Mbuya Nehanda’s Relatives Warn Of Disasters If Her Statue Is Erected

A woman claiming to be one of the surviving relatives of the first Chimurenga heroine, Mbuya Charwe, the spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda, has approached the High Court challenging the erection of the heroine’s statue.  

The government is erecting Mbuya Nehanda’s statue at the intersection of Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way in Harare.

In the court application, Mbuya Nehanda’s granddaughter, Susan Rosi Tirivangani cited Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and National Museums director Godfrey Mahachi as the respondents.


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Upper Mazowe Cultural Landscape custodian, Chief Maxwell Dzapasi-Hwata and an alleged maternal nephew of Mbuya Charwe, Israel Marufu, have been named as joint applicants in the suit.

The trio is arguing that natural disasters will occur across the country if the government erects the statue without observing traditional rites. Said the trio:

The first applicant (Hwata) being a Muhera of Shava (eland) totem considers ornaments to do with spirit mediums as sacred.

Hence erecting a statue of Mbuya Charwe in the public streets of Harare without following the Hwata people’s cultural rites will definitely attract bad incidents to the capital city of Harare and the Hwata people in general.

Applicants are mindful that Mbuya Charwe, besides being a spirit medium of the highest level, was also a rainmaker and as such if statues in strange colours and metals are improperly erected without following traditional rules they will attract lightning and destructive thunder bolts from time to time or other disasters.

Mbuya Nehanda’s relatives are also arguing that the spirit of the heroine is aggrieved as the government has not made any attempts to pay tribute to her descendants for her role in the Chimurenga war. Further reads the application:

Taking into consideration the rate upon which possessed people keep explaining voluntarily that the damage caused to Mbuya Charwe’s long term spiritual reputation from as far back as 1896 only to be ridiculed in 2020, after the exhibition of a false image that has sparked horror, and effects thereof will unfold as time goes if the government of Zimbabwe doesn’t remedy this by engaging with the deceased’s representatives.

They are seeking to bar Kazembe and Mahachi from erecting the statue without consent from the relatives of the spirit medium.

Meanwhile, some applaud the government for the erection of the statue which they say will preserve the country’s history while some who are against the move say the government is getting its priorities wrong.

More: Pindula News, Daily News

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3 comments on “Mbuya Nehanda’s Relatives Warn Of Disasters If Her Statue Is Erected

  1. The spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda Charwe should be respected and not mocked by a fake representation in the form of a statue which does not even resemble her physical appearance. As a true descendant of Charwe who was executed by the British colonial settlers, I find deplorable every stupid move to defile and blaspheme the epitome of Shona culture and religion in this way. The statue of Mbuya Nehanda is not in the same category as that of national heroes. Charwe Nyakasikana or Atete Charwe as we affectionately call her in my family and in Hwata Dynasty at large was a religious leader of the highest level and should be treated as such. The least the present government can do is to invite the elders of the Hwata Dynasty to which Charwe was born and discuss these issues. People must know that while the spirit Mbuya Nehanda might belong to all Zimbabweans, Charwe is a princess of the Hwata Dynasty and she sacrificed her life.

  2. Okay Charwes we hear you.

    However what are the facts.

    1. What does Nehanda mean? It means with lions, meaning a young maiden who is accompanied by lions.
    2. The original Nehanda was Nyamhita, the daughter of the first Mhunu Mutapa, that is Mutota. Possessed in the1400s and of the elephant totem (Nzou Samanyanga).
    3. Ambuya Charwe a spirit medium was also possessed by the same Spirit of a young maiden.
    4. Spirit was not unique to those of the Nzou Samanyanga totem in this case, but if we dig deep, Ambuya Charwe’s maternal lineage could have been Matemai Nzou married to one of Shayachimwe’s (Hwata – a nickname) descendants. Hwata being one Nyashanu Musiyamwa’s sons.
    5. Nehanda is a warring spirit, usually summoned during times of battle.
    6. Rain making is also unique to people of the Matemai Nzou totem. Not the Nehanda spirit. It’s an accompanying spirit to Nehanda responsible for rain and abundance – color is blue.
    7. Spirit only follows a specific bloodline from time immemoririal – from the Great lakes. Not a particular household.
    8. Task should be to identify which household the Nehanda spirit currently resides and it chosen “dhunzvi” the selected one who leads it’s ceremonies. It doesn’t respond to anyone. There lies the mystery. Happy hunting.

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Mbuya Nehanda’s Relatives Warn Of Disasters If Her Statue Is Erected