The Nambiya like the Kalanga are Karanga and Shona


IT really feels great to be back home and writing again for our beloved newspaper The Patriot after quite some time. I have been on a sabbatical all along during which time I went down South to see the horrible xenophobia situation there on the ground. Sadly on my wanderings down there I discovered that there is very little political will among most South Africans both at the top as well as at the bottom to apologise for xenophobia. Why this is the case is a topic for another day. Today I am on the topic of the Nambiya of Hwange district as part of the wider discussion of the Kalanga being Shona. While I was away a lot of debate took place concerning western Zimbabwe which was wrongly christened ‘Matabeleland’ by the British colonial settlers for purely divide and rule purposes. Not only did the British give western Zimbabwe a wrong name, but more fundamentally, the Shona who inhabited that part of the country supported a great injustice. They were forced to abandon Shona speaking and in return speak Ndebele as the official language of the area. Therefore this article seeks to demonstrate that most of the people in western Zimbabwe which today is wrongly called ‘Matabeleland’ are Shona whose language rights must be restored. We are going to use the Nambiya people to show that the majority of the ethnic groups in Matabeleland are Shona whose language was suppressed by the colonial masters as a way of downsizing the Shona nation. The Ndebele are totally innocent in this matter since they themselves were in fact victims of that colonial strategy of divide and rule. We rely on the former native affairs Depart-NADA writings, District Administrator Hwange’s historical documents and numerous discussions carried out by this writer and Nambiya people in the 1980s. The Nambiya are descendants of the Rozvi Mambo. They were part of the Karanga people called Vanyai who went and settled in what is now Hwange district. Their chiefs are Hwange and Shona Nekatambe. Hwange district is named after chief Hwange. Early in the 18th century the Rozvi ruler Mambo had three sons – Dewa, Dende and Sabatule. Dende broke away and opposed his father. He set up his own count and ruled crudely over his followers. Mambo heard of it and summoned Dende to appear before him to be punished, but he refused and Mambo ordered his men to find him and kill him. When Dende heard this he escaped and he and his followers made their way westwards. When they arrived in what is Binga district today, Dende’s sister who was pregnant had to be left behind. She later gave birth to a son Rashu (from Mhashu) who later became one of the important chiefs in Binga. Dende proceeded west and settled in an area called Bhale which is now part of Hwange district at a place called Shangano. There he built a stone-walled enclosure. And he became known as Sawanga from which name Hwange is derived. While at Shangano, Dende’s brother Dewa followed him and settled there. The other brother Sabatule also followed, but was unwilling to stay with them so he went further north across the Zambezi and founded the Lewanika (from Ruwaninyika) dynasty, With the passage of time these Shona people grew in population and spread throughout the Hwange area when the Ndebele later arrived in western Zimbabwe from South Africa, while they carried out raids on the Hwange people who were then popularly known as Nambiya they did not settle in the area. And so the Nambiya kept on speaking their Shona language. Disaster only struck when the British colonial settlers came. These imperialists decided as part of their scheme to cut the Shona down to size, to abolish the Shona language altogether and to justify the teaching of Ndebele in schools etc. In Hwange for example, they forcibly brought a Ndebele chief, one Mvutu from over 500 kilometres in Kezi district in the south to settle in Hwange district. The Shona Nambiya were shocked to discover that their children were to learn Ndebele and not Shona in schools. Up to today people in Hwange cannot understand why they were taught Ndebele in schools and not their Shona. This goes for Binga where there is mostly Tonga which brings us to subject of the names of provinces. It is our submission that to keep on calling our provinces by the names they were given by our former colonial masters is nursing and looking after a sick colonial divide and rule project meant to divide our people. Therefore we propose that Zimbabwe’s provinces must be named as below: Matabeleland North becomes Mosi-a-Tunya province after the local name of the Victoria Falls, Matabeleland South where there are more Karanga, South Kalanga e.t.c than Ndebele becomes Njelele province after the sacred Njelele shrine. Mashonaland West province becomes Mashayamombe province after the legendary Mashayamombe Chinengudu, great hero of the First Chimurenga. Masvingo remains Masvingo. Midlands remains Midlands, Mashonaland Central becomes either Mutapa province or Nehanda province. Here either name is ok. Mashonaland East becomes Hwedza, Manicaland province becomes Chingaira province after the great hero of the First Chimurenga there. Harare remains Harare, Bulawayo remains Bulawayo. The Kalanga and Nambiya are first and foremost Karanga and therefore Shona. It is time history is corrected. After all that is what our constitution wants.


  1. Get your facts righ , if at all anything is to change , its not in your liteeal propaganda, but in the people themselves. All these tribes yiu now call Sjona are unites as victims of a genocide, and share a lot in common. So if anything is to change, its the eople’will, not youe propagansa. Kalanga is the original language, not the other way round. You cant call the Kalanga as Karanga, yet you know fully well that the R in the Karanga is a letter development of Portuguese and Zezuru knfluence. You are mischiveous in trying tk assert that. Perhaps you cid say for your argument, the Karanga are Kalanga. Please dont call everyone Shona. Shonas did not die during Gukurahundi!

  2. What has explaining history to do with Gukurahundi? You sound as if all shona speaking people acted in unison against the ‘ndebele people’
    Get your facts right friend.


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