Njelele: Spiritual centre for Murenga, founder ancestor of Zimbabwe


AS we celebrate 34 years of our independence as Zimbabweans, we must remember to include the role played by the spirits of our ancestors in our liberation struggles.
Njelele is the spiritual shrine of Murenga.
Murenga is the founder ancestor of Zimbabwe as a nation.
His voice communicates from the caves of Matopo Hills without a medium.
All the wars of liberation in this country are fought in his name and are called Chimurenga.
The organising spirits behind them are those of Murenga’s daughter and son, Nehanda and Chaminuka.
The well known mediums of Nehanda are Nyamhita and Charwe.
Charwe inspired and guided both the First and Second Chimurenga.
She operated from Manzou now Mazowe and communicated regularly with Murenga in Njelele.
Both uprisings were sanctioned from Njelele by Murenga.
Charwe was executed by the British in 1897.
She prophesied, before she died, that her bones shall rise again and take back the land.
Her prophesy came true.
The children of Zimbabwe took up arms and got back their land.
It would be ungrateful of Zimbabweans to continue to be silent on the spiritual dimension provided by Murenga and our ancestors in our struggles of liberation and not to include them in our Independence celebrations and accord their Shrine at Njelele the status of ‘The Spiritual Centre of our Liberation’.
Njelele is located in Matopo Hills.
The religious name for Matopo Hills is ‘Malindidzimu’ in Kalanga which means ‘The Sacred Place for Our Ancestors’.
The Shona name for Matopo Hills is ‘Mabweadziva’ which means ‘Mountains of Sacred Springs, Pools and Lakes’.
Njelele as a Shrine continues to play the role of a spiritual centre of ceremonies for bountiful rains and harvests where people from East, Central and southern Africa, such as Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Angola, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa come and gather together and perform rituals to invoke the spirit of Murenga and worship Mwari for good rains, harvests and prosperity.
The BSA Company acknowledged the role played by what they described as a fanatical, religious, millenarian cult of Mwari in planning, mobilising, coordinating and executing the country-wide uprisings of 1893-96 that we know as the First Chimurenga in which the Ndebele and Shona fought together as one people under the guidance of Murenga from Njelele.
Ndebele leaders such as Sikombo Mguni, Dhliso Mathema, Babyane, Mahlahleni, Mpotshwana Ndiweni, Nyamanda (son of Lobengula), Umlugulu Khumalo, Nkomo, Mkumbi and Somabulana Dhlodlo fought side by side with Rozvi leaders such as Uwini and Gwaibana and the Shona/Kalanga such as Mayeza, Tategulu and Menwe.
Non-Ndebele of the Mwari cult such as Mukwati traversed from west to east mobilising the people.
His co-fighters in east and central Zimbabwe included Mangwende and his son Muchemwa, Makoni and his son Mhiripiri, Mashayamombe, Bonda, Mashonganyika, Kunzvi Nyandoro and Chikwaka.
They were led by the spirits of Kaguvi and Nehanda (Charwe and Gumboreshumba) who operated in there and communicated regularly with Murenga in Njelele.
The religious importance of Njelele as the spiritual centre of Murenga and the nation continues to be neglected and unacknowledged 34 years after independence.
Rhodes’ remains still lie there as a deity among our ancestors.
Next to him are the remains of his close bosom friend and homosexual lover, Leander Starr Jameson.
He was the first colonial administrator of Rhodesia.
On the hills opposite Rhode’s grave is a cross erected by Father Odilo Weeger in honour of Rhodes as conqueror of heathens for Christ.
It is a well known fact that homosexuality is an abomination to our ancestors among whom Rhodes and his gay lover lie peacefully in their graves.
It is, therefore, surprising that apart from President Mugabe’s bold condemnation of homosexuality in Zimbabwe, which understandably has angered all Europe and America as beneficiaries of Rhodes’ homosexual ill-begotten wealth from us, the political manifestos and constitutions of our country continue to be silent on any long, medium or short term plans to remove Rhodes’ remains from among our ancestors and cleanse Malindidzimu as the Spiritual Centre of Murenga and our liberation as Zimbabweans.
It is not amiss to say, as long as Rhodes continues to lie as one of our ancestors at Njelele, our independence will not be complete or blessed by God or the ancestors.
It is also not amiss to say that our freedom will also not be complete or blessed as long as we continue to ignore the spiritual involvement of our ancestors in our struggles for liberation and exclude them from our Independence celebrations and burials of those who sacrificed their lives for our liberation.
Our development programmes do not quite appreciate the significance of the role played by religion and our ancestors in our liberation struggles.
The absence of our spirituality as Africans is quite noticeable in them.
Their emphasis is on economic development.
African identity, spirituality and culture are considered secondary to economic development. This is contrary to the wisdom of our ancestors as founders of Zimbabwe as a nation.
As Mufuka, Nemerai and Muzvidzwa argue in their book Dzimbahwe: Life and Politics in the Golden Age 1100-1500, the genius of our ancestors lies in their view that a nation built entirely on an economic foundation would be inadequate and extremely fragile.
Power, according to them, is based not entirely on economic enterprise or coercion, but on the more encompassing force of religion.
A wise political leader has to fashion his constitution according to the character of his people.
A people’s ‘constitution’ is more in tune with custom and national character than with all written documents purporting to describe what should or should not be done.
The Zimbabwean character would be capable of an infinite happiness even under the most adverse conditions if the character of his constitution was in tune with the character of his religion and spirituality as a Zimbabwean.
Religion is the force that Njelele embodies as ‘The Spiritual Centre of Murenga’ and our identity and freedom as a nation.
This is the spirit or force that we must celebrate together as a free and sovereign state.


  1. There is no other way than this article Rise Up MADZIMBABWE!Mudzimu mukuru chiregera chinya sunungurai vana vamedze musuva tagwadzia tazviwa tipei mazano tidzokere patakarasika taperegwa!Zameeeeeeeeeeee grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr hau hau hau hau hau!zvakanakanaka!grrrrrrrrrrrr!

  2. Why is this not in the People making History and the African Heritage? I grew up knowing Murenga family but had no idea that Chimurenga was derived from that name.

  3. Rhodes’s remains must not be left lying in our sacred shrine proximity.I believe his remains must be sent back to his own home land.


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