Nehanda embodies the spirit of Zimbabwe


APRIL 27 2018 marks the 120th Anniversary of the murder of Mbuya Nehanda, the chief medium of Mwari, by the British in 1898.
She had commanded an effective guerilla warfare against the robbers of her land.
In the end, they captured her, tried her and convicted her for the murder of a whiteman.
Mbuya Nehanda embodies the spirit of Zimbabwe, the undaunted spirit of no surrender.
She never submitted to the very end.
When they dared to insult her spirituality by suggesting she be baptised and confess her ‘crime’ of fighting the whiteman so that God would accept her into heaven, Nehanda scornfully laughed, retorting it was not she who needed God’s forgiveness but they (the whitemen) who had taken her land by force.
There was no admission of spiritual or material guilt by Mbuya Nehanda.
As a spirit medium of Mwari, she was well-versed in her spirituality.
Her land was a gift from Musikavanhu and no one had any right to take it from her.
As a spiritual leader of her people, she had to lead them to reclaim what was eternally theirs.
The preposterousness of suggesting she should exonerate the whiteman was not lost on her.
Not even to serve her skin would she renounce who she was — a creature and servant of Mwari with a special mission to protect His people.
Faced with imminent death, Mbuya Nehanda still scorned the enemy; she was not cowed.
How could Musikavanhu deny such a brave faithful warrior heirs to complete the struggle to drive out the white menace.
She foretold before they murdered her: “My bones shall rise.”
Thus, she was consoled, in the full knowledge she would be vindicated, before she died.
How could she be confused about the white menace?
How could she ever ask for forgiveness for justly defending her legacy?
How could she and her people forgive merciless foreigners who burned whole villages to ashes and looted tonnes of grain, forcing her people to starve.
How could Musikavanhu and his people forgive foreigners who looted thousands of cattle, goats, sheep and chickens, forcing people to die, women and children regardless.
How could she ask for forgiveness for killing an enemy who blasted her people who were hiding in caves with dynamite so that they died most horribly?
How could she forget an enemy who unleashed the maxim gun on her people who were armed only with spears?
It was barbaric, beastly and brutish.
Mbuya Nehanda was aware the intention of the enemy was genocide.
The rate at which her people were perishing was alarming.
They had to let it be; it had to be a strategic retreat.
In all, the white menace massacred about 50 000 Africans.
Indeed her bones did rise, but the enemy her grandchildren encountered and fought was the same — brutal and merciless.
At Nyadzonia, they murdered unarmed civilians, grandfathers and mothers, fathers and mothers, children and babies, shooting most of them at point blank range and riding over the fallen with their UNIMOGS to ensure no one would be left alive.
At Chimoio, they committed crimes against humanity which defy imagination, as Dr Felix Muchemwa in his book The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe (1890 – 2010) describes in graphic detail:
“At Percy Ntini, they murdered at point blank range disabled combatants, amputees who had lost their limbs in the war.
Most of the amputee comrades at the Percy Ntini Base could not move quickly enough away from the parade ground and had therefore been decimated by the initial cluster and napalm bombing. Around 8am, some of the disabled survivors had run into an RLI ambush and were all killed.
Hundreds of patients at Parirenyatwa Base Hospital, had been burnt to death while still inside the barrack rooms, by both ordinary fire and napalm.
During their sweep, the SAS who passed through Parirenyatwa Hospital Base had found an ambulance which Dr Muchemwa had intended to use to carry patients to Beira that morning.
The patients were still squashed, hiding inside the ambulance, believing they would be spared since the ambulance was clearly marked with a Red Cross emblem.
All of the patients were shot mercilessly inside the ambulance.
A number of totally naked female comrades who had taken cover beneath the ambulance were also shot dead as they scrambled to get away.
At Chindunduma Base, hundreds of children had been caught by both napalm and cluster bombs while still on morning parade. Around mid-day, the SAS quickly advanced towards the tented base, and children who had survived the morning bombing had rushed towards them crying for help, and almost every one of the children got a pistol bullet between the eyes.
At Nehanda Base, female comrades, most of them fully dressed, had crowded inside the barrack for cover when the SAS found them.
Some of SAS were armed with RPK guns but some were armed with M16 rifles.
The SAS literally executed the young girls and women one by one, hundreds of them.
For almost one hour from around 2pm, the M16 was heard firing non-stop.
The hollowed, air filled heads of the of the 5.5mm M16 rounds yawed on impact so that the entry wounds appeared ghastly and bigger than those caused by ordinary rifle bullets and the exit wounds were worse.” (Muchemwa:2015)
Medical and food supplies were poisoned, as well as all sources of water around Chimoio so that those who survived the holocaust and were treated with the medicines, ate the food or drank the water died.
Even corpses were booby trapped so that mines would explode and kill those who would bury the dead.
This is the calibre of the enemy that descended on Zimbabwe, robbed it and took all that it is endowed with for its kith and kin.
An enemy who would carry out such atrocities to defend its robbery of what belongs to others.
This is the kind of enemy Mbuya Nehanda would not submit to or apologise for fighting.
Mbuya Nehanda knew Musikavanhu wanted nothing less than destruction of such evil.
Zimbabwe was visited by such evil and her children suffered painful deaths in defence of their land.
Like them and Mbuya Nehanda, we cannot apologise for defending what is ours!


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