Saturday, 5 May 2012

Mbuya Nehanda:Her bones shall rise again

by Malaika Wa Azania on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 3:03pm ·
It was under Robert Mugabe that Zimbabwe won its independence in 1980,after an armed struggle against the White setter regime led by the racist Ian Smith.This war of liberation,known as Chimurenga 2,ended in 1980 and was inspired by the first Chimurenga that took place in 1896.Chimurenga 1 was led by Nehanda,a young woman who was a spirit medium.

Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia) was colonised in the 1880s and became a British colonial empire in Southern Afrika,stretching from the Cape (South Afrika) to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia),Bechuanaland (Botswana) and Nyasaland (Malawi).It was the imperialist,Cecil John Rhodes' dream to run a railway line from Cape to Cairo,to consolidate British Control of Afrika,her wealth and her people.Under British rule,land in Zimbabwe was occupied and people were pushed into reserves similar to Bantustans.The indigenous cultures,civilisations and religions were destroyed including their political,economic and social orders.Through the imposition of taxes such as the Hut Tax,the British forced people to work for them.

The God of the Shona is Mwari.The Shona honour their ancesters and believe in spirit possession and reincarnation.The spirit mediums are called mhondoros or lions.It is believed that the mhondoro would wander the forests until it found a suitable medium.These spirit mediums look after specific regions and give advice to chiefs and elders.
The story is told that sometime during the 14th centuqy,Prince Mutota left Great Zimbabwe to found the Mutapa state.Traditional society in Zimbabwe was patriarchal.Although taboo in Shona culture,he ordered his son to commit incest with his half-sister,Nyamhika,who became known as Nehanda,or ruler of Handa.At Mutapa,Matope announced that upon his death his spirit would enter a mhondoro.Matope's sister-wife also became a guardian spirit with supernatural powers.Later,Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana,born 1863,was believed to be the female reincarnation of the spirit of Nyamhika Nehanda

The first war of liberation,Chimurenga 1,was started in May 1896 in Matabeleland.That same year the people of Mashonaland joined the uprising.3 spirit mediums participated: Mukwati in Matebeleland,Kaguvi in Western Mashonaland and Nehanda,the only woman,in Cental and Northern Mashonaland.
Nehanda inspired her people to rise up against the colonisers and drive them out of Zimbabwe.This was the first popular countrywide armed struggle against British colonisation.The British retaliated and killed many villagers.However,Nehanda maintained her strength and leadership.Everyone,including men,accepted Nehanda's leadership and she was able to unite all the people of Zimbabwe,from both Matabeleland and Mashonaland.

In 1897,Nehanda and Kaguvi were captured and sentenced to death.They were hanged on a hill near the present day city of Harare.
Before she was hanged,Nehanda promised that her bones will rise up again to lead the struggle against European colonialism.Although only 35 years old,Nehanda was portrayed as an old woman.Yet she was a dynamic young woman,unmarried and with a deep passion and love for her country and her people.
Nehanda inspired the 2nd Chimurenga,which ended White minority rule in Zimbabwe in 1980.

Nehanda belongs to all the people of Afrika and her spirit lives on.Her bones will rise up once again through working women and men and once again,Afrika will be free.
This is the 3rd Chimurenga: the struggle against neoliberalism and imperialism.

Forward with the intensification of the liberation struggle!

Long live Nehanda

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