Mbuya Nehanda, a symbol of women leadership and the need to revisit indigenous spirituality

by | May 26, 2021 | Local News, Opinions, Politics | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

The unveiling of the iconic statue of Charwe Nyakasikana, the spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda in Harare on Africa Day- when the continent commemorates the day of the African liberation-, is very symbolic and inspirational.

It is a confirmation of the critical position that women occupy in African society.

It epitomizes the wisdom and inexhaustible fighting spirit and endurance which the women of Africa exhibited in the fight against colonial rule and keep on percolating even today in the fight against neo-colonialism, poverty and inequality.

Mbuya Nehanda will forever stand out in history as the first woman to be convicted and hanged for the murder of armed white soldiers of conquest.
Her real crime was however refusing to accede to the whims of the settler, including converting to Christianity.
After the end of the rebellion in 1897, Nyakasikana was captured and charged with the murder of Native Commissioner Henry Hawkins Pollard in 1896.

She was found guilty after eyewitnesses claimed that she had ordered an associate to chop Pollard’s head off.
Consequently, she was hanged in April 1898.
Much mythology grew up around the difficulty involved in killing her due to the extent of extraordinary powers that she possessed.

Such was the determination of a liberated soul that she led the early liberation efforts with bare hands and a willing heart and an enlightened soul.
Nehanda’s single handed heroics became a source of inspiration to the nationalist national is liberation war of the 1960s to the 1970s.
Today many institutions such as Hospitals, memorials, monuments, national roads and many other landmarks are named after her.
The story of the liberation of Zimbabwe will be imperfect without mention of the gallant inspirational founder of our liberation, Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana.
Charwe Nehanda Nyakasikana epitomised a great chapter of the history of our country by her fierce antagonism to Christianisation and colonialism.

She symbolises a great triumph of our culture and traditions against blatant bastardisation by the colonial powers who spared no effort to wreck and diminish African Spiritualism.
Mbuya Nehanda became the greatest preacher of the liberation and war gospel, leading to the first uprising ( Chimurenga/ Umvukela in the Mashonaland Provinces.

The role as well as the influence of the Spirit medium in mobilisation of the people can not be understated as among the people she was regarded as the voice of God himself.

In this context, God is Musikavanhu, the supreme being.
Whatever she said was deemed to have descended from the mouth of God.
And a greater part of that gospel was the fact that the source of all calamities among indigenous people was the unwelcome presence of the white man, who had arrogated to himself a role to desecrate local culture, traditions, norms and values.
Indeed she was right.

Today Zimbabwe, like any other African society is lost and continues to stutter in the mist of a spiritual identity crisis.
African spirituality was stolen, and a whole culture disbanded and replaced by an alien one which is devoid of African relevance and connection.
To conquer a people, capture their spirituality.
The statue of Charwe Nyakasikana stands out as a giant step towards the full restoration of African vulture and spiritualism. Indeed she watches over the nation day and night as the nation looks up to her for spiritual guidance.

Today Zimbabwe continues to champion the rights of women and the girl child, inspired by the spirit of Mbuya Nehanda.
Mbuya Nehanda’s heroics continue to inspire generations and nudge governments Africa wide to do more to advance rights and freedoms of the girl child.

Charwe Nyakasikana. Today you stand tall among heroes. Your heroic contribution has been recognised and honoured.
As you rightly predicted when you said, “Mapfupa Angu achamuka”, “My bones shall rise”.
Indeed your bones have risen. Long live the spirit of Nehanda Nyakasikana! Long live Zimbabwe! Long live Africa!