Tsindi Ruins
Tsindi ruins.JPG

Tsindi Ruins (formerly called Lekkerwater Ruins) is a national monument.


Tsindi Ruins was excavated by Sheila Rudd in 1963 – 1966; who recorded her finds in Excavations at Lekkerwater Ruins, Tsindi Hill, Theydon, Zimbabwe on behalf of the historical Monuments Commission and most of the detail of this article is from this source. The archaeological evidence identified three stages of occupation at the site each identified by different building methods and pottery types. They were:

Late Early Iron Age Settlements – these consisted of pole and dhaka huts on dhaka floors linked with early P-type walling. Class P walls are built of untrimmed stone, uncoursed and generally free-standing comprise the outer walls and internal walls numbered 1-33 in the plan of the site below.

Later Iron Age settlements – these had Q-type walls and huts with massive dhaka kerbs. Class Q walls are made of trimmed and coursed stones similar to those buildings of Great Zimbabwe and are numbered 34-35 in the plan of the site.

Late Iron Age religious settlement – the huts have internally decorated dhaka structures. After their destruction in the nineteenth century, the site was abandoned.

The Tsindi Ruins are southeast of Harare not far from Marondera on a prominent granite hill, the ruins being on the southern side of the hill and are about 150 metres above the valley floor of the Nyakambiri River and has good views in all directions. The ruins cover about 2 hectares and the walls are built into the natural rocks on site.

This site was occupied by the Nhowe people for about 250 years under Chiefs who bear the dynastic name of Mangwende and were allocated land by the Rozvi dynasty who were the overlords. In the 1830’s during the Mfecane, the Nguni invasions took place and the Rozvi were defeated. Who caused the violent destruction of Tsindi as a religious centre is not known; thereafter it was used as a refuge and cattle kraal. Local oral history collected after the First Chimurenga (Mashona Uprising) of 1896-7 makes no mention of whether the Tsindi Ruins were inhabited at this time.

Why Visit

From the archaeological excavations and the radio-carbon dates of charcoal remains it appears that the first walls of the settlement were built in the 13th century and were added to in the 15th century. These are of the same type as those found at Great Zimbabwe. During the 17th or 18th century large clay huts were built within the enclosure and it is believed they were used for religious purposes by spirit mediums. One of the many dry-stone monuments, or madzimbahwe found in Zimbabwe. Once this stone enclosure with its thatched huts was the elite residence of a local ruler and the probable site of a traditional religious centre housing a spirit medium. Easy Access from Harare on good tar road with fine views from the summit of the hill.

Zimbabwe Monuments, Galleries And Museums