Mbuya Nehanda Is A Zimbabwean Heroine - Opinion2 years ago
The erection of the Mbuya Nehanda statue in Harare had created a lot of debate in Zimbabwe. Some people are of the view that the gesture was long overdue while some are of the view that the money used to erect the statue must have been used for some more pressing important issues.
The first question which the author would like to address is whether it was necessary to erect the statue of Mbuya Nehanda in Harare or not.
It is the view of the author that if Mbuya Nehanda did participate in the first Chimurenga then she deserves to be given an honour just like the honour given to Father Zimbabwe Dr Joshua Nkomo.
When the statue of Dr Nkomo was erected in Bulawayo we never had a debate on whether it was worthwhile or not to erect it or not. Actually, the debate centred on its size.
The original one was shorter and we were told his family requested a much bigger statue and the demands were complied with and today Dr Joshua Nkomo statue stands magnificent in the streets of Bulawayo.
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If Zimbabweans accepted Dr Nkomo’s statue then what’s so funny about Nehanda’s statue?
My Facebook friend Yuda called Nehanda a ‘hure’ (prostitute) and one wonders where he got the evidence that Nehanda was a “hure”.
I think Zimbabweans, despite our religious and political differences, must preserve our morals and maintain our Unhu/Ubuntu.
Nehanda, I am told , was of the toetem Mhofu/Shava clan. She has relatives living today. She has families who can identify themselves with her today.
There is someone who calls Tete to Nehanda and she is a mbuya (great-grandmother) to some today and I don’t think they will be happy to hear someone they adore so much being called silly names.
I was much disturbed when I read an article written by Takavafira Zhou in which he argued that Nehanda was not a national hero.
Before we analyse Takavafira Zhou’s article, we must first understand who Takavafira Zhou is. I know Takavafira Zhou as the spokesperson of the MDC Alliance Midlands Province.
Although he clearly pointed out that his article is a correct historical narrative, the author thinks otherwise. The article by Takavafira Zhou is a politically biased article.
It’s an article written in order to please Takavafira Zhou’s master Nelson Chamisa the President of the MDC Alliance who on Twitter and Facebook implied that he was against the idea of erecting Nehanda’s statue in Harare simply because he is a Christian and likened Nehanda’s statue to an idol.
The author of this article is a Christian too. He doesn’t believe in idol worship but it is his view that a statue and an idol are two different things.
An idol is a graven image worshipped in place of the creator God while a statue is a graven image erected for historical purposes.
I view Nehanda’s statue as serving historical purposes. It reminds and will speak to generations to come that Zimbabwe was once colonized by the British but courageous woman like Nehanda fought the colonizers and were killed for their patriotism. She was killed for resisting white colonial rule. Yes, she was a hero.
Takavafira Zhou argues (as a historian) that Nehanda was not a Natioñal Hero. The author doesn’t care whether Nehanda was a Mazoe hero or a National Hero but Nehanda was and is a hero. Nobody will remove the hero’s status from Nehanda Nyakasikana whom some call Charwe.
Takavafira Zhou’s role as a historian is to tell us what he discovered, through his scientific research, what happened in the past but he cannot recreate events for his books.
Events cannot be reconstructed. The fact is that Nehanda fought with the whites. Whether the war was centrally coordinated or not that doesn’t matter.
What matters is that blacks resisted white oppression and they fought using their primitive weapons and Nehanda was one of the participants and she was killed for that and therefore she is a hero. Sane Zimbabweans today respects her for her bravery.
I read on WhatsApp groups people saying ‘but they removed shoes worshipping the statue on the day they unveiled the Nehanda Statue and therefore it’s an idol which they had erected in Harare.’
Well is it true that we are now all Christians in Zimbabwe? If that is the case why didn’t we pull down David Livingstone’s statue in Victoria Falls, why didn’t we pull down Dr Joshua Nkomo statue in Bulawayo?
There are a lot of statues dotted throughout Zimbabwe why are we silent about them. Nehanda’s statue isn’t the first statue in Zimbabwe. Let’s avoid double standards.
Let those who want to worship that statue do so but to us Christians, the statue will remain as a memorial sign, a historical monument, a reminder of a black courageous woman and a heroine.
We need to unite as Zimbabweans , we don’t need just to oppose everything for the sake of making news. We are Zimbabweans first before we are members of different political parties.
Let’s be patriotic and uphold what makes us a nation. To my learned historian Takavafira Zhou , Nehanda was a heroine just as Makoni and others who fought the invaders united or not.
Etiwel Mutero is a qualified archivist. He served as a Senior Archivist or Regional Archivist from 2016 to 2020 in Namibia. Whatsapp +263773614293