Chanetsa chieftancy reinstated

Noah Pito
\nOn May 27 this year – 65 years after the Chanetsa chieftaincy was reduced to headman status by the colonial regime – President Robert Mugabe appointed Headman Adam Katsvere as the fifth Chief Chanetsa of Hurungwe, thereby restoring not only the Chanetsa chieftaincy but the dignity and respect lost at the hands of the white settlers.

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Relegation of the Chanetsa chieftaincy to a lower rank occurred in 1950 after Chief Muzarabani Chanetsa who had been pushed to Hurungwe from Mbowe area in Makonde had pointed a gun at a white district commissioner in protest against a directive to move him from the Nhari-St Borniface area where he had finally settled following his great trek from Makonde.

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During those days, the white settlers could displace blacks willy-nilly in their bid to pave way for agricultural and mining ventures.
\nThe first ever Chief Muzarabani Chanetsa who had been commissioned chief for Mbowe by the colonial powers at Chirorodziva (Chinhoyi Caves) in 1895 slowly migrated to Hurungwe after a directive to leave Makonde in 1922.

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As he trekked west, Chief Muzarabani Chanetsa continued to be displaced as the white settlers continued to grab fertile tracts of land between Chinhoyi and Karoi.

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In 1943, he had a short stay in the area known as Nyamhanda just outside Karoi. Then in 1945 as the displacements continued unabated, Chief Muzarabani Chanetsa crossed Murereshi River and settled in the Nhari-St Boniface area.

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It is here that six years later, he resisted to be displaced further after a white district commissioner nicknamed Nyamambishi (raw meat) had approached him with the order to move to Kweche, an area further west.

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Chief Chanetsa pointed a gun at Nyamambishi and was eventually stripped off his chieftaincy.
\nBy the time he died in 1957, his chieftancy had not been restored such that all the heirs who came after him assumed the headmen status.

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However members of the Chanetsa clan had a historic moment last month as they celebrated the restoration of their chieftaincy. Multitudes of people from all walks of life converged at Birimahwe Primary School in Magunje to witness the enthronement of Mr Adam Katsvere.

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Various music and dance groups provided entertainment. Even the nyau (gule) dancers could not be outdone with their exhilarating footwork.
\nIn a speech read on his behalf by Minister of State for Mashonaland West, Cde Faber Chidarikire, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said traditional leaders are part of Government and should uphold cultural values. He urged the new chief to work harmoniously with local authorities to speed up development.

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Mr Adam Katsvere, a father of 17, is a renowned tobacco and maize farmer. He said his appointment as the fifth Chief Chanetsa showed that President Mugabe’s leadership is set on correcting the imbalances created by the colonial regime.

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“I am happy that President Mugabe felt the need to restore our stolen chieftaincy. I wish this could also happen to others who unnecessarily lost their chieftaincies due to the skewed administration of the whites,” he said.
\nChiefs Dandawa, Nyamhunga, Nematombo and Sampakaruma also preside in the area.

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Meanwhile, headman Mudzimu of Hurungwe who reports to Chief Dandawa feels he is also a victim of the colonial rule as he lost his chieftaincy upon his displacement from Chirundu border post in the late 50s.

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He claims that when he was moved from Chirundu to settle in the area west of Magunje, he was reduced to a headman.
\n“I presided over the area beyond the dam wall up to the rest of Chirundu. Even up to now I take charge of all traditional ceremonies with anything to do with the area,” said the headman.

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There are claims that at one time during the 90s, the new Chirundu Bridge became difficult to construct due to turbulence in the Zambezi River and Headmen Mudzimu “calmed the waters” after leading a traditional ceremony at the site.