Nehanda(left) and Kaguvi(right) Heroes of the First Chimurenga

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Colonisation of Zimbabwe: Shona Uprisings

  • It surprised the settlers because they thought the Shona had welcomed colonialism as it protected them from raids by the Ndebele
  • The Shona were also seen as weak, disunited and having no organized society
  • The Shona had laid foundation for an uprising secretly
  • The Shona had to harvest the fields before joining the war
  • The First Chimurenga began at the court of Chief Makoni in Manicaland
  • The settlers wanted to punish him and sent a force and the chief lighted fires as a way of communicating the beginning of Chimurenga
  • The war was organized in a similar way as that of the Ndebele
  • Religious leader worked with paramount chiefs
  • Some of the religious leaders was Mkwati
  • He lived at Mashayamombe’s kraal which later became the centre of rebellion in Mashonland west
  • The Mashayamombe revolted first in Beatrice
  • The incident of the beating of Muzhuzha, Mashayamombe’s nephew and confiscation of their rifles by the Native Commissioner Moony sparked the war
  • Moony was then killed by Mashayamombe’s men led by Chifamba
  • Mashayamombe’s men also killed Indian traders
  • Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi also played pivotal roles in co-coordinating and unifying people.
  • Kaguvi worked wih chiefs such as Chikwaka, Chinamhora, Zvimba, Nyandoro, Mangwende, Seke and Rusike among others
  • Nehanda worked with Hwata, Negomo, Nyamweda, Chiweshe, Nyachuru among others
  • The Shona were divided into many chieftainships
  • This led to the fighting being organized at local level
  • The Shona used guerrilla warfare whereby men would unite and fight then go back to their normal lives after they had hid their weapons
  • Many British forces were killed by using this method
  • The settlers fled and settled in laagers waiting for reinforcements
  • When reinforcement arrived, things changed, the settlers attacked and defeated the Shona at Mashayamombe.
  • They killed some of the spirit mediums, Bonda and Chifamba
  • The other paramount chiefs were attacked one by one
  • Other spirit mediums were also tracked down and killed: Kaguvi in October 1897 and Nehanda in December
  • They were convicted with murder and were hanged on 27 April 1898
  • Chief Mapondera became the centre of colonial resistance from 1900 – 1903

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