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Rain-making ceremonies still relevant

by Staff reporter
09 Oct 2021 at 02:28hrs | Views
Normal to above-normal rains received in Makonde District and the rest of Zimbabwe last season have raised debate.

Traditionalists, Christians and scientists have divergent views on why the country received heavy rains after successive years of dry-spells.

While scientists, climatologists and meteorologists included, believe it was as a result of climate change, Chief Nemakonde born Wilson Mhende Nemakonde (95), remains adamant that his rain-making ceremony (Mukwerera) performed at a local mountain in the district ushered the rains, which saw Zimbabwe record a bumper harvest in over 20 years.

Chief Nemakonde also believes that decay in culture and moral values including incest, murders and rape were to blame for the poor rainfall patterns experienced across the country for several years.

Mukwerera is a community-based rainfall making ceremony held regularly each year.

The local chief in consultation with local spirit mediums, co-ordinates the ceremony while traditional beer is brewed for the procession.

During Mukwerera, traditional beer is brewed by elderly women who have reached menopause.

Young girls below puberty are allowed to assist in the rain-ceremony preparations.

A spirit medium or an elderly and celibate man will normally lead the ceremonies.

Speaking at his Upper Romes Farm some 28 kilometres west of Mashonaland West capital, Chinhoyi, during the launch of the district's 2021-2022 Pfumvudza Agriculture Scheme's second phase and revival of Zunde raMambo; Chief Nemakonde said there was need for communities to reform according to traditional beliefs and cultures to avoid angering the gods.

"I have always said that we have lost our culture and respect," he said.

"I instructed those of the Shava totem to come here and help revive the Zunde raMambo and plant sorghum for rain making and cleansing ceremonies that will also eradicate diseases.

"When they refused, I talked to a few individuals who then helped with the sorghum that we used last year, hence the heavy rains. I personally and specifically requested God through our own gods for the Noah-like rains and you all saw them!"

Chief Nemakonde castigated the Makonde community for denigrating and belittling him despite possessing the powers that turn around the fortunes and prospects of the district.

"This place called Baradzanwa is sacred as it has the power to stop war, conflicts, eradicate hunger and diseases. This is the place where the Magonde people relocated to after leaving Chirorodziva (Chinhoyi Caves).

"It should be respected and given honours as shown by President Mnangagwa today by supporting the Zunde raMambo initiative," he said.

The Chief's granary apart from storing grain for use when food supplies are either high or low, also stores sorghum used for rain-making ceremonies by spirit mediums under that chief's purview.

"This granary is not for me, but for the community. It is where we will store and get sorghum for rain-making initiations. Every spirit medium in the district will collect sorghum from here for their mini rain-making ceremonies and other cleansing activities."

Chief Nemakonde argued that the Zimbabweans needed to revert to the old ways of living so that the gods are not angered.

Chief Mudzimu born Joseph Mudzimu (82) from Hurungwe district, said a lot of bizarre activities had led to the deterioration and change in rainfall patterns.

Chief Mudzimu, a spirit medium on his own, was awarded by President Mnangagwa for outstanding works during the war.

He became a traditional leader in 1967 and as a spirit medium helped liberation fighters during the Second Chimurenga war in Hurungwe district.

He helped protect the liberation fighters spiritually against the enemy, hence his recognition today.

Said Chief Mudzimu: "Rain making ceremonies are essential in our lives as Zimbabweans. We have conducted them for centuries and due to various bad actions that our people have been undertaking, we also conduct cleansing ceremonies to appease the gods."

Pastor Jacob Mafukidze of Faith Ministries in Chinhoyi, believes the only way to communicate with God was through Jesus Christ.

"Jesus is the way, the truth and the life according to John 14 verse 6," he said.

"So, the only way to the Father is through his Son, Jesus Christ thus, if we want anything from God, we must ask him according to the principles he has set.

"God says ask anything in my name and Jesus name and it shall be given to us. So the best way to ask for rain is by going to God through Jesus Christ."

Pastor Mafukidze called on other Christians and believers to start talking to God now as the rainy season was fast approaching. Science has since the coming in of technology dispelled notions and beliefs from Christians and their traditionalist counterparts.

Source - The Herald