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Lozwi/Rozvi Mambo unveiled in the midst of pomp and ceremony at Mawabeni

29 Sep 2019 at 12:27hrs | Views
SPIRITUALITY was a strong component of the whole process from the selection of the rightful candidate who was earmarked for installation. This became clear from the testimony of Gogo MaMoyo the resident spirit medium at Manyanga (Intaba zikaMambo). The whole function translated to a coming together of the various components. The spirit world had several revelations to share, especially Gogo MaMoyo with her revelations that she directed at the leading spirit medium of Gwagwava. The identification process, according to Gogo MaMoyo, was protracted and attended to by strange incidents. She narrated how the chosen candidate was licked liberally by some several old grey haired grannies. In fact, she had expressed concern over the overzealous ladies who were going to lick him into oblivion.

We had been waiting long for the commencement of the day's activities. Meanwhile, Mambo-designate Mike Moyo was holed up in a room together with the Queen. Now and then their young children emerged clad in Ndebele traditional attire. Lunch was yet to be served and some were beginning to complain as their empty stomachs were beginning to grumble and rumble. Then all of a sudden, there were strange and unique approaching sounds. It was like some lightly falling rain that was advancing towards the room where I was with a few other people. The sounds that were spiritually animated came from the party of the spirit mediums and their entourage.

Moving ahead of them was Sekuru Gwangwava Musarurwa donned in pitch black attire. A lady attended to him. He walked with a pronounced stoop towards where he was to sit. A cushion covered with sky blue material was arranged upon which he sat together with the lady attending to him. More women followed. Among them was Gogo MaMoyo from Manyanga. In her company was a young lady with a very young girl said to be her daughter. I had learnt earlier the story about this girl who used to be a pupil in one of Zimbabwe's premier schools. It seems there were disciplinary issues culminating in her expulsion from the school. She went to South Africa and, given her spiritual endowment, participated in the identification of the Mambo candidate. Meanwhile, the school she used to attend mysteriously caught fire. Matters of spirit are sometimes confounding and incomprehensible to the uninitiated.

Sharp whistling ululations attended the entourage. There were three pulses of ululations followed by three successive pulses of soft clapping of hands. The atmosphere created by the rhythmic pulsations was mind boggling. Finally, the party sat on the floor though there were sofas available. I remained firmly glued to my seat while doing more listening and writing than observing. Ululations and clapping over and done with, it was time for the individuals in the entourage to share greetings. The working language and culture in the room were Shona. Gogo MaMoyo and her assistants from Manyanga located in Matabeleland were conversant with the Shona language. She was able to narrate her experiences within the spiritual world, in particular the revelations she has had. In one of them she had seen Sekuru Gwangwava and when they met for the first time she immediately recognised him. She had many of her revelations interpreted by Sekuru Gwangwava including one involving makonye (grubs) that had afflicted a roof. The biggest of those makonye fell to the ground.

The little girl in black, like the other members of the party now seated on the floor, was advised on how to use tobacco snuff to attain maximum communication with her ancestral spirits. Then it was time to listen to the oracle - which was Sekuru Gwangwava. He was most of the time pouring snuff from a small double-bellied gourd box. He narrated the story of the commencement of the liberation struggle, how a beast had been identified and sacrificed in Chitungwiza during the days of the National Democratic Party (NDP); how the medium of Mbuya Nehanda had been taken to Mozambique. The liberation struggle had a strong spiritual dimension. He talked about the ensuing competition between them, I suppose as VaRozvi and Mutota's group. He did not elaborate who Mutota was but having read Aeneas Chigwedere's books, I was a fairly sure what was being referred to. He made reference to the silenced voices, not on account of the arrival of white conquerors. The voices spoke into the colonial period.

Ritual places were being defiled as there were no chiefs to safeguard them. Apparently, this was pointed out by Solufa Ncube the shrine keeper at Njelele when I went there in the company of an official from a Government ministry. The man, from the Ministry of Tourism was told about these ritual places, Mabweadziva to be precise which are enclosed within the Matobo National Park. Ncube lamented that they could not go in to perform rain-making rituals. He also made reference to ritual items that had been removed from ritual places, in Matabeleland in particular. He regretted that the general impression created was that they, the VaRozvi, were responsible for the desecrating looting of ritual items. As pointed out in the last instalment, the VaRozvi's senior houses had relocated further east ahead of the advance of the Nguni. The most junior and related houses remained and it was these that were destroyed. Several people were killed but they had maintained their peace and it surprises them to hear about Gukurahundi noises and ideas of secession.

That done, it was time to introduce the Mambo-designate to the spiritual entourage. Mike emerged from the room in which he was holed up for the better part of the morning. There were more ululations as his hand was shaken and promised he would get their support and blessings. Seeing it was already after one o'clock Chief Musarurwa and Chief Malisa left the room to attend to the people outside who had been entertaining the crowds with music and dance. Now and then modern music blared from the big speakers. The formal programme was about to start. The Mambo was about to be unveiled. Once the attention of the huge crowd had been drawn, the organising chiefs, namely Musarurwa and Malisa came to fetch the Mambo who this time was dressed differently - as Ndebele royalty save for the head gear with a chevron pattern, a staff with a circular brass metallic head and a replica of a spear at the other end.

I had observed that the figure three constituted some recurring theme. The covered seats, once unveiled, revealed three knobbed structures. Sekuru Gwangwava's staff also had three knobbed structures. Besides, he had made reference to the three houses of the VaRozvi. In his oracular rendition he had referred to them coming from Persia. He referred too to the Mountain of Sinai. Spiritual renditions of history I presume, some epistemology that is taken as laughing stock in western research methodologies.

Once both the Queen and King were seated in front of the crowds, it was time to introduce them to the crowd amid ululations and wild clapping. Speeches were made by the organising chiefs, three representative senator chiefs and Sekuru Gwangwava was also given the opportunity to address the audience. Local Member of Parliament Levi Mayihlome also addressed the crowd. By this time we were reeling under a biting cold. Mambo Mike Moyo was asked to stand up and address the crowd. After his speech he installed Nyathi okaSihlahla as his assistant, a role, we were informed, that the Nyathis had played during the heyday of the Rozvi/Lozwi State. The final slot to propose a vote of thanks was given to the local Chief Gwebu.

The festivities were over and the people started dispersing. It remains to be seen what will emerge after this groundbreaking unveiling and whether the constitutional provisions will give a nod to the Lozwi/Rozvi monarchy. The installation was held on 7 September.

Source - sundyanews
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