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CASHCLOUD’s launches new mobile App

We are excited to announce the launch of our new mobile App! This is our gift to our amazing clients to thank you for the support thus far. We will keep on striving to bring you the best digital banking experience.

CASHCLOUD, a way to bank that puts the world in your hands. A banking solution that gives you control with one tap!

Download the app from the Google Play Store, upload your ID with a selfie and we’ll send it your way. CASHCLOUD’s new mobile App, as easy as 1, 2, SNAP!

Click here to download the App: http://ow.ly/W0TM30lg5um

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CASHCLOUD brings Mobile Banking to the people

CASHCLOUD releases all NEW latest tech Android Mobile Application.

CASHCLOUD prides itself on being an affordable mobile banking solution, since 2014. A great option for all South Africans, tourists and foreign individuals alike! An easy online application process with self-registration and two account options, CASHCLOUD caters to everyone.

 

Offering a basic range of transactional services, CASHCLOUD’s vision is to be easily accessible and inclusive. CASHCLOUD’s current services include loans and prepaid purchases, with tailor-made funeral covers, money transfers and savings options in the pipeline.

CASHCLOUD offers a fresh approach to banking accessibility. No paperwork, no queues in branches, no calls on hold, no fuss! Keeping in line with wider connectedness, CASHCLOUD offers multiple channels to communicate on, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.

The new CASHCLOUD App features:

  • Self-registration,
  • WhatsApp call centre,
  • Statement download to device,
  • Airtime and Data in app purchases,
  • Online purchases,
  • Card delivery to your door

 

This all contributes to make CASHCLOUD a truly mobile solution! It not only allows instant, fast access to all services, but also saves its clients the unnecessary transport costs to and from branches as well airtime costs when dealing with queries over the phone.

CASHCLOUD’s all-new simple, functional and intuitive design offering makes for a great  mobile experience and instant way of banking anytime, anywhere.

The CASHCLOUD Mobile App will deliver customers a fast and easy way to set up an account and start banking, without ever having to step into a branch.

The CASHCLOUD Mobile App will be available for download from the Google play store from 10 July, 2018.

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African Sky Technology offering free solar farm setup for Africa

African Sky Technology has come up with many innovate solutions in the renewable energy sector with the latest being the offer to setup solar farms all over the continent with zero upfront cost to governments

The business model,as explained by CEO Arthur Mangwende,is to sign power purchase agreements in which goverments will only pay for electricity generated by the solar farm over an agreed period at an agreed rate. This will mean that governments that do not have upfront financing for new sources of electricity generation will benefit greatly

Africa have 365 days of sun a year meaning that solar energy is a reliable source of energy that need to be exploited.

The business model has been applied in various nations and has demonstrated that renewable energy can be used to replace all other sources of electricity and has show it to be sustainable

African Sky Technology has a wide range of products that can be used in the home for the reduction of dependence on electricity from the municipalities. The off-grid system can be installed in the home and there will be no need to use any other source of electricity. Any electricity not used can be sent to the grid and the home owner can be credited by the electricity authority

African Sky Technology has set sights on Africa but indications are they might expand to world-wide

Contact African Sky Technology on +27814164126 or afriskytech@gmail.com  https://afriskytech.co.za

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Tracing the Origins of the Shona(Who was Mambiri?)

Legend has it that Mambiri, the ancestor of the vaMbire, whose descendants are the present-day Shona and their relatives such as the Kalanga and the Venda, had three wives.
He loved the first (vaHosi) and the third wife (mainini vechipiri) and built each a beautiful village (musha).
These are the famous two (mbiri) villages that earned our great ancestor the name Mambiri.
These villages were built in Guruuswa or Tanganyika in present-day Tanzania. The second wife, we understand, lived more like a servant and her residence was never elevated to a full separate village.
When the vaMbire, inspired by the spirits of their ancestors, decided to migrate south to present day Zimbabwe, they all belonged to one family which identified with the ‘eland’, mhofu/nhuka, an animal that had deep religious significance in their lives.
They segregated into three groups: one group retained the original eland totem. These were the descendants of Mushavatu (Mushavanhu), and called themselves Shava.
Today in Zimbabwe they are called ‘vaHera’, with Buhera as their centre of recent diversity.
The second group assumed the Soko totem.
Legend has it that these were the descendants of Mambiri’s first born son who had changed his totem to Soko as a way of appeasing the ancestral spirits for the abomination of impregnating his own half-sister, Mambiri’s daughter from his third and youngest wife.
The whole group then decided that one of them be the arbiter, the one to settle disputes that might arise.
They chose the son born by the less-favoured second wife of Mambiri to become the arbiter or in short, the ruler or chief.
The one chosen to be chief was to look after the interests of all members of the group and rule without fear or favour.
He was expected to have a big open heart for everybody, not to favour any one group or individual.
He assumed the ‘totem’ ‘Moyo’.
The Moyo group were the rulers.
They ruled over the whole nation.
These were the Mwenemutapas and the Mambos that ruled the empire.
They had to have a good heart (Moyo) to accept and look after everybody else. All their descendants have assumed the totem ‘moyo’.
The Moyos had to have an animal as a symbol for the totem group.
The cow, mombe, was chosen to represent the ‘Moyo’ mutupo as it best represents the role to be played by the ruler or chief.
Hence members of the ‘Moyo’ totem are called ‘chirandu’ because cattle are used to settle all disputes (mirandu) just as money is used in modern societies. Cattle provide meat, milk, hides, manure and can be sold to get money which can also be used to settle debts or ‘mirandu/mhosva’.
To emphasise that the chief had to accept everybody, the ‘Moyo’ clan was also called ‘Bvumavaranda’ meaning one who accepts the people he rules over. ‘Dhewa’ and ‘Dlembeu’ are other names attached to the ‘Moyo’ mutupo.
The ‘Mhofu or Shava’ were the main branch of this ancestral group of the Shona.
They assumed responsibility for feeding the nation.
They were the mother or ‘Amai’ of the whole group.
They were the tillers of the land, responsible for agricultural production and food security.
It was them who went to the holy shrines presided over by their brothers the Soko, to pray to ‘Mwari/uMlimo’ for the rains so that good harvests could obtained.

Source:   By Professor Sheunesu Mpepereki

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The truth behind Black Friday

For millions of people Black Friday is the time to do some serious Christmas shopping –even before the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone! Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it’s one of the major shopping days of the year in the United States -falling anywhere between November 23 and 29. While it’s not recognized as an official US holiday, many employees have the day off -except those working in retail.

The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Ever since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.

In the 1960’s, police in Philadelphia griped about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians, calling it “Black Friday.” In a non-retail sense, it also describes a financial crisis of 1869: a stock market catastrophe set off by gold spectators who tried and failed to corner the gold market, causing the market to collapse and stocks to plummet.

Why did it become so popular?

As retailers began to realize they could draw big crowds by discounting prices, Black Friday became the day to shop, even better than those last minute Christmas sales. Some retailers put their items up for sale on the morning of Thanksgiving, or email online specials to consumers days or weeks before the actual event. The most shopped for items are electronics and popular toys, as these may be the most drastically discounted. However, prices are slashed on everything from home furnishings to apparel.

Black Friday is a long day, with many retailers opening up at 5 am or even earlier to hordes of people waiting anxiously outside the windows. There are numerous doorbuster deals and loss leaders – prices so low the store may not make a profit – to entice shoppers. Most large retailers post their Black Friday ad scans, coupons and offers online beforehand to give consumers time to find out about sales and plan their purchases. Other companies take a different approach, waiting until the last possible moment to release their Black Friday ads, hoping to create a buzz and keep customers eagerly checking back for an announcement.

More and more, consumers are choosing to shop online, not wanting to wait outside in the early morning chill with a crush of other shoppers or battle over the last most-wanted item. Often, many people show up for a small number of limited-time “door-buster” deals, such as large flat-screen televisions or laptops for a few hundred dollars. Since these coveted items sell out quickly, quite a few shoppers leave the store empty handed. The benefit of online shopping is that you will know right away if the MP3 player you want is out of stock, and can easily find another one without having to travel from store to store. Also, many online retailers have pre-Black Friday or special Thanksgiving sales, so you may not even have to wait until the big day to save. So, there you have it – the Black Friday history behind the best shopping day of the year!

Source:Blackfriday

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River snakes takes boy in Alexandra,South Africa

WHEN Thulani Moloi didn’t come home after going to play with his friends on Thursday, his family was worried.

And soon, the shocking news spread that the 12-year-old had been snatched by a river snake.

Thulani was playing with his friends along the Jukskei River in Alexandra, Joburg, when the reptile pulled him under the water and drowned him.

Residents called to the scene after the boy’s friends alerted adults that he had disappeared under the water said they had a terrible experience.

Community members told Daily Sun after divers retrieved Thulani’s body from the shallow river, the snake came back and tried to drag it back into the water.

Residents said the incident happened after the water rescue team had wrapped up the body and left it on the river bank for the pathologists to collect. They said while they were waiting, they saw a big snake jumping out of the river. It only vanished after everyone started screaming.

Thulani’s mum, Primrose, who had been called to the scene to identify her son, said she also saw the snake.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“I wondered why this had happened to my boy.”

Joburg Emergency Services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi confirmed the body of a drowned boy was retrieved.

When the SunTeam asked Mulaudzi whether a river snake had killed the child, he said: “There will always be those kinds of rumours, as we know in our culture that rivers are associated with snakes. The same thing happened in Diepsloot.”

Source : Daily Sun

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The Venda people: The first inhabitants of Southern Africa

As with most of the other peoples of South Africa the Venda (VhaVenda) came from the Great Lakes of Central Africa. They first settled down in the Soutpansberg Mountains. Here they built their first capital, D’zata, the ruins of which can still be seen today. Venda culture has an interesting mix of other cultures – it appears to have incorporated a variety of East African, Central African, Nguni, and Sotho characteristics. For example, the Venda forbid the consumption of pork, a prohibition that is common along the East African coast. They also practice male circumcision, which is common among many Sotho, but not among most Nguni peoples.The Venda language, TshiVenda or LuVenda, emerged as a distinct dialect in the 16th Century. In the 20th Century, the TshiVenda vocabulary was similar to SeSotho, but the grammar shares similarities with Shona dialects, which are spoken in Zimbabwe. Today about 875 000 people in South Africa speak Tshivenda. The history of the Venda starts from the Mapungubwe Kingdom (9th Century). According to historical studies King Shiriyadenga was the first king of Venda and Mapungubwe. Shiriyadenga was succeeded by his children.

Historical Background:

From 800AD, the Mapungubwe Kingdom emerged, stretching from the Soutpansberg in the south, across the Limpopo River to the Matopos in the north. The Mapungubwe Kingdom declined from 1240, and the centre of power and trade moved north to the Great Zimbabwe Kingdom. A shifting of focus to Zimbabwe’s Khami and Rozwi empires followed, but the culture did not come to a standstill. South of the Limpopo Shona-Venda and Venda pottery styles developed in the 14th and 15th Centuries. There are no stonewalled ruins comparable in size to Great Zimbabwe in the northeastern part of Northern Province, but those in the mountains show a link.Accompanying the development of these centres, from about 1400, waves of Shona-speaking migrants from modern Zimbabwe (known by the Venda as Thavatsindi) settled across the Lowveld. The Venda are generally regarded as one of the last black groups to have entered the area south of the Limpopo River. Their history is closely related to the history of their successive captains’ houses, especially those who were descended from their legendary ancestor, Thoho-ya-Ndou (Head of the Elephant).Thoho-ya-Ndou’s kraal (home) was called D’zata and the remains of this have been declared a National Monument. D’zata had great significance for the Venda because they buried their chiefs facing it. When Thoho-ya-Ndou died, divisions arose between the different captains’ houses as a result of disputes regarding the question of who was to succeed him. In Venda tradition, succession to the throne is a complex matter and their history has been characterised by many disputes over occupancy of the throne. Today there are 26 captains’ houses that trace their origins to the great man while a few others trace their ancestry to tribes that were later incorporated with the Venda.However, the true Venda can be divided into 2 groups, namely a western group, primarily of Singo origin and descended from the followers of leaders such as Mphephu, Senthumule and Kutama; and an eastern group who regarded themselves as descendants of Lwamonde, Rambuda, Tshivashe and Mphapuli. It was believed that the Singo king could protect his people from attack by their enemies by beating a special drum called the Ngoma Lungundo, (‘drum of the dead’). According to legend, the sound of the drum would strike terror in the hearts of the enemy and they would flee. Some Venda say that this king disappeared from his kraal one night with this special drum and neither were ever seen again. It is believed that at Mashovhela “place where the drums can be heard”, rock pool on the Morning Sun Nature Reserve, you can still hear the his drum in the echoes of the cliffs and is considered the second most sacred site in Venda culture. One of the most interesting and distinct groups of people who later joined the Venda are the African Semites, the Lemba.They are believed to be the descendants of Semitic (Arab) traders who entered Africa around 696AD. The Lemba believe themselves to be Black Jews, descendants of the lost tribe of Israel. They keep to themselves, only marry within their own group and sometimes refer to themselves as Vhalungu, which means ‘non-Negroid’ or ‘respected foreigner’. The beads they brought with them from these far-off countries are still treasured to this day and are used in divination and other magical ceremonies. The Lemba were very good traders and artisans. They were also famous, for their metalwork and pottery. The first contact between the Venda and the whites occurred when the Voortrekker leader, Louis Trichardt came to the area in 1836.In 1848, the whites established a settlement named Schoemansdal. However, Makhado, the Venda captain at the time, harassed the white settlers to such an extent that they abandoned the town in 1867. This harassment was continued by Makhado’s son, Mphephu and eventually led to the Mphephu War when he was defeated and had to flee to Zimbabwe. During the Apartheid period, a homeland was set aside for the Venda people. It covered 6 500 square kilometres and the capital city was called Thohoyandou in honour of the great Venda chief of the same name. It became independent in 1979. Today, the area is once again part of South Africa; located in the Limpopo Province.

Social & Cultural Life

Trade, warfare and intermarriage with Tsonga, Lobedu, Zulu, Swazi and other people, have also left their imprints on Venda culture. The Venda were a protective people, many of whom still practiced polygamy and worshipped their families’ ancestors. Members of the different clans could, and did, live in any of the tribal territories, because the tribe was purely a political and territorial unit, consisting of people who chose to owe allegiance to a particular dynasty. It was quite common to find a ruler attracting members of his own clan after his accession. There was no paramount chief each tribe was ruled by an independent chief, who had under him headmen, responsible for the government of districts within the tribal territory.Most of the chiefs belonged to lineages of the same clan, which crossed the Limpopo River and controlled those whom they found living in the Zoutpansberg in the latter half of the 18th century. Thus there was an important social division in Venda society between commoners (vhasiwana) and the children of chiefs and their descendants (vhakololo). In the Sibasa district (located in Northern Province) there were 12 Venda chiefs some were the descendants of brothers, who were the sons of a ruling chief but broke away and established independent chiefdoms elsewhere. There were a number of differences in the customs of the various clans, especially in religious ritual, but there were no distinct differences between the tribes.

Venda Belief System

The Venda culture is built on a vibrant mythical belief system, which is reflected in their artistic style. Water is an important theme to the Venda and there are many sacred sites within their region where the Venda conjure up their ancestral spirits. They believe zwidutwane, (water spirits), live at the bottom of waterfalls. These beings are only half-visible; they only have one eye, one leg, and one arm. One half can be seen in this world and the other half in the spirit world. The Venda would take offerings of food to them because the zwidutwane cannot grow things underwater.One of the most sacred sites of the Venda is Lake Fundudzi. Suspicion surrounds the lake, which is fed by the Mutale River yet does not appear to have an outlet. It is also said that you can sometimes hear the Tshikona song although no one appears to be there. The Venda people have a very special relationship with Crocodiles. The area where they live is filled with these dangerous reptiles. The Venda believe that the brain of the Crocodile is very poisonous, therefore they are given right of way by the Venda who do not even hunt them for food.

Venda Rituals

Initiation:
The Domba is a pre-marital initiation, the last one in the life of a Venda girl or boy. The chief or sovereign will ‘call’ a domba and preparations are made by the families for their girls to be ready and to prepare what’s necessary to attend the ceremony (entry fees for the ruler, clothes and bangles). Historically girls used to stay with the chief for the whole duration (3 months to 3 years) of the initiation; nowadays because of schooling, girls only spend weekends at the ruler’s kraal.This rite of passage was attended by both girls and boys after each individual had previously attended other separated initiations dedicated to one’s gender; Vusha and Tshikanda for girls and Murundu for boys (the circumcision done during this rite has been introduced by North Sotho). Since the missionaries decided that mixing males and females in the same ceremony was immoral. Only girls attend the Domba which has two main functions teaching girls how to prepare themselves to become wives (birth planning, giving birth and child care, how to treat a husband, and nowadays the teaching of AIDS risks); and bringing fertility to the new generation of the tribe.

Music and Dance

Various rituals are particular to the Venda and certain aspects are kept secret and not discussed with westerners, however, it is known that the python dance, conducted at the female coming of age ceremony (iconic to the Limpopo region) is usually where the chief chooses a wife. Girls and boys dance fluidly, like a snake, to the beat of a drum, while forming a chain by holding the forearm of the person in front. Once a wife has been chosen a set of courtship and grooming rituals take place over a number of days. The tshikona is traditionally a male dance in which each player has a pipe made out of a special indigenous type of bamboo growing only in few places around Sibasa and Thohoyandou (which no longer exists). Each player has one note to play, which has to be played in turn, in such a way as to build a melody.The tshikona is a royal dance, each sovereign or chief has his own tshikona band. Tshikona is played at various occasions for funerals, wedding or religious ceremonies, this can be considered as the Venda ‘national music / dance’, which is particular to Venda in South Africa. The tshigombela is a female danceusually performed by married women, this is a festive dance sometimes played at the same time as tshikona. Tshifhasi is similar to tshigombela but performed by young unmarried girls (khomba). The Mbila is played in the north of South Africa and more particularly by the Venda. It can be described as a keyboard made out of a piece of wood, which is the resonator, and with metal blades (made out of huge nails hammered flat) which are the keys.

While the Mbila is still widely played in Zimbabwe, in South Africa it is only played by a few old people, who sadly notice that most youngsters are disinterested in their own culture and let it die. The playing of the Mbila is one of the most endangered Venda traditions. The Venda style of playing Mbila is quite different from that of Zimbabwe or Mozambique.

Drums are central in Venda culture and there are legends and symbols linked to them. Most sets of drums are kept in the homes of chiefs and headmen, and comprise one ngoma, one thungwa, and 2 or 3 murumba.

Drum sets without the Ngoma may be found in the homes of certain members of the tribe, such as the doctors who run girls’ ‘circumcision’ schools. Drums are often given personal names. Drums are always played by women and girls, except in possession dances, when men may play them.

Venda Today

Under the apartheid system the land of the Venda people was designated a homeland so they were fairly unaffected by the political and social changes that had such a massive affect on the rest of the country.

The 1 000 000 strong Venda population was left alone to live the way they had for hundreds of years in their lush, mountainous and remote region, which is why their culture, language, arts and crafts have survived so strongly. Today, many Venda people live in Thohoyandou in the Limpopo. It is situated not far from the border of Zimbabwe.

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The Origins of the Shona people-Tovera the great Spirit

WE have seen how the great Ancestral Spirit of the Shona people possessed a young girl (kasikana) and travelled south from Guruuswa in Tanganyika to explore the land between the Zambezi and the Limpopo rivers, with a view to bequeathing it to his progeny.
In this and the next article we shall try to unravel more information about the roots of the Shona by exploring the lineages of their ancestors to see how oral history helps to reveal their relationships.
Future discussions will explore how some of the totems of the different Shona groups came to be established.
The central institution of spirit mediums called mhondoro also will be explored to see how it links to the roots of the Shona people.
The people who were led by the powerful ancestral spirit whose medium was ‘Gumbi Nehanda’ must have been a closely related group consisting of people of the same family/clan with one great ancestor.
The generally accepted view is that all the Shona and their close relatives such as the Venda and Kalanga, derive from one common great ancestor, Tovera/Thobela.
He is the earliest known ancestor of the Shona according to oral tradition.
At ‘Mapungubwe’, one of the shrines of the Shona, there is a village called ‘Thobela’.
In the Matombo Hills, a road that branches left on the way to Mzilikazi’s grave is named ‘Tovera Road’.
‘Tovera’ is recognised as the Great Ancestor of the Shona.
His name appears in the lyrics of songs sung at various cultural and spiritual ceremonies where the people call on him to help solve their life challenges such as disease and famine.
Among the Nambiya, ‘Tovera’ also is recognised as a great ancestor of the people.
One such song that recognises Tovera as the great ancestor of the Shona includes the following lyrics:
“Tovera mudzimu dzoka!
Vana vanorwara
Mudzimu dzoka!
Kwaziwai Tovera!”
‘Mambiri’ was the son of Tovera.
He was the head of two (mbiri) famous villages in Guruuswa, Tanganyika, where the Shona people originated.
His people were called ‘Mambiri’s children (vana vaMambiri).
They also came to be called ‘VaMbire’.
The name has persisted until today; with one of the districts in Mashonaland Central province being named ‘Mbire’.
‘Mambiri’ was the father of ‘Murenga Pfumojena Sororenzou’.
This is the legendary ‘Murenga’ after whom the liberation wars of the people of Zimbabwe are named.
He is the great ancestor whose fighting spirit is credited with inspiring the people of Zimbabwe to fight the invading ‘vapambevhu’ and ‘vapambepfumi’ from Britain in all phases of the Chimurenga liberation struggle.
‘Murenga’ was the father of ‘Chaminuka, Gumbi (Nehanda) and ‘Mushavatu’ (Venda spelling) or ‘Mushavanhu’ (Shona).
The earliest known spirit medium of the Great Ancestor of the Shona, most likely, ‘Tovera’ himself, was Murenga’s son Gumbi.
After Gumbi the ancestral spirit possessed the young girl ‘kasikana’ he gave his name as ‘Gumbi Nehanda’.
It was after possessing ‘Kasikana’ that the Great Ancestral Spirit ventured south to look for a suitable land to settle his people.
A previous article gave details of the ‘Gumbi Nehanda’ legend.
The Gumbi Nehanda spirit is the main ancestral spirit (likely Tovera himself) that guided the children of Mambiri into Zimbabwe.
It preferred to possess the female descendants of Mushavatu, younger brother to Chaminuka and Gumbi, all three being sons of Murenga Pfumojena Sororenzou.
The spirit medium ‘Nyakasikana’ carried the Great Nehanda spirit across the Zambezi and into Zimbabwe.
Only once is it reported that the Nehanda spirit possessed ‘Nyamita’, daughter of Mutota of the Nzou totem.
During this period, David Livingstone, the Scottish explorer, reports that he personally saw Nyamita, the spirit medium, strike the waters of a flooded river, which waters then separated allowing people to pass across.
This is similar to the Biblical Moses striking the waters of the Red Sea to allow the children of Israel to escape their Egyptian pursuers.
The story is also told of how Gutsa, Chiweshe and Hwata, sons of Chief Nyashanu, fleeing their enemies from Buhera to seek refuge with their brother Seke, found the Save River in full flood.
A female spirit medium (svikiro) that they had forced to accompany them struck the waters of the flooded Save River.
The waters separated allowing the three and their consultant spirit medium and her dog to escape across.
The three worked closely with the Nehanda spirit medium, Charwe, otherwise well known as Mbuya Nehanda during the first Chimurenga.
Mbuya Nehanda, Hwata and Gutsa were all sentenced to death and hanged for the killing of Pollard, a white settler and Native Commissioner of Mazowe.
One cannot help, but speculate that the spirit medium who accompanied the three descendants of Mushavatu from Chief Nyashanu’s country in Buhera, was indeed our Mbuya Nehanda.
At the time of the arrival of the whitemen, earlier predicted by Chaminuka whose spirit medium dwelt near Chitungwiza, the Nehanda Spirit resumed the regular practice of possessing only female descendants of Mushavatu, of the ‘Mhofu’ totem.
Chaminuka, son of Murenga was also a ‘mhondoro’ spirit that possessed only mediums of the Mushavatu descendants (vaera Mhofu).
Just before the arrival of white invaders, Chaminuka’s spirit medium was ‘Pasipamire Gavaza’ of the Mhofu totem who lived in the Mhondoro area; itself named for the concentration of the spirit mediums or mhodoro’.
Through his medium (svikiro), Chaminuka predicted the coming of the white invaders whom he described as ‘vasina mabvi’ and the First Chimurenga.
Chaminuka was well known for his mysterious exploits (mashiripiti).
Ndebele warriors failed to attack and destroy his shrine at Chitungwiza.
They would see it from afar, but on getting close, the place would be a pool of water, a hill or just thick impenetrable fog or mist.
Chaminuka’s medium was killed at the orders of the Ndebele King Lobengula, who had invited him (Pasipamire) to Bulawayo.
Ndebele spears failed to penetrate his body until Chaminuka advised them to give the spear to a young boy who then stabbed his medium to death.
Another great ancestral spirit was Kaguvi.
His medium (svikiro) was Gumbo reShumba.
Kaguvi worked closely with Nehanda to mobilise the war effort in the First Chimurenga in the 1890s.
Mbuya Charwe and Gumbo reShumba, the spirit mediums of Nehanda and Kaguvi, respectively, and both descendants of Mushavatu, also of the ‘Mhofu’ totem, were arrested, tried and hanged by the white invaders for organising the rebellion some time in 1898.
What we have shown are the lineages of the Shona and their close relatives.
We have demonstrated that they were a close knit group bound by their ancestral spirits who guided them south to Zimbabwe.
We have shown the total involvement of the Shona spirit mediums in defending the security and independence of their people.
We have seen that the Shona ancestral spirits preferred to possess mediums of the Mhofu totem, with the Nehanda spirit only possessing female mediums.
In the next article we shall more closely look at how the Shona ended up with many totems in addition to the eland (Mhofu).

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Chaminuka-The High Priest of the Shona People

He was a famous seer from Chitungwiza, in the Hartley district. He seems to have been a man of high character and unusual gifts. Lobengula used frequently to consult him, and for many years treated him with great consideration. He had remarkable power over animals: he kept tame pythons and other snakes; antelopes gambolled fearlessly about his hut, and his celebrated bull, Minduzapasi, would lie down and rise up, march and halt, at the word of command. He was believed to be the medium of the spirit called Chaminuka; his real name was Tsuro. He was credited with the power to bring rain and to control the movements of game; Frederick Courteney Selous, when hunting in that part of the country, was told by his followers that they would never succeed in killing an elephant unless they first asked Chaminuka’s permission. When this was done he gave the messenger a reed which was supposed “to bring the elephants back on their tracks by first pointing the way they had gone and then drawing it towards him.”

In 1883 a man who believed Chaminuka to have been responsible for the death of his wife went to Lobengula with a false accusation of witchcraft against him. The king may or may not have believed this, but in any case he resolved on Chaminuka’s destruction. He sent him a message, inviting him to Bulawayo on a friendly visit, but the old man was not deceived. He said, “I go to the Madzwiti [ Amandebele], but I shall not return; but, mark you, some eight years hence, behold I the stranger will enter, and he will build himself white houses.”

The prophecy was fulfilled before the eight years were out, for the Chartered Company’s pioneer expedition entered Mashonaland in 1890.

He set out, accompanied by his wife and two of his sons, and met Lobengula’s war-party near the Shangani river. Most of the warriors kept out of sight; only a few headmen came to meet him. His wife, Bavea, who had been a captive of the Amandebele (she was sent to Chaminuka by Lobengula), said, “They are going to kill you! I know the Amandebele; I see blood in their eyes! Run! Run!” He refused, saying he was too old to run. “If his day has come Chaminuka does not fear to die; but bid my son, who is young and swift of foot, creep away in the bushes while there is yet time and carry the news to my people.”

The little party were soon surrounded and all killed, except Chaminuka himself, Bavea, and his other son, Kwari, who was wounded in the leg, got away. The old chief sat on a rock, calmly playing on his mbira. His assailants tried to stab him with their spears, but could not even wound him. Some of them had rifles and fired at him, but the bullets fell round him like hailstones, without touching him.

At last he told them that he could be killed only by an innocent young boy, and such a one, being fetched, dispatched him unresisting. The impi, having cut up his body in order to get the liver and heart, which were held to be powerful ‘medicines,’ went on to Chitungwiza, in order to exterminate Chaminuka’s whole clan, as Lobengula had commanded. But Bute, the son who had been sent away, was fleet of foot, and reached the village in time, and when the warriors arrived they found only empty huts and such stores and cattle as the people had been unable to take with them. Bavea was taken back to Bulawayo, but escaped, and in 1887 told the story to Selous, who saw her in Lomagundi’s country (North Mashonaland).

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Shona religion: Mwari(God)

Traditional healer

Mwari (“He who is“) is understood to have been the original ancestor of the people, the first person ever to have been created in Guruuswa, the legendary place of origin referred to many times in Shona clan traditions.

As a spirit and a voice speaking from the sky, he led the first groups from Guruuswa to their homes in the country, nyika dzino (these lands), where their descendants live today. This tradition conceives Mwari as a founding father with a care for all the tribes related to him. This universal relation puts him in a different class from that of the founding fathers of clans, making him so ancient, and therefore so exalted, as to place him near the Creator (Chikara) and invest him with divine power.

Another of Mwari’s praise names is Soko (Voice, Word). His voice is heard in the thunder, as his mercy is felt in the rain.

These stones are the same as the mabwe aDziva, the stones that hid Mwari from view in the shrines in the Matopo hills in which his voice was heard

These stones are the same as the mabwe aDziva, the stones that hid Mwari from view in the shrines in the Matopo hills in which his voice was heard

Mwari was also known as ‘Dzivaguru’, ‘Sororenzou’, ‘Nyadenga’, ‘Muvumbapasi’, ‘Musiki’, ‘Musikavanhu’ and ‘Dziva‘.
Associated primarily with the Rozvi, he did not speak to the people through human mediums under possession but freely from all sorts of objects, e.g. children, animals and rocks.

When, like other African deities, Mwari withdrew from the people owing to their intolerable and arrogant behavior, his place was taken by the clan guardian spirits, the mhondoro. A large aspect of the Mwari religion was this mhondoro cult whose principal mhondoro at Zimbabwe was Chaminuka. The Chaminuka medium apparently resided in the Eastern Enclosure. Traditions say Chaminuka used to interpret the squawking of the sacred fish eagle, hungwe, on its annual visits to Great Zimbabwe.

The relation between the Mwari cult, based in the Matopo Hills, and the Rozvi power in the past is uncertain. It seems clear that the cult already existed in the Torwa state, and the Changamire Rozvi came to terms with it in some such way as the Ndebele did after them. According to traditions the Mbire worshipped Mwari at Great Zimbabwe until the place became over-populated and Mwari directed them to Matonjeni.

Evidence indicates that the chiefs in the past sent periodic delegations to the Mabwe aDziva (The Rocks of Dziva). These delegations bore gifts as tribute, and petitions for help, particularly in the matter of rain. Women from each clan were selected to safeguard the clan’s charms and they spent a period of time at the shrines in the entourage of the god. These nuns were called mbonga and their other job was to instruct the marriageable girls in their wifely duties.

The Mwari religion has been headquartered in Matonjeni/Matopos for the last 500 years. Matonjeni consisted of several shrines of which Njelele is the most known and active today. The Mwari shrines fell, at different times, under the lordship of the Torwa, Rozvi and to a lesser extent, Ndebele state structures. Njelele is a Mwari shrine located on a hill known by its Kalanga name Njelele. Legend has it that the name comes from ancient migratory ‘njerere’ birds that signaled coming of wet season.
With most of the Matonjeni shrines having become inactive Njelele has emerged in the last four decades as the principal Mwari shrine.

Other shrines in the Matonjeni landscape include Dula, Zhilo, Wirirani and Manyangwa.

Nguni invasions in the first half of 19th century toppled the Rozvi, but left the Mwari religious structure intact. After occupation of south Western Zimbabwe by the Ndebele, Matonjeni shrines were allowed to continue to operate, but under close surveillance. King Mzilikazi was dependent upon the Shona spiritual guardians and as a result, he honoured Mwari whom the Ndebele called Mlimo, with annual gifts.

Njelele

In the post-Lobengula era the Matonjeni shrines started to exercise political influence in the Ndebele society as well. There were instances that officials of the Mwari religion were consulted on matters of state. During the First Chimurenga, Matonjeni shrines filled the political vacuum created by the defeat of Lobengula by using Mwari vanyai (messengers) networks to coordinate the anti-colonial struggle that united both the Shona and Ndebele people.

After the First Chimurenga, the Ndebele leadership continued to send messengers to Mlimo for rain while the Shona consultations slowed down especially after the responsible Government in 1923 when colonisation appeared irreversible.

Another contributing factor was the spread of Christianity which resulted in Mwari being appropriated as a Christian God.

From 1920s to 50s, the Shona were of the view that Mwari had turned his back on them. A re-awakening of the Mwari religion was experienced with the rise of African nationalism in the late 1950s. Most nationalists’ leaders embraced the religion as they rallied people under the spiritual banner of the First Chimurenga. Matonjeni shrines were manned by Mwari priests (vanyai), male cultists (mahosana) and female cultists (mbonga). Other office holders include second priest (munin’ina, mufambiri), Mamoyo (spirit medium, Voice), high priestess (tete) and vanyai (messengers)

In the first decade after independence there were contestations around custodianship of Njelele. Historically there have always been conflicts around the shrine custodianship. Elders had traditional tests that they used to administer in order to determine authentic custodianship. Political considerations now hold more sway and Christianity has also contributed to the desecration of Njelele. Most Zimbabweans are nominal Christians who no longer openly associate with the Mwari religion.

 

References
Murambiwa, Ivan, Dr., Director National Archives of Zimbabwe.
Hodza, A.C and Fortune, G., Shona Praise Poetry, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979

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