Imbizo Regiment last stand remembered as President commissions Pupu Monument

by | Mar 21, 2024 | Local News, Politics | 0 comments

Imbizo Regiment last stand remembered as President commissions Pupu Monument

Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa


Bulala abathakhati!” General Mthsane Khumalo shouted to his men of the Imbizo Regiment, the impi tasked to be the rearguard of iNkosi Lobengula and stop the pursuing Shangani Patrol of Major Allan Wilson as he trekked North to allow the king to escape the indignity of capture and death by hanging by the settler regime.


The Imbizo regiment was equal to the task as seen today by the unveiling of Pupu Monument by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the monument to mark the epic battle fought on the shores of the Shangani River, a place where the King’s Imbizo Regiment led by General Mtshana Khumalo, killed all the settler forces and their commander Major Allan Wilson on 4 December 1893, to represent the whole story.


Pupu Monument symbolizes the beginning of a protracted resistance against the settler colonial regime.


Speaking at the commissioning of Pupu, President Mnangagwa said, “This monument that is being unveiled today is our collective honor of the historic acts by the brave warriors of the Ndebele people. Our forefathers planted revolutionary seeds that opposed all forms of occupation by colonialists. Under the Second Republic, my government resolved to remember and modernize our strong Zimbabwean roots and identity and the history of our forefathers will never be forgotten.”

In telling the story of the Battle of Pupu, the colonialists intentionally snubbed the Ndebele perspective. Unlike in the past, when the settler government portrayed Major Wilson and his forces as the heroes, the monument is now justifying the victors in that particular battle.


President Mnangagwa further added, “A nation or community without history and culture are like trees without roots. This has seen my government recognize heroes and heroines of the 1st Chimurenga/Umvukela for example the Mbuya Nehanda Statue in Harare, likewise, many strategic national institutions have been named after the heroes and heroines of the 1st Chimurenga/Umvukela. Under the Second Republic, we shall never allow a misrepresentation of our rich liberation heritage by our warrior forefathers. We must speak unity, peace, and love. This monument which we have unveiled today a few weeks before our 44th Independence Day, which will be held in Murambinda in Manicaland.”


Gen Khumalo, the commander of the elite group of fighters was tasked to protect King Lobengula’s life and dignity as he trekked north. The Wilson patrol that had crossed the Shangani River was wiped out at what has now come to be remembered as Pupu. Despite their superior weaponry comprising Maxim guns and cannons, Maj Wilson and his forces were killed by King Lobengula’s brave warriors.

The displays also show the pursuit of the King by the pioneers. A force of 34 men, later known as Shangani Patrol, was assembled to pursue and capture the King as he fled north after the burning of his capital by the settler regime at kwaBulawayo.


The current President of the National Chiefs Council, Chief Mtshane Khumalo is the grandson of General Mtshane Khumalo who was the commander of King Lobengula’s Imbizo Regiment that killed Major Allan Wilson and his fighters on 4 December 1893.


The exhibitions at the monument show the Ndebele resisting colonial forces manifesting in the battle at Bonko by the Shangani River and at Gadade in Mbembesi. The exhibition also relives the burning of King Lobengula’s Royal capital at Emahlabathini.


Pupu Monument is located on the outskirts of Lupane, the provincial capital of Matabeleland North Province. The province played a critical role in the liberation of Zimbabwe as the cradle of bold anti-colonial resistance in both the First and Second Umvukela/Chimurenga, which led to Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.


President Mnangagwa also commissioned Pupu Clinic, built by The Lotteries and Gambling Board. It has two cottages, one which was built through Devolution Funds, and the other cottage was also built by the Lotteries and Gambling Board.