Mbuya Nehanda’s 2nd Chimurenga prophecy

 \r\n\r\nBefore the Second Chimurenga started in earnest, the freedom fighters had to follow certain rituals. The comrades had received military and political training from Russia, China and many other countries that supported the liberation struggle, but before firing the gun, something very important had to be done.\r\nThe spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda had to be carried out of Zimbabwe from the Dande area. \r\n

Comrade Jimmy Mangwende and The Sunday Mail Deputy Editor Munyaradzi Huni during the interview - Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda\r\n
Comrade Jimmy Mangwende (Right) and The Sunday Mail Deputy Editor Munyaradzi Huni (Left) during the interview – Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda

Cde James Dhehwa whose Chimurenga name was Cde Jimmy Mangwende was the commander of the group of seven that was given the task to carry out Mbuya Nehanda into Mozambique. What was the importance of carrying Mbuya Nehanda out of Zimbabwe? Did the spirit medium really play a role during the liberation struggle?\r\nCde Mangwende, born 1942 but whose I.D says he was born in 1945, speaks to our team comprising Munyaradzi Huni and Tendai Manzvanzvike. Despite his age, Cde Mangwende who joined the liberation struggle in 1965 from Lusaka, Zambia still has a sharp memory and even though his body is still riddled with bullet holes from the struggle, he remains a jocular character.\r\nAs the victors from a struggle almost forgotten have finally decided to tell their stories, The Sunday Mail has decided to re-start the series with one of the most important rituals that took place in 1972 before the guns started blazing. Way back in 1972, Mbuya Nehanda told Cde Mangwende and his group the story of some leaders in the struggle who were double-dipping by entering into secret deals with the colonial regime. Below is a small part to Cde Mangwende’s four-hour interview. Read on …\r\nSM: We understad that you were part of the comrades that were given the task to carry Mbuya Nehanda out of the country before the liberation struggle started in earnest. Take us through what you did exactly.\r\nCde Mangwende: (heave sigh of relief) Yes, we were given the task in 1972. We had to carry Mbuya Nehanda out of Zimbabwe. This was a big issue because it meant a lot for the struggle. Nyaya iyi inondirwadza.\r\nHondo yedu yaiva yevadzimu, kutangisa kwayo. There was the Chinhoyi battle in 1966 but when we went to the Eastern border, when we got to Mt Darwin, it was said that hondo yenyu ndeye Chimurenga chaMbuya Nehanda. Mbuya Nehanda was in Tsokoto, around the Dande area.\r\nThis was homwe yaMbuya Nehanda. It was a difficult task to carry Mbuya Nehanda because there were so many rituals that were supposed to be carried out.\r\nSM: Tell us about the rituals?\r\nCde Mangwende: We were sent to go carry Mbuya Nehanda into Zambia before the start of the war. It was said that for your struggle to be a success, Mbuya vanofanirwa kutakurwa voburitswa kuTsokoto because she does want to see blood.\r\nSo our seniors such as Tongogara sent us to carry the task. Actually, they tried to send some other people but kwakanzi aiwa kune mukomana mupfupi, mutema. Imhondoro yaidaro and I was still in Lusaka. So I was called and given the responsibility to go carry Mbuya Nehanda.\r\nI didn’t know anything. I actually said ‘chii chinonzi Mbuya? I said Mbuya ani? Who is that?’ I was told kuti Mbuya vanemudzimu. I was a bit surprised because I didn’t know much about zvemudzimu. I was then told what I was supposed to go and do. But I still asked kuti ko vane basa rei Mbuya vacho?\r\nI was shown kuti handiti uri kuona mudhara ane zvitema uyo, ndiye svikiro rinonzi Chipfeni. This war is about the spirit mediums, ndeye vakuru saka zvanzi iwewe we will give you some comrades in your section so that you go and carry Mbuya.\r\nI was told this while at Chamboko base and so we had to cross Mukumbura, Musengezi until you get to Tsokoto.\r\nWe had so many masvikiro. There was Sekuru Chidyamauyu, Sekuru Chiodzamamera, Sekuru Chipfeni, Sekuru Mutota and Mbuya Nehanda. All these others were males and only Ambuya was female.\r\nSM: Can you briefly describe Mbuya Nehanda or lets say homwe yaMbuya Nehanda that you were supposed to carry?\r\nCde Mangwende: Mbuya Nehanda, homwe yavo iyoyi was very old. Maybe over 100 years and she was blind. Even the way she spoke, we could not even hear what she was saying. Vaiva nekazwi kadikidiki.\r\nSo it was me, Jack Chamunorwa, Gurupira, Masamba and others I can’t remember but we were seven.\r\nThis place called Tsokoto was a few kilometers from the border. So we were told what to do and we went there. We were told kuti kana matakura Mbuya munoita zvakati zvikati.\r\nSM: What exactly were you told and what did you do?\r\nCde Mangwende: Kwakanzi hondo haitangi kurwiwa kana vanhu musati mapedza kutakura zvombo zvakakwana kuenda kuna Mavhuradhonha mountain. Kana zvakwana, you should carry Mbuya and cross with her into Mozambique because homwe yavo haidi kuona ropa.\r\nWe were told to build her a homestead on the Mozambican side. The homestead was supposed to be looking almost the same as her homestead on the Zimbabwean side which was Rhodesia then. So we built her tsapi yavo, hozi and a mud kitchen. There was a Mukuyu tree, just as there was a Mukuyu tree at her original homestead.\r\nMhondoro yainzi Chidyamauyu naChipfeni are the ones that were interpreting what Mbuya was saying. Only Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Chidyamauyu remained to stay at this new homestead. Dzimwe mhondoro dzese returned back to the Zimbabwean side after the rituals.\r\nThe first homestead we saw on the Mozambican side had been destroyed by the Portuguese soldiers in Mozambique. Remember that country had not yet won its independence.\r\nSM: How exactly did you carry her?\r\nCde Mangwende: We left Mbuya’s homestead on the Zimbabwean side in the evening. We just made a stretcher for her and the povho from her area carried her. All I did was to say Jack and Gurupira Front Guard Squad, two pakati and two at the back. I was the last one at the back. We were a section comprising seven comrades providing guard. We crossed into Mozambique.\r\nBefore crossing, Mbuya had said once you finish building the homestead, munouya moudza dare then we tell you what exactly to do. We spent almost a month following all the procedures.\r\nWe were told kuti panofanirwa kubikwa doro and that was done. This was done on the Mozambican side at that abandoned homestead. All we did was to tell the povho what to do because athey knew their tradition better. After brewing the beer, we were told kuridza ngoma then carry Mbuya. As we were crossing the river, we had to blindfold her with a black cloth.\r\nSM: Why?\r\nCde Mnagwende: Mbuya said she didn’t want to cross to the other side kwaMakombe without the blindfold because ‘Makombe is my son-in-law.’ She said many years back, takamborwisana nevanhu vekumukwasha uyu and mauto angu ndiwo akanorwa hondo iyi. So for me to cross to that side kwaMakombe, we should ask him first kuti ndava kupinda muno mukuwasha, hondo yandiomera kuno. Vana vava kuda kutangisa hondo yavo.\r\nShe said after this battle she crossed over to the Zimbabwean side and Kadzichera river, which we had to cross was the boundary separating them. ‘And since then we said hapana anobira rwizi urwu.’ She said the river signified the blood that was lost during these battles.\r\nSo when you carry me to the other side, you are taking me kunyika yemukuwasha wangu. Takaregererana zvakapera but now that you want to spill blood nehondo, handidi kubata ropa.\r\nWe were told kuuraya nhoro mbiri, mhara mbiri nenzou so that people could eat as they drank the beer. Doro raifanirwa kunge riri remapfunde nerukweza pamwe nemhunga.\r\nThis ritual yedoro took one week, people drinking and eating. Ini ndakatomwawo. Pane pandairirega ndatomboriwana? After this ritual, we then took her to this new homestead which was some kilometers away from this abandoned homestead.\r\nWe were supposed to follow all the instructions kuti hondo isatiremere. We were told kuti hondo yenyu icharema because of this and that reasons. Some of the things I can’t say. Zvinozonyadzisa.\r\nSM: No, Cde Mangwende, tell us what you were told its important for the history of the country?\r\nCde Mangwende: Takanzi nemhondoro muzive kuti nyika iyi ichanetsa kuuya nekuti kune vanhu vakuru vamwe vatungamiriri havasi muhondo nekuti vari kuside remangendengende. This meant some leaders were kuside revarungu.\r\nSome of your leaders are playing games with whites. That’s why I refused to be carried by everybody else. Some of you don’t want this country to be free. Vari kutsvaga ngendengende, meaning vari kutsvaga mari.\r\nWe asked kuti, so what do we do zvikanzi, don’t worry tichavagadzirisa. Pane mukuru anedumbu rakadai, rakadai, akatora mombe akasungirira. Mukuru iyeye ari kudyidzana nemungendengende. Mungendengende murungu.\r\nWhile you are coming to fight and free this country, you won’t go far. You will either be arrested or killed.\r\nWe were reminded of the arrests of several comrades who were now languishing in jail and the Seven Comrades at Chinhoyi battle.\r\nIndeed several of our comrades had been arrested and we didn’t really understand why. Zvikanzi chikonzero chiripo.\r\nChikonzero ndechekuti vamwe vakuru vakasunga mombe. Endai kumavirira munoiwana. Kune tsiru rakasungirirwa ikoko, nekumabvazuva kune tsiru rakasungirirwa ikoko. Asi hamuaone. Takati saka toita sei, zvikanzi tumai vanhu vanotsvaga. Kana mukaaparadza, meso enyu achaona.\r\nKana mashaya tichatumira mhondoro dzedu muchaona zvinhu zvava kufamba. This actually happened. Mhondoro dzakazoenda dzikaparadza mombe idzi.\r\nSM: Was this really true? Did this really happen?\r\nCde Mangwende: We know that there were some people who entered into deals with Smith. We saw that during the liberation struggle.\r\nAfter leaving Mbuya Nehanda, we went to tell our leaders at Chifombo in Zambia that we were done. We walked for weeks from Tsokoto to Chifombo. We notified members of High Command and Central Committee of Zanu.\r\nSM: After this we hear Mbuya Nehanda later died. Can you shed more light on her death?\r\nCde Mangwende: I don’t want to lie, after leaving her at the new homestead, my job was done. I left her in Mozambique and when the war intensified, she was moved into Zambia at Chifombo. By this time I was now at Mgagao. However, I am told she died at Chifombo near the border between Mozambique and Zambia. I am told kuti pakatoitwa bira, but I don’t want to speak much about that because like I said I was not there.\r\nSM: Cde Mangwende, what exactly was the important of spirit mediums during the liberation struggle?\r\nCde Mangwende: Mbuya Nehanda vekutanga as she was being killed by whites said mupfupa angu achamuka. Isu takanga tauya kuzomutsa mapfupa aMbuya. Mbuya gave us murawo yaifanirwa kutevedzwa. Vakati hondo haidi musikanzwa, haidi zvakaipa. Hondo yakanga iri yemudzimu yedu.\r\n(Singing) ‘Mbuya Nehanda kufa vachitaura shuwa!’ We had to compose such songs as we followed what Ambuya had told us.\r\nSo you see, there was gwara remusangano mixed with gwara that we learnt from people like Mao. All this was supposed to be mixed nechinyakare chedu to become our word of command.\r\nThis gave us the guidelines. Kudza mai vako nababa vako. Usarove vana mai nana baba muhondo nekuti ndivo vatiri kurwira. This created a political soldier who knew why he or she was fighting the struggle.\r\nWe had booklets such as Mwenje, we had the party constitution and the spirit mediums to guide us.\r\nVadzimu vedu would tell us kuti if you are fighting and you see such and such a sign or animal, it means this and that.\r\nSM: Like what exactly?\r\nCde Mangwende: They said when you are fighting in this war, usadye nyama yenhoro. We asked why and we were told kuti when you kill a buffalo, it fights back and when you fight any other animal inorwisa back but nhoro ikapinda mudanga inechinyangatira. So if you eat nhoro unokurumidza kukuvara muhondo.\r\nWe were told not to eat tsuro. Tsuro yakangwarisa but yakangwarira pasina. If you check most people vanoenda kunovhima vanobata tsuro. Saka yakangwara chii manje? Tsuro yakangwara zvekupusa.\r\nWe were told kuti kana muchinorwa hondo, vakadzi vanoyera. Vanhu vaiita zvavo musikanzwa but taiudzwa.\r\nSM: Some people say the country is facing problems because the remains of Mbuya Nehanda have not get been repatriated back to Tsokoto as they are still in Zambia. What is your comment?\r\nCde Mangwende: Kana mapfupa Ambuya Nehanda asati adzoswa paTsokoto nazvino, inotori mhosva iyoyo. I hear vana Gurupira once looked for me so that we could take back the remains Ambuya.\r\nI don’t know what happened afterwards. Mbuya vane mhondoro dzavai famba nadzo, people should consult mhondoro idzodzo on what to do. Nyaya iyoyo should be sorted otherwise problems in this country will continue. Nyaya yaMbuya hapana asingaizive.\r\nYou see isu during those early days of the struggle before we were deployed taigezwa. We were told that vakomana nevasikana hamusangani nguva yehondo. Takagezwa nemushonga waiiiswa in a river then topinda imomo.\r\n

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