Changing the names of provinces


DURING the colonial Rhodesia days this beautiful country of ours was divided into five provinces, namely, Manicaland, Mashonaland, Matebeleland, Midlands and Victoria.
Later the so-called Mashonaland province was divided further into three provinces, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West.
And we must never forget that the country itself was named Rhodesia after the British Imperialist Cecil John Rhodes.
In this article we would like to show that the colonial master’s idea of dividing our dear country into geographical regions which were given tribal names was meant to give the false picture which said that in Zimbabwe there were tribal enclaves which hosted the Manyika, Mashona, Ndebele etc.
The other side to this was that the colonial master wanted to sell the big lie that if for instance one came to Zimbabwe and was looking for a tribal grouping called the Shona then the place for him or her to go was Mashonaland province for that is the only province where the Mashona lived and predominated.
The same lie applied to the Manyika and Manicaland, the Ndebele and Matabeleland etc.
The grand plan was to cut up the people of Zimbabwe into bits and pieces called tribes and regions where the African was turned into a tribal idiot who only thought along tribal lines and regions and not as a Zimbabwean.
The colonial master to a large extent succeeded in this evil agenda. Today as we write there are a lot of people from amongst us who are still hanging on to the tribal names of provinces as if their lives depended on them.
Below we are going to show that the tribal naming of our provinces by the colonial master was completely baseless and should be discarded today.
Let us start with Manicaland.
The name gives the impression that here in this province you will found a tribe called ‘Manyika’; that all the districts in this province are dominated by a tribe called ‘Manyika’.
However, the reality on the ground is diffeent.
If you went to Buhera, Chipinge, Chimanimani, Marange, Maungwe Bocha, etc are you going to get anyone who call themselves ‘Manyika’?
The truth of the matter is that if you want to be tribal about it, you are going to meet groups calling themselves Ndau, Barwe, Hwesa, Samaita, Museyemwa, Sinyoro, Nyati etc and never Manyika.
As a matter of fact in all my travels across the vast province which is presently called ‘Manicaland’ the only place where I found being referred to as ‘Manyika’ is a tiny, place called ‘Samanyika’ in Nyanga disctrict.
In Mashonaland, the provinces were named so to give the false impression that in the whole of Zimbabwe, the Shona people are found in the Mashonaland provinces.
And anybody out side these provinces was not Shona.
This means the people in the province of Manyika we have just seen and everywhere else in Zimbabwe were not Shona.
This was really a masterclass in divide and rule.
The Shona were reduced to exist only in one province of Zimbabwe later divided into three.
From the socalled Mashonaland provinces we come to what many have described as the height of madness of the colonial master’s divide and rule project.
Masvingo Province was once called Victoria.
Overnight a proud black Shona group of people woke up to find that they were no more Shona but ‘Victorians’ – Shonalised ‘Mavhitori’.
At one time people from outside Zimbabwe (Rhodesia then) thought that the so-called Victoria Province had been settled exclusively by whites coming out of England during the so-called Victoria era there.
The name confused everyone that other Shona groups throughout the colonial period found it difficult to embrace the people from Masvingo for after all they were not part of them but ‘Victorians’.
But the truth of the matter was that the so-called Victoria province was the original headquarters of the entire Shona nation.
And that the so-called Victorians were part and parcel of the so-called Manyika, in Manicaland and socalled ‘Mashona’ in Mashonland.
Then finally we look at the so-called Matabeleland province. This province was said to be predominated by the Ndebele.
This was totally at variance with the situation on the ground.
A rough analysis on the situation shows that the tribal groups in the area are mostly non Ndebele.
For example in the so-called Matabeleland South province, the Venda and Kalanga dominate, whilst in the so-called Matabeleland North, the Nambiya (Rozvi) and Tonga dominate.
I have been looking for suitable names for Manicaland and the following came to my mind.
Save river, Nyanga ‘Eastern Province’ and Chingaira.
I wanted to settle for Save as the new name for Manicaland.
But then the blundering Morgan Tsvangirai of the tattered MDC has the totem Save and is even sometimes called ‘Save’.
And so Save is definitely out. Nyanga is the name of a district.
I am therefore left with Chingaira and ‘Eastern Province’ since Eastern sounds a bit flat I have therefore settled for Chingaira who was the greatest hero of the First Chimurenga in that province whose head is still with the Brits.
Coming to Mashonaland East.
I have settled for the name Kaguvi, the Hero of the First Chimurenga. Kaguvi was born in Mashonaland East.
Mashonaland Central becomes Mutapa province for me.
This is because the iconic Monomotapa empire had its headquarters in that province.
Mashonaland West becomes ‘KwaMashoyamombe’ the greatest fighter of the First Chimurenga who fought heroic battles in that province. Matebeleland North province becomes ‘Mosi oa-tunya’ province after the iconic Victoria Falls whilst Matabeleland South province becomes ‘Njelele’ province after the sacred Njelele shrine which is housed in that province.
It is shameful to see that South Africans who got their freedom after us have already named their provinces by proper names like, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng etc while we are still hanging on to tribal names of provinces that were meant to advance a divide and rule project of the former colonial master.


  1. What a load of nonsense is written here. First in 1890 there was no country and no capital, no roads, no central administration. In those days the Shona were living in Mashonaland as they were driven out of Matabeleland in 1840 by the Ndebele tribe. There were between 350.000 and 400.000 people living in an area as big as Texas or 10 x as big as the Netherlands.
    And these tribes had wars against each other. And they moved every so many years when the soil was exhausted by over grazing. That is why in Africa you will not find old towns like in Europe. A town means first to have a endurance farming method and then people stay and become bakers or carpenters or brick-makers or painters. The oldest towns below the Sahara are build by the Europeans. What is the problem with the names of the provinces? In every country there are names for areas and the Settlers didn’t name it Yorkshire of Wiltshire! They did use African names.

    Even the name Zimbabwe was invented in the sixties in London as the country didn’t had a name before 1894.
    As there was no written language, everything comes from the Europeans who wrote down the history. There are many versions, depending what information they used. But they had diaries and it is interested to read them.
    Because of the medicine of the settlers who treated the Africans, the population exploded to 4 million in 1960 and 8 million in 1980. Why are you such a racist against a group of people who build Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) from a wilderness into a modern country in a very short time?
    Under the white rule there was safety for everyone because the police did arrest criminals, (not today) where Africans had education and within 50 years from being illiterate the first African lawyers and doctors came from the university, paid by the white people taxes. No development organisation has ever achieved this.

    Never judge history except in the context of the times in which it occurred.

  2. Of all names for Manicaland certainly not Chingaira. The problem with personal names is that the Makonis start thinking the province is theirs. Eastern Province or Kumabavazuva will be all inclusive.

  3. well the title of the paper hosting the column says it all. The writer is committing so many historical and identity fallacies as he/she assumes that being patriotic is synonymous with being partisan. Firstly there is no name that is all inclusive even the suggested names in this article can be even worse than the ones being criticized. Some names are personalized ones how can you justified the heroism of a particular individual as he/she was the lone fighter? I don’t have any problems with names attached to natural geographical features. I am not supporting colonialism but I think the settlers took advantage of our divisions in pre-colonial era. if we were united they could not have managed to further alienate us but they only widened the crack that was there already. Did we have the settlers in the early 1980s Gukurahundi and Inthumbane clashes? Do we have settlers today as we fight each other in the ZANU PF? I think we are the problem not the invaders. 30 years after gaining independence we still cry of them while we are enemies of our destination.


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