyika as their language.Came with Mutasa and split on arrival.

Some of the kraals include; Nyakunuwa, Temanyi, Samutete, Zindi, Ndarowa, Chapinduka, Pfumanyi, Mugayi, Dzira, Sanganza, Madzitire, Makabvepi, Marimbita and Sapanana.

Chikomba Community

Of the Shumba Mbizi, being Barwe/Manyika  by tribe.  Share same history with Mutasa. They moved from Mutasa on their own accord and settled in their present area.

Below is the link to the Chikomba family tree:

https://www.zimtribes.com/search/links/surname/chikomba/member/

Some of the kraals include; Marume, Maya, Sanyatsuro, Mungombengombe, Sagambe, Zuze, Chimuswe, Marechera, Kubarakwawina, Madzinga, Sabvute, Makwenzi, Mubata, Bracha, Magwendere, Chiwanza, Satombo, Kapipi, tetawako, Manari, Chavanga, Pachije, Sachisuku, Murandahandiumwe, Katiyo, Katambarare, Sadondo, Tongayi, Mukambachaza and Sanyamindu.

Mudzindiko Community

They are of Shumba, Bonga totem. Same history with Mutasa. People from Rusani moved from Jenya. Their main family tree is as follows:

https://www.zimtribes.com/search/links/surname/mudzindiko/member/

 Kraals include; Chikopo, Chinamasa, Chinzou, Duri, Haripo, Kadzere, Kudumba, Kurewa, Mamvurura, Mapfumbate, MufandaedzaNenjerama, Nyamukondiwa, Rashama, Sherukuru, Tafangwewedu, Tsawa, Zinyembe, Mudzindiko, Mandangu, Dowera, Sachirarwe, Sadziwa, Samabza and Samusodza

Samanga Community

These are of Shumba Mbizi and of Manyika tribe. Were sent by Mutasa to occupy the area. Kraals include; Manunure, Chijara, Mareya, Munyuku, Sanyamandwe, Kwambana, Mbawa, Muchenu, Chipupuri, Sanewe, Samanga, Manzere, Chitsunge, Mandiopera, Chingweshe, Mangwara, Samushonga, Chidawanyika, Zamba, Madziro, Danhama, Moyoweshumba, Nyatsanza, Kwesha, Rore, Tamba and Pangeti among others.

Misheck Samanyanga is a freelance and passionate history researcher and founder of Zimtribes.com, an online platform that encourages people to document their history and build generational Family Trees to help current and future generations so that they know who they are and where they come from. For assistance in creating your Family Tree, kindly send an email to info@zimtribes.com

Source: National Archives of Zimbabwe et al

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