Some Pre 1900 dynasties

Starting in the far north of the region, in the angle of the Mazoe and Mubvinzi known as Satwa, was a minor ruler known as Tambi, a ‘Rozvi’. He was supplanted by the Musana gumbo dynasty which came from the Mutapa state. The dating is however vague: the Musana gyneology goes back to the 18th century, or perhaps earlier  as there have been civil wars in the dynasty, but a gumbo offshoot under Mudzimu had already reached middle Zambezi by the 1690s, so it may be that the conquest of Tambi was in the 17th century. On the other hand the Musana-Mudzimu linkage may be suspect. Just to the south of Satwa between the Mubvinzi and Nyaguwe was the Gora gwai dynasty which was supplanted by the Chikwaka mbano dynasty from the Mutapa state. The main Gora dynasty moved to Matanha on the edges of Chivero’s country, while others moved to the modern Murehwa area. Neither the Chikwaka nor the Gora gyneology go far back into the 18th century. To the south-west of Gora was the ‘Rozvi’ soko/murehwa dynasty of Ditoti, conquered by Chinamhora’s Shawasha in the 1st part of the 18th century. On the Mhanyame was a Shava dynasty under NeHarava, conquered at about the same time or a little earlier by the Seke shava dynasty. On the site of the modern city of Harare was Mbare shumba/gurundoro, conquered in the late 18th century by Hwata and Chiweshe shava from Buhera, and west of him on the Gwivi flats was the Nyavira shava/nyakurivuka dynasty. The small Nyavira group survived until the 20th century, but it lost all of its land to farmer and all of its people scattered so that no history has been available. Another Shava dynasty, that of Zumba, occupied the upper Mazoe and Tateguru valleys before it too was conquered by Hwata and Chiweshe’s Hera. We also have the Nyamweda moyo/ziruvi dynasty, which apparently originated in the Jeta Hills east of the upper Mazoe.

To the east it was bounded the large territory of Maungwe under the Makoni Shonga dynasty and by the western limits of the Nyanga archaeological culture which is still little known to us from traditions. To the north-east lay the territory of Budya , dominated by the dynasties of the shumba totem. To the north lay the Mutapa state of Mukaranga, dominated upto to about 1700 by the nzou-samanyanga Mutapa dynasty but containing many subject groups of different totems. To the west lay the Zvimba and Chirau dynasties , part of a greater number claiming ‘Guruuswa’ origins, and with vague links with the Mutapa dynasty. To the south lay the shava belt , the nearest dynasties of which were those of Chivero, Rwizi and Mbiru. Non of these frontiers were entirely rigid in political terms: groups crossed it in both directions, and on north bank of the upper Save territory held by shava groups under Mbiru and Masarirambi-Mutekedza was lost to dynasties from farther north.

More on Gora Gwai dynasty

Devera is one of the Gwai dynasties though little known when compared to Gora. The Gora, gwai/mukuruvambwa was another gwai dynasty. There were links between Gora and a group  that accompanied Nyamhunga, a dynasty that reached Zambezi-Sanyati confluence area. Both of these had come from the territory between the Mubvinzi and Nyaguwe where a ruler named Kanyoka had a daughter who married the ancestor of the Chikwaka mbano/matemayi dynastry. Conflict between the mbano and gwai groups, with Rozvi involvement, led to the former dynasty coming to rule the disputed area, while Kanyoka’s grandson moved to Chivero’s country. There he was given land in the Matanha area, east of Nyundo tributary, and founded the Gora dynasty. This would have been before 1800, and the exact circumstances under which  the Gora dynasty established itself are not clear. This was because Gora was put under Nherera shortly after colonial rule began, and by the 1960s it was claimed that Nherera usurped Gora’s rights when the latter fled in fear from the guns and foreworks at Edward V11’s coronation celebrations in Salisbury. Thus it was claimed that the Rozvi gave Gora land and he in turn allowed Nherera to settle. The more prosaic truth is that in the late 1890s, the NC Hartley found several different groups in Matanha and put Nherera over them for convenience sake.

Turning to the eastern half of this region, the early dynasties are even thinner on the ground. A Gunguwo Rozvi dynasty figures prominently in the history of the upper Mupfure. In what was to become the territory of Nhowe there was nyamhunga or Nyamunda who preceded the Mangwende dynasty. Some sources make him the moyo ancestor  of the Tandi dynasty of Maungwe , while others make him Barwe or even Shangwe, though it is agreed that he was under the Rozvi before Mangwende arrived. Finally one of the groups that figure as immigrants , Samuriwo moyo/wakapiwa, apparently came from Uzumba on the northern border of the north-central plateau.

Dynasties that by documentary evidence or traditions can be shown to have been, or to have very probably been, established before 1700: Mutapa, Makoni, probably Marange, Mbiru, Ngezi, Chivero, Zvimba, Chirau and possibly Rwizi

Extract taken from D.N. Beach

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8 Replies to “Some Pre 1900 dynasties”

  1. I want to know the origin of the Maungwe dynasty. Chief Makoni’s sons. When they arrived in Zimbabwe and from where,

    1. The Makoni family is from Tanzania .They used to speak Shona language before 1800 centuries they migrated to Zimbabwe in search of food and also victimized by colonialist who were looking for land and minerals.

  2. Please, I would like to know more about the “immigrants , Samuriwo moyo/wakapiwa, apparently came from Uzumba on the northern border of the north-central plateau.”

    what does moyo/wakapiwa mean? was this totem that was adopted or existing? Present day North Central plateau is whwere in Zimbabwe ?

    Thank you in advance and please any book recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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