More Nambya textbooks in process

After the publication of primary school textbooks written in Nambya in 2010, and their successful implementation, work is now underway for a secondary school series.

Then Nambya Cultural Association has an active group of teachers and editors who have already done books for Form 1 and 2 and hope to have those for Forms 3 and 4 completed in another year.

An urgent factor pushing forward the development of the new series is that Nambya will soon be examinable at the O and A levels, as the Ministry of Education announced in November 2014.

This process is also an opportunity to review some fine points in the recommended orthography of the language.  Accordingly, the language committee met with a linguist from the University of Zimbabwe on 14 April, 2015 and suggested some small revisions from the orthography used in the recent 2nd edition of the Nambya Dictionary.

At that meeting, Dr. Jorge Rocha, a genetic historian from Portugal, described some of the research he has been doing on genetic connections between groups in Southern Africa and invited the Nambya community to participate.

Locals chip in to complete Nambya museum

by Vincent Gono in Hwange — Magazine Editor,  Sunday News

THE celebration of tribal and lingual diversity in the country can only be achieved through recognition of languages and preservation of cultural artefacts that tell the history of origin to avoid extinction of the so-called minority cultures and languages through academic association and general belittling.A people’s language carries their history, their identity and their culture and should be protected from vandalism by cultural imperialists.

Guided by that axiom, the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) is looking for resources to fund the completion of the Nambya Museum in Hwange.

An initial figure of $53 000 was proposed for the first phase of the project that entails refurbishment of the museum, research and documentation to produce an exhibition storyline as well as exhibition design and mounting.

The structure, which stands as a museum today, was donated to the Nambyan community by Hwange Colliery Company in 2006 in the form of a dilapidated sports pavilion and has for a good number of years remained in that state due to lack of funds to put it into shape as well as capacitate it to be among other museums of its nature in the country.

The lack of financial resources has seen the locals under the banner of friends of the museum chipping in and assisting the efforts of NMMZ. They recently bought and fixed all the 182 window panes at a total cost of $400.

The director of NMMZ, Dr Godfrey Mahachi, said his department was working flat out to ensure the mobilisation of the requisite financial resources so that the museum could be completed.

He said the idea to capacitate community museums so that they serve their communities fully in the preservation of their cultural heritage and identity was mooted under the Community Museums Development Programme embraced in the year 2000 by his department which falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The programme, however, hit a snag in the years preceding dollarisation as the department was faced by a myriad of challenges that included but were not limited to the exodus of qualified and experienced staff to greener pastures across the country’s borders.

The problems, he said, were further perpetuated by the acute shortage of funds that characterised the inclusive Government era that saw the country’s museums department being poorly funded and operating with a skeletal staff while other museums were forced to close down operations.

“I am well aware of the situation in our museums. Something definitely needs to be done to restore them to their past glory. Some of the structures need to be worked on like the Nambya Museum in Hwange that is still not complete. Let it be clear and understood that we are not neglecting the museum. We are worried by the number of years it has taken us to complete it but we are mobilising resources so that we finish the work and make it fully functional.

“You would appreciate that like most of the institutions in the country before and after dollarisation, our capacity was heavily constrained by lack of resources. The department was no exception in the exodus of staff as we lost quite a number of our qualified and experienced staff to better paying countries,” he said.

Dr Mahachi said full capacitating of the country’s museums was a major component of the tourism sector as community museums were the best place to visit if one is interested in knowing the community’s culture.

“If the museums are fully capacitated to do more, then the tourism sector becomes robust and a little easier to promote to both local and foreign visitors,” he said.

He noted that the BaTonga Museum in Binga was one of the few community museums in the country fully functional and where the cultural story of the Tonga people could be told.

He said although the department had enough capacity in terms of research it were the material and financial resources that were lacking to make their work complete, adding that they were courting the private sector to help them develop and capacitate the community museums and promote community tourism in the long run.

“For too long, Zimbabwe’s cultural diversity has been misrepresented. To see the country as only constituted by the Shona and Ndebele ethnic groups is a gross reduction of its cultural richness and at the same time a regrettable denial of space to other small but equally important hitherto marginalised ethnic communities.

“The community museum concept is the new tool to open democratic space for equal cultural opportunities, recognition, appreciation and participation. All cultures are equal and have a role to play for the development of humanity and need to be treated as such.

It is only through supporting such initiatives that the full potential of humanity can be achieved. In the past, many minority cultures have grossly lost their identities or even faced extinction either because of suppression, exclusion or because of non-recognition. In essence, what has happened is that humanity lost its richness irretrievably,” said Dr Mahachi.

He added that it was his desire to see the erection of various community museums and other places of historical significance in all parts of the country so that the untold history associated with most communities could be told.

Nambya Community Museum advisory board chairperson Hebert Sansole said after glazing the entire facility they were now looking at getting all the doors as well as courting the private sector to paint it.

“We are looking at getting the plan from the NMMZ of how they want the entire building to look like. We have little in terms of artefacts but we hope the Museums Department will deploy researchers to get more from the Nambya ruins such as Bumbusi, Shangano and Nala.

“We also want to commend our traditional leaders for appreciating and pushing for the completion of the museum,” he said.

The museum’s heritage education officer, Christopher Tshuma, said the community was very eager to see the museum complete.

He said the importance of a people’s language could never be over-emphasised adding that the importance of Nambya as a language was first noted in 1960 by the Roman Catholic Church that used to conduct mass in SiNdebele and Nyanja but realised that the numbers were gradually dwindling.

After consultations they learnt that they were not using the language of the area and when they changed to Nambya the numbers started increasing.

This, he said, gave the impetus and the commitment to Father Augustine Moreno with the help of locals to pen a Nambya dictionary as well as other books.

Calls for refurbishment of Nambya Community Museum intensify

by Fairness Moyana, for the Sunday News

CALLS to complete the refurbishment of the Nambya Community Museum in Hwange which has been lying in ruins for seven years have intensified with  the community calling on Government through its heritage arm, National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe to speed up the process.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting to map the way forward at the museum last week, Nambya Cultural Association chairperson Mr Gabriel Ncube said the meeting was meant to come up with a resolution on the refurbishment of the museum building which was donated by Hwange Colliery Company at the time of its establishment in 2006.

“We gathered here for a common cause, that of seeing the completion of the refurbishment of our museum so it can be accessible to the public after realising that there was little activity since its establishment in 2006.

“I’m glad to say this was a serious meeting which brought all concerns or problems being faced by our people in their day to day lives, be it employment, business opportunities or education and we came up with recommendations,” he said.

He said the meeting had resolved to contribute towards the refurbishment of the museum by embarking on fundraising projects instead of waiting for donors.

The museum’s establishment was nearly stopped when the Tonga and Nambya people clashed over the name of the heritage site with the former insisting that it be named Hwange museum while the latter settled for Nambya Community.

The Nambya people were basing their argument on the fact that the Tonga people already had a museum exclusively for them in Binga called the Tonga Community Museum.

The fissures led to the withdrawal of a potential donor from the project dealing a heavy blow to the refurbishment of the museum which was subsequently named the Nambya Community Museum.

Mr Ncube bemoaned the resistance by some schools in the district in teaching the Nambya language which he said was not for economic gain but important in preserving the language and uniting the community.

“As an association representing the Nambya people we are disappointed to learn that there are still some schools that are not teaching the language as per Government policy as evidenced by the number of schools that sat for the exam. This year I’m told that 22 schools out of 93 in the district sat for the exam and we are saying that though the pass rate was impressive stakeholders can do more in making sure that it is taught in all schools,” said Ncube.

Another resident, Mr Lawrence  Ndlovu said it was high time Government prioritised the finalisation of the museum as the development was long overdue thereby affecting the cultural heritage of the Nambya people.

“Government should speed up the completion of the museum which is now long overdue. This place is important to the Nambya people, the community of Hwange and nation in general in terms of preserving our cultural heritage for future generations,” he said.


Installation of traditional custodian of Shangano

A ceremony to install the traditional custodian of the Shangano ruins will be held on August 31, to which the Nambya Cultural Association (NCA) and the Nambiya Development Organisation Trust (NDOT) invites the public.

NCA Chairman Gabriel Ncube says this is an opportunity to know more about the Nambya customs and tradition.

Shangano is one of three major monuments in the Hwange area that characterize the Nambya dynasty, in addition to the Bumbusi ruins and the Matowa ruins. The walls of Shangano ruins are built of a vast quantity of small sandstone rocks laid on top of each other to a height of of about 4 to 5 feet. Today much of the wall enclosure has  collapsed due to unprotection from the weather and wild animals.

According to tradition, one of the sons of the Rozvi Chingamire fled north and founded the site in the 18th century, on  top of a strategic hill named Shangano deriving from the Nambya word meaning to meet. He and his followers built a stone walled enclosure which became the first capital city of the baNambya people.  The baNambya people moved from Shangano city to Bumbusi area in the upper Deka valley during the rerign of the fifth Whange, Shana (1834 to 1860).

The Shangano ruins are located about 20 kilometers from Hwange, off Sinamatella Road.

A full-day program has been planned:

08:00-09:00 Arrival of guests/ participants
09:00 Installation of traditional custodian Chilanga clan
11:45 Presentations of gifts to the Custodian of the shrines All
12:00 Traditional foods display Cooks
12:00 Lunch- traditional food buffet All
13:00 National Anthem in Nambya Chilanga primary
13:05 Welcome  remarks
13:15 Introductions
13:20 Poetry- Kutambula baShe Chilanga primary
13:30 Speech DA
13:45 Speech- History of Nambya people of Hwange and the traditional functions of Chiefs on culture Chief
14:00 Traditional Dance music Mafuko Culture Group
14:15 Speech- Role of association in culture preservation Chairman Nambya Cultural Assoc.
14:20 Dramatization Installation of Chief St Marys Primary
Speech NMMZ
14:30 Key Note Speech- Importance of culture Preservation Chief Juctice Kamocha
15:00 Mhande dance St Marys Primary
15:15 Nsumbule dance  Diki Traditional group
15:30 Solidarity speeches from wellwishers All
15:45 Networking All
16:00 Closure and departure



Zimbabwe: Cry Our Beloved Nambya Museum

By Rutendo Mapfumo.

The shattered windows stuffed with rotten cardboard boxes and Red Seal maize-meal plastic covers protect the precious Nambya historical artefacts in the Nambya Community Museum in Hwange.

The ramshackle building’s doors are missing, leaving the rooms yawning to even uninvited guests – the troops of monkeys and baboons – that invade the property as they scatter, gather, chat and quarrel in their instinctive quest to survive.

On many occasions, naughty young lovers sneak out of their homes and use the museum as a love nest. The roof is the only permanent structure still firmly attached to the building although it is slowly falling apart as the heavy downpour is becoming a menace.

It is in this place where one gets to know more about the baNambya people and their history. This is where one is truly drawn back to what they call Kusha Kunene the home of the baNambya, albeit through the broken artefacts.

One can be forgiven for thinking that the history of the baNambya has effectively become as broken as the historical artefacts the eye can see.

Young people, schoolchildren and traditional elders come to visit this place just to feel the Nambya Community Museum as it is a place that truly reflects where the baNambya came from.

Despite the shattered glasses and open doors the museum is a place which tells a true unique story. The museum began operations in 2008 with the motive of educating members of the public on the roots and history of the baNambya.

“This museum is for the community of Hwange. It is to educate and conscientise the community on the baNambya as well as the African history,” says Mr Herbert Siansole, the chairman of Nambya Community Museum.

“This place is where the Nambya history is showcased, the knowledge on how baNambya migrated from the Rozvi State to the current Hwange area. One also learns the traditional beliefs and norms of the baNambya,” he said.

Maps of the Nambya movements to all three ruins – Shangano, Bumbusi and Nyala – are showcased in the place. A collection of traditional utensils like baskets, clay pots, water jugs, cooking sticks, traditional weapons like spears, axes, hoes, knobkerries as well as traditional musical instruments are also on exhibition.

The museum has literature on the baNambya culture and history. Mr Siansole said the museum also seeks to promote cultural and community tourism in tourism in Zimbabwe.

“Since the Hwange community is a multi-cultural society with cultural diversity, the role of the museum is to promote cultural tourism, everyone has to know our cultural values and norms,” the chairman said.

Although the museum is under the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe there is a lot which needs to be done to upgrade the facility.

Mr Siansole said the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe has helped the museum with roofing the structure and has promised to fund them in some areas which need their immediate attention.

Although little has been done to upgrade the building, elders in the Hwange community believe such structures should be kept and be upgraded as it is also another way of recognising and promoting the indigenous cultures which are slowly facing extinction.

“A lot needs to be done to protect this museum because it holds our lost pride as baNambya, it draws us back where we come from. As elders we ought to do everything to safeguard our monuments for the benefit of future generations,” says Mrs Oliwe Dube, one of the elders from the community.

A number of activities are being done by various organisations to promote the indigenous languages and cultures, the baTonga and the baNambya set up a Nambya-Tonga committee with people from both Nambya and Tonga tribe.

The committee holds workshops which promote their culture and preserve their tradition while non-governmental organisations such as the Silveria House also carry out developmental workshops that promote the culture and encourage the Nambya and Tonga to reclaim their tradition and heritage as well.

The Nambya Community Museum is housed in what used to be the Hwange Colliery Sports Pavilion. It has transformed to be a symbol of the pride and joy of the Nambya community. It is in this place where one can get the feel of the Nambya language and culture.

Rutendo Mapfumo is a journalist based in Hwange. This article is reprinted from the Herald 24 January 2013 (H

Nambya writers gathered for workshop

Anticlockwise: L.Ncube DEO, Hwange;T.Nkomo (obscured);Christopher; Munyandi (obscured);Fidas (in specs); Virginia; Egnes; Adrian; Chinyati; Sharon ;Joyce; Bridget; Aaron;Grattel; Takoniwa; Headman Nengasha

L.Ncube DEO (on right) takes part in the recent Nambya Writers workshop.

The Nambya Cultural Association (NCA) / Development Organisation Trust (NDOT) conducted a training workshop for secondary school teachers in the Hwange district 28- 29 January 2013. The organisation raised its own resources that enabled it to plan and implement the training workshop at the Hwange Government Secondary School. Writers in Nambya were trained on how to produce ZJC secondary school manuscripts, poetry and literature books in preparation for the introduction of the language in the secondary school curriculum.

  • Objectives

To promote the reading and writing of Nambya in secondary schools by the end of December 2013

To equip writers in Nambya with writing skills that will enable them to produce and edit manuscripts for junior certificate.

  • Planned Activities for the Month: Training workshop on production and editing of manuscripts for the Zimbabwe Junior certificate in Nambya language
  • Progress on the planned activities:  Training workshop for writers in Nambya
Group tasks- Clockwise- Fidas; Virginia, Aaron, Christopher, Munyandi (obscured); Sharon and Clotilda Facilitaor (standing)

Group tasks- Clockwise- Fidas; Virginia, Aaron, Christopher, Munyandi (obscured); Sharon and Clotilda Facilitaor (standing)

A total of 21 writers (11 females and 10 males) in Nambya were equipped with skills in writing and editing junior secondary manuscripts. The training was graced with the  attendance of  the headman and the district education officer. An official from the Ministtry of Education, CDU facilitated the training

During the training writers were exposed to various types of manuscripts.

Topics discussed were: Text book writing  and layout; Poetry writing skills and themes; Novel writing skills; Presentation of plots and themes; Language usage and Language structure ; proverbs.

The participants identified sources of stories for passages that will be used in a pupil’s text book. A writer can derive his or her story by writing about issues such as natural disaster and lightning, stories of wild life and the environment, recipes and processes of preparation of traditional foods, biographies of prominent characters, road carnages, any forms of abuse, gender issues and human rights focusing on the disadvantaged, myths and lengends, historical events and other topical issues. Passages can be in the form of a simple story, dialogue, poem, folktale, processes, reports or a letter. Group tasks were used to involve writers in practical exercises. At the end of each group presentation, an opportunity to critique the presentations was conducted.

Clockwise ( Lackson; Mrs Dube, chairing; Headman Nengasha; Takoniwa;Gratel;Aaron;Bridget; Joyce & Sharon

Clockwise ( Lackson; Mrs Dube, chairing; Headman Nengasha; Takoniwa;Gratel;Aaron;Bridget; Joyce & Sharon

A way forward was made whereupon writers formed two  groups that would be responsible for producing form one and form two manuscripts. These should be ready by end of February 2013.

  • Networking

The organization networked with the ministry of education, the ZRP, president’s office, Ministry of Labour and Social Services, Ministry of Youth and Employment Creation, and  District Administrator

  • Challenges

The organisation had limited financial resources as these were mobilized from its own coffers. The workshop could have been held for four days, but due to costs incurred it had to be done in two days.

  • Lessons Learnt.
Egnes (standing) reporting back for her group

Egnes (standing) reporting back for her group

The engagement of the CDU official ensured that writers were equipped with relevant skills for producing school text books. It therefore means that as writers go on to writing, they will be following the ministry’s guidelines. Thus when it comes to book editing and evaluation, minor instead of major shortfalls are likely to be found. The involvement of the district education office enabled the organisation to be informed of the government statutory instruments on the teaching and writing of indigenous languages in our country.

  • Planned Activities for the coming month
      1. Training workshops for clusters, on teaching methodologies for Nambya subject
      2. Outreaches in schools on cultural clubs.

REPORT by  Vincent Nyoni

Workshop for writers in Nambya

The Nambya Cultural Association/Nambya Development Org Trust will be conducting a training workshop at Hwange Secondary School on 28-29 Jan 2013.  The workshop will be facilitated by the Ministry of Education CDU.

Objective: To capacitate writers in Nambya with skills in writing scripts for ZJC, ‘O’ and ‘A’level school text books.
The organisation mobilised its own resources in order to capacitate writers.


Makwa’s Forgotten Rainmaking Shrine

by Rutendo Mapfumo

— THE sky is yawningly cloudless and the atmosphere is stuffy. The temperatures are soaring at around 45 degrees Celsius. There is no other sound except the cicadas. At nightfall, lions roar and rumble endlessly within the village but attack neither villagers nor their livestock. Something is about to happen. Nambyan tribesmen in this community northeast of Hwange watch impatiently.

Since the past week or so, rain birds have been extraordinarily busy, securing the new twigs and grass to build new nests.
The birds must have head insight into the old adage that the cleverest of all birds, builds its nest before the onset of the rainy season. Villagers keep their ears to the ground and eyes on the tree of life, a huge leafless baobab tree on a rock promontory.
Suddenly, a huge baobab tree violently shakes the ground around it, as if it wants to uproot itself. Village elders rush to the nearby sacred shrine, remove their shoes, open their tobacco pouches and smear snuff on the ground.

The young and the generality of women are not allowed into the shrine. Only elderly women way into their mendicancy are allowed.
Clapping hands and systematically snuffing their experienced nostrils, the villagers speak to the ancestors in low-toned voices for what is about to happen in a few days. An array of sacred and complex rituals follows, with strict adherence to rules set by long gone ancestors.

A few days later, the mystery unfolds. Lightning stabs the air, immediately followed by the thunderous shaking of the earth’s innards. Women ululate noisily and men clap their hands in appreciation. Panicky herdboys drive the cattle home in a huff, systematically cracking whips and whistling sonorously. The hoofs pound the ground, raising dust as the rains start a steady spatter of heavy raindrops. The smell of the rain is overwhelming. Rain birds circle in mid-air acrobatically flying round, round and round, as if thanking the ancestors for their worthy benevolence. Half-naked children sing, run and play in the cloudy atmosphere celebrating the coming of the rainy season. The freshness and the new lease of life, is charming for the kids.

Welcome to Makwa, the sacred shrine where Nambya rainmaking spirits dwell!
Exceptionally high temperatures, thick thorny bushes where wildlife and domestic animals gallivant in one area, make this place on of its own. On the northern verges of this vast swathe of land the Zambezi River passes from the mighty Victoria Falls heading towards Binga and Kariba.

This is the place where there is a baobab tree, which vibrates when the villagers communicate with ancestors, asking for rain.
Rainmaking ceremonies were one of the activities or rituals respected by the Nambya community but with the advent of new churches, new doctrines and new beliefs, the traditional rituals are slowly fading away. The sacred shrine still stands. So is the Mbuuyu wamande, the baobab tree. Although Makwa communal lands fall under geographical region five where there is low rainfall, the area used to have above average rainfall.

Sekulu Fulukani Shoko, the 83-year-old village head who has seen it all in Makwa, said the little or no rainfall which is now the major characteristic of Makwa is mainly caused by the lack of dignity and respect for ancestral spirits. “The vibration of the baobab tree communicates something to us,’’ says Sekulu Shoko. It is said the tree was used to be a communication centre between the communities and the ancestors. “A spirit medium and chiefs would go to Zambezi River to collect water with calabashes to use in appeasing the ancestors,’’ he narrated.

He said when communicating with ancestors, a big snake emerges from the nearby caves and climbs up the baobab tree, a spirit medium would then snuff it while asking for rains. “After talking to the ancestors who were represented by the snake, we would move away from the place and no one was allowed to look back to the tree or the snake. “A few days later clouds would gather up the sky and a heavy downpour would cool down Makwa community,’’ he said. Sekulu said the snake is still exists around the Mbuuyu Wamande but no one is able to call the snake back like how it used to be done.

Another elder Kenneth Sibanda said there is an island on the Zambezi where drumbeats were heard and lions roared but attacked nothing. ‘’The beating of drums and roaring of lions were a sign of good rains,‘’ he said. He said the cross-rhythm sound of the beating drums came from the Chakakona Banyayi Island. The Nambya chiefs and spirit medium had appropriated the islands on the Zambezi River as shrines for the spirits. Sibanda, the self-proclaimed traditional custodian of the site, said the island had traditionally been used for rain-making ceremonies.

The ceremony was performed every year in September. It began with the beating of drums and the singing of traditional songs on the eve of the ceremony. He said the ceremony itself would take place the following day and involved taking beer and a black goat to the island under the guidance of Mande, the spirit medium. The goat was slaughtered on the island, a hut was built on the island out of wooden poles and water reeds. Ashen clay pots full of beer were taken to the hut.

Traditionally, it was believed the spirits were the key to rainfall, in case the rain failed to come until January, the Vashes the plural name of paramount Nambya chiefs would gather to make the national rain-making ceremony, they would gather  at all the rain-making spots which where the graves of all the three  paramount ancestros, the first spot would be at Chilisa grave site which was located on the Zambian side of Zambezi, the second at Shangano ruins where Chief Sawanga and Chief Chilobanago was buried and lastly at Bumbusi Ruins where Chief Shana lies buried.

However, Victor Tshuma (72) — one of the village head in Makwa —  said it is important to respect these ancestral  shrines, as they still play an important role in Nambya tradition. “Nothing goes right when we do not recognise the existence of our ancestors,’’ he said. “We have told the local authorities to help us in preserving such shrines and they said they are yet to assist because the shrines are important to the Nambya community,’’ said Tshuma.

The shrine today remains a stark reminder of the happenings of the past but gone are the rainmaking ceremonies and gone are the rains, too.

— reprinted from The Herald Online

Don’t let Hwange’s Bambusi Ruins die

by Rutendo Mapfumo

— IN the wilderness in Hwange, hundreds of kilometres away from the cities, lives a tribe, not really secluded but certainly still equally not up-to-scratch with modern life. Although Christianity is slowly trickling in, the baNambya people remain glued to their traditional prayers, through an ancestral lineage at a sacred shrine called Bumbusi Ruins.

The Bumbusi Ruins are a sacred place for the Nambya people under chief Nekatambe in Hwange, close to the wildlife enclave of Hwange National Park. Intermittent droughts, scorching heat and the attendant of epidemics such as malaria present a continuing menace that the people of this area have to contend with, everyday.

One would think the Gods were cruel to let geography and history condemn them to this place. Yet, even if one becomes hardened to the elements, many of them are proud of where they come from and their culture.  Distance from the cities and towns, intermittent droughts, unreliable rainfall patterns have surely made the people in this community vulnerable to poverty.

In the vast wrap of arid land Hwange lies a sacred place where the baNambya people communicate with their Mande (the spirit mediums) some 70km away from the small mining town of Hwange.

The sacred place is within Sinamatela National Park. Getting to the place can be very difficult as the area is located in a scrubland, among stunted mopane bush shrubbery, dotted with huge acacia trees and savanna grasslands. A dirty road, hardly travelled by car lead to the shrine.

Here is where there is the rock engravings, the stone engravings depict the spoor of lions, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, roan antelope, sable, impala and many others. It is believed to be the area where the baNambya meet and communicate with their ancestors.

“This is the area where us as the baNambya meet and communicate with our ancestors,’’ says Gabriel Shokodema one of the elderly in the Nambya society who is also a member of the Nambya Cultural Association.

Annually rainmaking ceremonies (miliya) are done at these ruins to appease the ancestors even though one could not help but wonder about the rainmaking ceremony when measured against the area’s unreliable rainfall.

If rain does not come by January, which is common in Hwange, the elders (vashe) conduct a national rainmaking ceremony at the graves of the Wanges or chiefs at Bumbusi.

Historically, the ruins are believed to be ancient home of the Chief Hwange, where natural rocks ascend and overshadow the area.
These ruins were built when the baNambya broke away from Rozvi Changamire, when they entered the Leya territory via lower Gwayi River, they settled at the upper Deka valley. Here they named the place Bumbusi and build their capital between two large baobab trees. The two huge trees still stand even up to date having stood the test and taste of time.

The stone walled enclosure is about 55 metres long and metres high as the royal dwellings were located within this complex. On several rocks in the area tsoro boards are carved which proves that there it was a traditional game, which was indeed loved by most inhabitants. Bumbusi Ruins is a variant of the architecture of Great Zimbabwe and the Nambya maZimbabwe (houses of stone).

To date, Mr Nsimango who is the chairman of Nambya Development Trust said the Bumbusi Ruins are of paramount importance to the Nambya culture. It is heartbreaking to see such monuments being ignored and not secured. “Yes, Bumbusi is not being taken care of and I am worried that our culture and the value of Bumbusi might languish as people would forget about it.’’

Mr Nsimango said he had requested Government to intervene through the protection of National Museums and Monuments as the situation was getting out of hand. “I know that it might take long for us to get help but I have made an appeal to the officials of National Monument Mr Mahachi to intervene in the protection of our monuments,’’ he said.

The National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe should help in the reconstruction and it least in the protection of the remaining of the ruins.  At this precious monuments baboons and other animals are progressively taking their toll on what remains are the Bumbusi Ruins which is ignored and neglected, but such historical treasures remain known to few and face the real danger of being lost with time.

This is a case which, in the end, credibility of those claiming to be tourism and National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe experts, should be ashamed for failing to intervene as Bumbusi Ruins may as well be tourist attraction.

— reprinted from The Herald Online.

The Nambya Culture Festival: Young People Saving Nambya from Exctinction

reprinted from YETT.

— Ingrained in every language is a set of cultural values that embodies the society within which the language is spoken. Language is the carrier of the cultural heritage of societies thus the death of a language constitutes the total destruction of norms, values, attributes and beliefs of a people.

Nambya Development Organization Trust (NDOT) with the support of YETT Youth Fund and financial assistance from Sida has seen it fit to help young people lead the process of preservation of some of the “indigenous languages and culture ” through a day long festival held recently in Jambezi in  Hwange district.

“The festivals helps young people to remember and appreciate who they are by having a full day of cultural activities starting with the cultural tools, and also having an opportunity to exhibit traditional foods that made part of the yesteryear diet”, said John Mzanwa, NDOT Coordinator.
This is the second year that the festival has been held following the inaugural event held in 2010 after the realization that the use of Nambya as a language was facing extinction resulting in the speakers of the language less appreciating their way of living.

“We did carry out a snap survey and found that 55% of the people were reluctant to speak or to be associated with the Nambyans even though they are Nambians so to get them out of the shell we needed to carry out this festival where they will showcase their lives from the home to all other tools which is the second and by looking at what we have had today, this one has had more impact as there was wider coverage as some came from as far as Victoria Falls , Hwange”, explained , Moven Musanhu , NDOT, Board chairperson.

However, there is hope for revival of the language following the recognition of Nambya as one of the official languages in Zimbabwe and to date some of the board members of NYDOT who are authors have been helpful in publishing the first set of  books which are used to teach the language in primary schools.

The event has gained much recognition as evidenced by the presence of stakeholders drawn from the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, other local Non-Governmental Organizations as well as the Non-Constituency Senator and traditional leader, Chief Shana.

“We are glad of all the people who are making various efforts to promote the Nambyan language and we are constantly appealing to donors and others who can provide financial assistance towards publishing books and other educational materials in Nambya for the benefit of our younger generation”, says Chief Shana.

Meanwhile, organizations working with YETT under the Youth Fund also had an opportunity to be part of the festival through an exchange visit organized for them to learn, appreciate and network with other organizations for the benefit of their organizations.

“This is where the networking part comes in because from the interaction we have had we have seen that their main thrust is about preserving the Nambyan culture and some of us come from organization that encourage youth participation therefore we should come to Hwange and interact with the youths from Nambya so that we complement each other’s work”, said, Youth Forum Information Officer, Tawanda Mashava.
“The festival was community owned, they were participating and showcasing what they do, from the people who cooked for us and performed other duties voluntarily  and its something we are somehow failing in our organizations and I learnt a lot from you (NDOT)”, added Sithembile from YODAT.

However, some partners felt the need to keep track of the dynamism in culture for the benefit of future generations.

“One thing I have noticed is that we hardly document where we are coming from which shapes where we are going so as to shape the heritage of those that are growing up”, Tafadzwa Dzomba.

“When you talk about culture, there are some cultural practices that are harmful and others that are good that you would want to promote so when we talk about cultural preservation we should have clear demarcations on what we are keeping and dropping because as we are talking about HIV and AIDS and with or without the pandemic, there are some practices which remain harmful”, said YETT Director, Lucy Mazingi.