« Older Entries Newer Entries » Subscribe to Latest Posts

19 Feb 2016

The Moyo people

Posted by K Chikuse. 5 Comments

The Rozvi, like many other groups, say that they came from a land called Guruuswa and from a place called Manyanga. Like the Tembo they moved at first to a place north-west of this country. Their traditions tell us that they were accompanied on their travels by a voice which they called Tovela which led them on their way, keeping them safe from dangerous places. The voice could speak from any object it chose and we are told that it spoke through grass or trees or even through a little child, unable as yet to speak for itself. The voice was the voice of a presence whom some say was the first Rozvi ever created, the founding father of the clan. Others say he was the first person ever to be created and that after his death his spirit accompanied the different groups from Guruuswa to the countries they chose.

Tovela not only protected his people on their travels but gave them food as well. When they clapped in homage and supplication to him at a tree, portions of porridge, pots of milk, and combs of honey would come out of the ground. He also gave them medicines to become invisible but not inaudible to their foes and to be long lived. Tovela came to be called by other names by different groups such as Mwari, who is the ancestral spirit of every one of the people, Manyusa (the one who made food emerge from the ground), Muwanikwa and Mutangakugara (the first to exist), Mupawose (the one generous to all), Mbuya (the one as generous and loving as a man’s grandmother), Samasimba (the one with all authority), and Hidzivachepo (the original one, lit. the original pool)

Mwari and Tovela were the names the Rozvi used for their guardian spirit. They also had names for the Creator, for example, Murenga, a name which would be uttered when they sighted an animal they could eat. Tradition says they would exclaim “Komborera, Murenga!” and the animal would fall dead. The people would then use it for relish.
When the Rozvi reached this country they found Munhumutapa ruling it. They attacked him and drove him away. This was the first fight in which they had ever engaged. After Munhumutapa’s flight, they subdued all the chiefs who had been subject to him. They are said first to have gone north, to Pfura, then east, to Nyanga, then south to Manyika and Bikita, and finally west, to Mberengwa. Tradition explains that the name Rozvi was given to them because they disturbed the lives of everyone, man and beast alike.

All this is said to have happened under the rule of the first chief whom they remember , called Changamire. He had thirty wives, many of whom were daughters of the people he subdued in this country, and many children. His eldest son was called Rowanika, though there are variant forms of his name, such asĀ Marowanyika and Mawananyika. On his father’s death, there was so much insensate rivalry for the succession that he was alarmed and fled to the north, to a place on the Zambezi called Chinanga. His disappearance brought some of his brothers to their senses and they followed him to try and persuade him to be the new king. However, they never found him as he had crossed the Zambezi.

The man chosen to succeed Changamire, therefore, was the son next in seniority, called Nechasike. Of him nothing is related save that he begat many children. After his death the throne was inherited by Tombo whose full name in Rozvi was Tombo-laikona-chimwango-chimuroyi-chaMavengeni (The rock unharmed by the worthless hoe, the witchcraft of the one who hates me) The name was a boast that all the chiefs of the land had been subdued and not one remained bold enough to challenge the conquerors.

Nechadzike, alias Nechapingura, succeeded Tombo. He is remembered for his attempts to tame elephants and use them to work, a plan which did not succeed. The next king was Bhasvi, alias Rupanda-manhanga-hupenga (Desire for pumpkins is madness) He is remembered as having been an evil and cruel man as the following story will illustrate.

He sowed millet in his royal field and had his people to weed and reap it. when the grain was reaped he gathered it together on a threshing floor of rock but never had it threshed. This he did for three years, allowing the grain to accumulate from year to year. They were years of plenty for both chief and people. They thought that Bhasvi was leaving the millet, reaped from the royal field, as a charm to ensure plentiful crops. But after the harvest in the third year he set the grain on fire.

Such wanton behavior the people could not understand. But three years of famine followed Bhasvi’s deed. The people were angry with what he had done and wanted to kill him.

Bhasvi however, died of his own ailments and was succeeded by Mutinhima, alias Gumbo-levhula. He is said to have lived at Dzimbahwe. After his death Lembeu succeeded. His full praise name was Lembeu-Kurima-kwakona Mutengieni-wazvozvovenga (Eat your seeds. Ploughing is impossible. The sour plum tree has come crashing down) He was a good farmer but did not achieve the fame of Bhasvi.



Chirisamhuru came next but by this time the power of the Rozvi had been weakened. The reason for this is that their guardian spirit who used to speak to them, namely, Tovela or Mwari, had withdrawn his voice and presence from the people, angry at the way people and stock had been harassed.

After Chirisamhuru the traditions become confused. Some say his successors were Chiduku, Bhasvi the second, Mbavha alias Rozani, Mambo, and Jiri. Chiduku was the first of that name who lived when the Rozvi still drank cow’s urine and water still seeped out of the rock at Dzimbahwe. The Chiduku of today is descended from him. Further, the Jiri mentioned was also the first of that name.

Others say that Mambo succeeded Chirisamhuru and that after Mambo there succeeded Chiduku, Jiri, and Mbavha alias Rozani, in that order.

In the days of Mambo’s reign there was a person called Nyavanhu who had greater renown than Mambo himself. Mambo’s people persuaded him to send a force against Nyavanhu, playing on his fears that he might be forced to become subject to his new rival. Nyavanhu was attacked and his cattle and possessions taken and joined to those of Mambo so that his cattle pens and barns were overflowing. Now among the raiding partiy there was a certain man called Tumbale. Tumbale was not a Rozvi by lineage but was related to the Rozvi through his mother. On his father’s side he was a Mbire. He lived at Mambo’s court because he was his favorite nephew and also because he was the chief’s great diviner. He had become the leader of the Rozvi in this respect now that Mwari had left them.

Tags: ,

Subscribe to Comments

5 Responses to “The Moyo people”

  1. May I know the lineage of Jiri who is mentioned as one of the sons and heirs to Chirasamhuru


    Tinotenda Gwenzi

  2. so chiduku came from munhumutapa by inheritance



  3. i just want to know if Chirisamhuru had a son called Mabhanga if so you can assist me with more information concerning Mabhanga.


    Zisadza Ruth K

  4. why was mbava called mbava and why did he changed to lozane



  5. tell us mooo about the Moyo Sinyoroo



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.