Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

'Ndebele commanders led Shona soldiers to fight whites in 1896' says Charamba

by Mandla Ndlovu
21 Dec 2019 at 10:28hrs | Views
Ndebele soldiers were in charge of commanding Shona armies to fights the white in Mashonaland during the 1896/97 war of resistance that took place in Zimbabwe.

Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba said the historical tribal mixture of the Matatbele Commanders and the Shona soldiers shows that Zimbabwe is a united state whose unity of tribal goes back to the 19th Century.

Charamba says at one point Chief Mashayamombe dispatched a delegation to Ntabazinduna to seek partnerdhip in fighting the whites at his area.

The result was a coordinated fight of the Chief's soldiers who were led by a Matabele Commander and they attacked the Norton family.

Read the full thread below:

As we commemorate the signing of the December 22, 1987 Unity Accord, I thought it appropriate to excerpt two portions from the 1896/97 First Chimurenga, which clearly show the unity of the Zimbabwean people in confronting a common, external enemy.

Note that both excerpts come from figures of the British South African Company, the BSAC, which became the reigning authority from occupation in 1890 up to about 1923 when a referendum was held whose outcome was white settler self-Government.

Here we go:

"All through that day and night the enemy kept up a hot fire. A Matabele boy who was evidently their leader posted himself behind a rock about 400 yards off and by the way he splintered the rocks in the laager each time he fired was undoubtedly the best shot of the Party.

"He never exposed himself and all that was left for the besieged to fire at was the barrel of his rifle. He evidently had a great idea of his personality as during the evening he was heard to yell in his native tongue - "I am a Matabele, why do you leave me without tobacco?"

This excerpt is from a piece by Hugh Pollett, titled "The Mazoe Patrol", (Rhodesiana, Vol.2). The battle area was Mazowe, the month, June, and the year 1896. The besieged party belonged to BSAC which had been despatched to rescue 14 men and 3 women in a laager in the Mazowe area.

Noteworthy is that a contingent of predominantly Shona fighters in Mashonaland was being commanded by a Ndebele fighter, completely unrestrained by considerations of tribe, language, place or region. In fact, by the time of that battle, fight in Matabeleland had already ebbed!

Rhodesiana No.3 gives us yet another indicative show of transcendental unity among Zimbabweans. One Colonel A.S. Hickman, M.B.E. did a piece titled "Norton District in the Mashona Rebellion." Reminiscing on the attack on the Norton Family by fighters under Chief Mashayamombe of Mhondoro, Hickman wrote: "It seems as if the facts of the attack on the homestead are that a party of about 20 Mashona, led by a Matabele, advanced on the house and attempted to break in, though why they should have waited until after mid-day is a mystery."

The point to stress is the tribal mix in the fighting contingent of locals, and of course to recall that before the resistance, Chief Mashayamombe had despatched a team to Ntabazinduna under the pretext of asking for medicine for use in rain-making. In reality, the team sought to consult and coordinate with their Ndebele compatriots already in the thick of a bloody fight of resistance. The fighting edge which Ndebeles had acquired historically, especially in fighting Boers on their way to Zimbabwe, predisposed then to positions of command during resistance. The Shonas and especially their Kalanga offshoot, themselves guardians of the spirits of the Land, predisposed them to provide spiritual leadership on the strength of which they mobilized and united communities for national resistance. Deep lesson from HISTORY!!!

DID WE KNOW? Did we know that remains of J.N. Norton who was killed on 17th June, 1896, are actually buried beneath a large umbrella tree "in the grounds of what is now the Morton Jaffray Waterworks!"? Each time you run your tap - a rarity these days - know ye all that!

Shipping vehicles from UK to Zimbabwe for less
Source - Byo24News