Reclaiming our spiritual independence: Part 13 …whites trampled on African spirituality


IN the last article I made reference to docking independently with our Creator’s ship.
We are saying we have a route that we follow to link with our Creator.
We know this route.
It is etched in our collective spiritual memories and in our cultural practices.
The knowledge of our spiritual roots has been passed on from generation to generation.
Our spirituality has always been a part of us.
Our spirituality as Africans did not come into existence with the coming of white colonialists or their agents, the ‘men of the cloth’ the white missionaries preaching about how to go to heaven.
Our spirituality is evident in our culture, our way of life.
Most importantly, our spiritual independence is the bedrock of our identity as an African people.
To restore and defend our independence and sovereignty, we must reclaim our spirituality.
In this article I shall illustrate just how our spirituality and religious independence define us as a people.
I will also show that our enemies recognise this and have spared no effort to destroy this spirituality, even resorting to murdering spirit mediums.
The colonial white imperialists’ agenda failed for centuries to subdue the African.
Eventually the whites made a very important discovery.
They came to realise that the Africans were spiritually linked through their ancestral spirits to God the Creator.
They came to appreciate that this spirituality was the solid rock on which African identity and independence was anchored.
To defeat and subjugate the Africans so as to loot their resources, the invaders sought to disconnect the African from his ancestral spirits and ultimately from his Mwari/Muskavanhu/uMdali.
Once the umbilical cord of the African (his spirituality) to his Creator was cut off, the African would cease to receive nourishment from mother Creator.
Let our history inform us.
Our forefathers traded for centuries with the Chinese, the Indians and even the Arabs.
These were people from societies with strong spiritual roots and religions.
These traders also respected our Mutapa emperors who practised our own religion.
We have records of deliberate efforts by these people from the East to undermine and supplant our culture and religion.
We remained independent because we retained our strong spiritual roots and independence.
When the Portuguese came, true to Western machinations and chicanery, they sought to take over the gold fields and other wealth of our people.
They failed.
Then they discovered that the African people’s strength lay in their strong spiritual roots which permeated all their religious practices.
They devised the ultimate weapon: destroy the spiritual independence of the African and rule him!
The first devastating blow to our African spirituality was the conversion of the Great Munhumutapa Emperor and his wife and family to Christianity.
By converting to Christianity the Emperor had abandoned his spiritual freedom and that of his people.
He was now disconnected from Mwari.
Whereas in African society all things and all religious ceremonies revolve around the King and the Spirit Mediums (masvikiro ne Mhondoro) here was an African King who had surrendered his religious autonomy and independence.
From now henceforth, the Emperor would be under the spiritual influence of the Portuguese missionaries.
They would threaten him with hell fire and as a believer he would comply with whatever they demanded.
African independence was gone!
It was important that the spiritual coup be consolidated.
Other European missionaries poured into Africa!
Missionaries started to go to try and convert Africans to their foreign Christian religion. This was the strategy to destroy African spirituality.
How effective it has been.
The numbers of real Africans has dropped.
Father Gonzalo da Silveira was one of the pioneers of the new strategy to disconnect Africans from their spiritual highway to their Creator through the ancestral spirits of their forefathers.
The Africans caught up with his chicanery: preaching a foreign Gospel that demonised all their ancestral spirits and their religion and even their Africanness.
Father Gonzalo paid the ultimate price as did Molimedi Moleli and Bernard Mizeki.
They were killed for trying to undermine the integrity of African religion by preaching a whiteman’s religion and foreign ideas about God.
Early missionaries fired the first spiritual bullets that carried colonialism and African subjugation to the heart of the continent.
Today Africans who have come under Western religious influence still struggle to define themselves.
Their African spirituality beckons, but the ‘men and women of the cloth’ are working overtime to keep the Africans disconnected from their Creator.
They preach daily to demonise all things African but especially African spirituality.
To demonstrate how critical spiritual independence is, white colonialists considered it a prime target to capture and kill the spirit mediums leading the First Chimurenga.
They went to Njelele and shot dead the Custodian of the Shrine who was of the Shoko totem.
Why, because they understood that the inspiration to fight the white invaders emanated from the ancestral spirit at the shrine.
This was the Great Spirit of Murenga Sororenzou that had ordered the people to wage war against the white invaders.
As the war spread to so-called Mashonaland region, the strong spiritual leadership of Nehanda, Kaguvi and other mhondoros was recognised as the inspiration and strength of the rallying African armies confronting Cecil John Rhodes’ murderous invaders.
To remove the spiritual leadership of the First Chimurenga and weaken the African resistance, the whites hunted down the spirit mediums of Nehanda and Kaguvi.
They eventually captured Mbuya Charwe, the medium of Nehanda and Gumbo Reshumba, the spirit medium of Kaguvi.
Before murdering them, they asked a priest to preach and convert them to Christianity.
This a very important point to note in our discourse.
This attempt to subvert the spiritual independence and identity of the mediums demonstrates that the whites recognised it as the central pillar of strength of the Africans.
So converting to Christianity, the white man’s religion was the ultimate act of surrender.
The valiant Mbuya Charwe, the medium of Nehanda refused to convert, vowing that her ‘bones would resurrect’ to repossess to sacred land of Zimbabwe.
Gumbo Reshumba, the medium of Kaguvi was forced to agree and was given the name Dismus (The good thief).
This shows the utter contempt the whites had and still have, for African spirituality!
That tells you just how diabolical these white invaders were, trampling on African spirituality.
They killed the spirit mediums that linked people to their God.
Disconnected, the people’s war went into disarray.
Without spiritual leadership, eventually our people were defeated in battle and we endured almost a century of subjugation!
When the Second Chimurenga resumed almost 100 later, the gallant fighters went back to the spirit medium of Nehanda to receive inspiration and guidance.
They carried the medium with them across the Zambezi River.
We can see that only when we reconnect with our African spiritual world, our Mwari/uMlimo helps us to defeat our enemies.
Many other mhondoros and masvikiro contributed to the success of the Second Chimurenga.
So we call on the people of Zimbabwe and of Africa to reclaim their spiritual independence, to approach God through their African spiritual highway.
That way we shall overcome our adversaries and enemies and consolidate our political, economic and spiritual independence and sovereignty.


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