Bindura rally and the painful truth


ONCE again the ZANU PF ‘train’ rolled into Mashonaland Central last Saturday for the ZANU PF Eighth Presidential Youth Interface Rally, in Bindura, at Chipadze Stadium.
Estimates say over 100 000 people attended the historic event that saw the mining town of Bindura come to life.
People came from Mt Darwin, Mvurwi, Matepatepa, Centenary, Mazowe, Glendale and Chiweshe, among other areas.
President Robert Mugabe was of course the centre of attraction.
When President Mugabe took to the podium, not only did he remind the multitudes that Mashonaland Central was the bedrock of the liberation struggle, but that the province must remain united and safeguard the legacy of those who sacrificed their lives for Zimbabwe.
The story of how Mbuya Nehanda refused to be baptised before she was hanged seemed to inspire many people as President Mugabe explained it: “Ndambotaura tichavamba information centre kuti hatingauye kuno tichizoita meeting kana hurongwa hwakaita sei zvawo tisingaite kana kuyeuchidza kuti kuno ndokwemhondoro yedu.
Ndiko kwakavamba Chimurenga chekutanga, vachikokerwa naana Mbuya Nehanda, naana Kaguvi.
Ndiko kwakaiswa mweya wakanaka watakazowanawo uripo isu takura zvichinzi Mbuya Nehanda havana kumboda kana kuti vadzorwe pfungwa dzavo, kana kunzi iwe wakufa, wakuyenda kunosungwa, kunosungirirwa chisvipa zvawangauinazvo zvese uchitarisa kunaMwari kuti uregererwe zvivi zvako.
Vakaramba, vakaramba kuva muKiristo at the last moment.
Vakafa vakadaro asi vaiti ndinoda kutaura kuti hongu ndirikuenda asi mapfupa angu achamuka.”
It was imperative for President Mugabe to remind people about how the country’s most celebrated heroine in the 1896-97 Shona/Ndebele uprising, Mbuya Nehanda, met her fate on Wednesday April 27 1898 with the collusion of one Father Richartz of the Catholic Church, the same church that preaches goodness and mercy, the same church which had Farther Hartmann accompanying and praying for robbers and murderers known as the ‘Pioneer Column’ as they invaded Zimbabwe on September 12 1890.
Yes, it is crucial for Zimbabweans to know the truth — that while Mbuya Nehanda was being hanged, Father Richartz was busy trying to convert Sekuru Kaguvi and he (Father Richartz) is on record saying: “When I saw that noting could be done with her (Mbuya Nehanda), the time for the execution having arrived, I left Nehanda and went to Kagubi (Kaguvi) who received me in good dispositions.
While I was conversing with him, Nehanda was taken out to the scaffold.
Her cries and resistance when she was taken up the ladder, the screaming and yelling on the scaffold disturbed my conversation with Kagubi very much, till the noisy opening of the trapdoor upon which she stood followed by the heavy thud of her body as it fell, made an end to the interruption.”
And after Mbuya Nehanda had been hung, came Sekuru Kaguvi who had already been christened ‘Dismas’ – the good thief.
Said Father Richartz: “After Kaguvi made the necessary acts of faith, I baptised him and gave him the name of the good thief, ‘Dismas’ with whom he was to share the great blessing of forgiveness in the hour of death.
Kaguvi did not give the least trouble or make any lamentations. He died as he had been told the evening before by Victor, to die quiet and resigned, and, I hope in good dispositions.”
How then do we define such people like Father Richartz and company?
How do we define such people who (ab)used Christianity as they murdered our spirit mediums who were at the forefront of defending the country’s sovereignty, values and heritage?
Are the multitudes of people who gathered at Chipadze Stadium last week, and Zimbabweans in general, aware that at the time Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi were hanged, there were four other ‘prisoners’ whom Father Richartz was waiting to baptise before they were hung.
Records show there was one Zvidembo, Maremba, Gundusa and Ndowa to be executed on Friday April 29 1898.
And in is words, Farther Richartz said: “They were quiet and resigned and clearly expressed their wish to go to heaven?”
Farther Richartz baptised Gundusa, Joseph Thomas; Zvidembo, Joseph Thaddeus; Ndowa, Joseph Barnabas; and Maremba, Joseph Peter.
Note all the names given to Zimbabwe’s First Chimurenga heroes by the whiteman were from the Bible – the same Bible in which a letter that was given to the first missionaries to Africa by King Leopold II of Belgium in 1883 was found by one Moukouani Muikwani Bukoko, born in the Congo in 1915, and who in 1935 while working in the Congo, bought a second hand Bible from a Belgian priest who forgot the letter in the Bible.
Reads part of the letter: “Evangelise the niggers so that they stay forever in submission to the white colonialists, so they never revolt against the restraints they are undergoing.
Recite every day — ‘Happy are those who are weeping because the kingdom of God is for them’.
Convert always the blacks by using the whip.
Keep their women in nine months of submission to work freely for us.
Force them to pay you in sign of recognition — goats, chicken or eggs — every time you visit their villages.
And make sure that niggers never become rich.
Sing everyday that it’s impossible for the rich to enter heaven.
Make them pay tax each week at Sunday mass.
Teach the niggers to forget their heroes and to adore only ours.”
Could this be the reason some in our midst dismiss celebrated heroes like Mbuya Nehanda, Mashonganyika, Mkwati and Chingaira, among others, as mashavi?
Does this explain why decades later, Tongoona from Kachuta, Guruve, disowns his name and prefers to be called John?
Does this explain why Musimboti from Murehwa suddenly changed his name to Mathew?
Does this explain why today Christianity reigns supreme at almost every funeral at the expense of our African Traditional Religion?
Whatever the case, the fact still remains that the whiteman’s not so hidden hand anymore played an influential role.
The brainwashing of Africans through Christianity might as well be compared to a genocide.
And perhaps the late Dr Vimbai Gukwe Chivaura was spot-on when he said: “Farther Richartz left a legacy for us of using the whiteman’s religion to preside over the burial of our heroes and send their souls to the whiteman’s heaven or is it hell?”
And to date, some of us still wonder how and why Dr Chivaura was taken to a Chapel at the University of Zimbabwe before being laid to rest at his farm.
To some of us, that was one great travesty.
And so, the Chipadze, Bindura, rally laid bare the whiteman’s hypocrisy.


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