26 Jul 2014

Moyo Chirandu

Posted by K Chikuse

The nhetembo of the Nhohwe link the people of Mangwende to the Rozvi. Their principal praise name, Muzukuru (sister’s son), proclaims what their relationship to the Rozvi is. On the other hand an earlier link with the Nzou, Samanyanga is hinted at by the praise name which is both in the introduction and conclusion of the nhetembo, viz. Chirandu (Great Beast)

The praises refer in the usual complimentary fashion both to ancestors and ancestral burial sites and to the qualities that differentiate these people from others.

The Nhohwe’s founding father who led them from Chidema in the north was Sakubvunza. The first home of the group who came into these lands (nyika dzino) in the days of Changamire was at the Jeta Hills, near Domboshava in the present Chinamhora Tribal Trust Lands. Sakubvunza, however, coveted the country of Nhohwe under the Rozvi chief Nyamhunga and he invaded it, driving the latter to the country called Maungwe in present-day Rusape. He also coveted the country of Sokoto and would have driven out its occupant, Chikomovi, had not the Rozvi overlord, Mambo, intervened and Chikomovi became tributary to Sakubvunza.

The chiefs who succeeded Sakubvunza in the Mangwende Chieftainship were as follows: Gatsi, Mungati, Monyera, Dembetembe, Gatsi II, Rota, Mhotani, Undungu, Katerere, Mungati and Chibanda. It was during the reign of Gatsi II that the Swazi invaded the realm and destroyed the Rozvi power, expelling the Portuguese traders from their forts and fairs as well. Mhotani lived at Chitopi on the Nyakambiri  River, a site that figures in the nhetembo. The burial place for the chiefs is the hill called Maseyekwa. Only Katerere, who lived as Chief for only a year, was not buried there.

The Nhohwe were given the totem Moyo by their Rozvi uncles, their sisters having married Nhohwe men.  They were also given the chidawo Muzukuru to differentiate them. They were known as vana vehanzvadzi dzavaRozvi (children of the sisters of the Rozvi). Like the Rozvi they abstain from the meat of the heart. Moyo is also the name of the zimbuya guru or mbonga of the Rozvi. The term VaMoyo (Sweetheart) may be used as an endearment by a man to a woman of any clan.


Nhetembo yekwaNhohwe, vokwaMangwende

Maita Moyo
Maita Chirandu
Zvaitwa, Vari Makove
Tatenda, Vari
Maita zvenyu, Vari

Evo, Moyo yangu yiyi
Vari Chitopi
Zvaitwa Moyo

Nanhasi tinongova nemi wani
Dai yaiva mvura, hayaipwa
Yainwiwawo nevari kure.

Maita zvenyu, Moyo
Mugona kuronga nhau
Zano renzombe
Inga tinemi wani.

Vari Chitopi neTsongoro
rangu riri.

Tinotenda Moyo
Aiwa maita, Moyo


The Bokoto Hills are south-east of Mrewa near Mukarakate village
A site so named after the presence of small trees called mitukutu
Refers to the sacred enclosure around a muhacha (cork tree) where the clan’s ancestral spirits are invoked
This refers perhaps to the wrong done to the ancestors of Mangwende when his totem was changed to that of his wife’s male relatives, ndaturikwa, I have been hung up, wronged
The clan claims to have come from far in the north through the Mount Darwin district
This name is based on the name of one of the Mangwende chiefs. Gatsi is a common name in this clan
This is the name of the hill where the Mangwendes are buried. It comes from -seyeka (lean against)
Large bull

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2 Responses to “Moyo Chirandu”

  1. The other chiefs used nicknames like “Kanhata”, “Chiwoko” and Kusasana can anyone assign these nicknames to names of the Nhowe chiefs?


    Gono ReGukwe

  2. I strongly feel Nhowe Chieftainship not Mangwende Chieftainship. The name Mangwende only surfaced around 1859 long after the Nhowe Chieftainship came into existence.


    Moses Mrewa

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