Last African emperor south of the equator


EDITOR – INDEED, General Josiah Tongogara is a great hero.

Another hero of the land of Murenga is the last Mwenemutapa, Chioko Dambamupute (1887-1902).

Dambamupute allied with Kadungure Mapondera Chibaura and Makombe Hanga of Barwe.

The last Mwenemutapa was always surrounded by 300 gun-armed vaNyai soldiers. Mwenemutapa Dambamupute ruled from the

Kingdom of Chidima.

Like his predecessors, he was also known as ‘Mambo-

a-Chidima’, which means ‘The Lord of Darkness’, or

‘The King of Darkness’.

Chidima means ‘darkness’.

The last Mwenemutapa, Dambamupute’s

achievements include the following:

  • defeating the marauding Portuguese warlord, Ignacio de Jesus Xavier (Karizimamba)
  • destroying most of the Portuguese bases in modern

day Tete Province and controlling the whole of Tete Province

  • destroying the towns of Zumbo, Tete and surrounding Sena because the svikiro of Sena forbade bloodshed at the site
  • allying with Chibaura/Kadungure Mapondera, a

descendant of both the Rozvi and Mwenemutapa dynasties who became his mukomohasha (military general) 

Mapondera also commanded a Mutapa army of 1 000 gun-armed vaNyai. Mapondera would be succeeded by Dambakushamba as military general

  • raiding both the British and the Portuguese colonists, with an army under Mapondera killing over 200 of Kenny’s BSAC military forces, which included the Imperial Yeomanry
  • directly controlling Tete Province and Northern

Mashonaland (Korekore territories, Utavara, Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe and Mutoko)

  • ensuring that Mutapa had a strong relationship with its province, the kingdom of Barwe, which had munition plants at Mungari and Missongue (the Barwe headquarters). 

These munition plants were

under the supervision of a local African ordinance expert. The Barwe-Sena Kingdom provided guns to the Mutapa core kingdom.

  • sacrificing himself in 1902 in order to save

Makombe Hanga, the King of Barwe, which allowed him (Hanga) to escape and allowed the Barwe-Sena people to continue fighting until 1920.

  • instilling a sense of national/cultural pride, which

ensured that the Chimurenga would continue and that one day the children of Mutapa would be freed. 

There is a lot of information out there that must be taught in our schools.

The above history that chronicles the achievements of the last indigenous African emperor south of the equator must never be forgotten. 

Mkomoaxa Nyakuaua


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