THE confinement of an African spiritual leader like Chaminuka, regarded as one one of the founders of the Zimbabwean polity, into the world of mythology is a deliberate ploy by our former colonisers to belittle the history of the indigenes.
Chaminuka and Nehanda were the children of Murenga Sororenzou and these two, together with their father, are regarded as the founding ancestors of the Zimbabwean people.
Like other revered figures in the Holy Bible, Chaminuka, through his medium Pasipamire, could communicate with Musikavanhu — God — according to traditional religious beliefs.
But African traditional religious beliefs, which acknowledged that our ancestors had direct lines of communication with Musikavanhu, have been disparaged as not only primitive but also pure fiction.
There is no way, according to our colonisers, Africans could have leaders the equivalent of these biblical patriarchs.
This could be tantamount to upgrading them to the level that could defy the slave status accorded to them.
That is why they have tried to destroy, not only our cultural and spiritual beliefs but our language as well.
To disregard the significance of our ancestors like Chaminuka leaves us emasculated as a people supposed to have a common cause.
Just as Europe was united by Christianity in plundering Africa in the name of ‘civilising a dark continent’, traditional religion could also have the same effect in uniting us.
Our oppressors are not prepared to accept our history, with its potential unifying effect.
They fear that.
The best way to reclaim our singular identity is through accepting, as a reality, that Chaminuka is one of the founders of our country.
Here is a man who was a national, as opposed to a clan leader as his mediums were never from one clan or tribe.
Thus, Chaminuka should be seen more as an ancestral spirit as opposed to how peddlers of falsehoods denigrated his name.
This way, we might be able to persuade a few more of our African Christian brothers and sisters that the founder of our nation is special.
In addition to this, we have a medium like Pasipamire who did what he did to authenticate the messianic nature of his sender.
The miracles performed by Chaminuka through this medium were proof there was, somewhere, a superior enabling power.
Even the doubting Thomases must have been convinced .
He healed without medicine; simply by word or touching.
He could pluck a fruit from a tree and effortlessly attach it back.
He could cause rain to fall.
He had power over animals as he kept pythons and venomous snakes as toys.
He had control over movement of game to the extent that a white settler-hunter like Frederich Courteney Selous had to seek his permission to be successful.
Even a white historian like Terence Ranger had to acknowledge the superior powers of Pasipamire as ‘a very powerful god.’
He was able to foretell his death at the hands of Lobengula and his assassin’s eventual demise at the hands of British settlers.
He foretold the coming of the whites, but guaranteed that these strangers would never succeed in taking away our land.
He was right.
The freedom fighters gave him due recognition during the war of liberation by invoking his spirit to intervene on their behalf.
Perhaps, Chaminuka deserves much more than a name on a Government building in Harare as testimony to his greatness.