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Ndebele raiders and Shona power

  • D. N. Beach (a1)
Extract

For a variety of reasons the extent, number and severity of Ndebele raids upon the Shona-speaking peoples have been greatly exaggerated in the past. Moreover most studies of the Ndebele have failed to take into account the fact that the Ndebele conquered an already well-established Shona state with an economy linked with the Indian Ocean trade. This article seeks to show that the bulk of Ndebele raiding before 1873 was a response to both the political and military threat of the Changamire Rozvi dynasty and to the economic needs of the state that had been taken over. Even so, Ndebele raids were limited in extent and duration, and the two decades after 1873 saw a steady revival of Shona strength. In spite of Ndebele raids aimed at preventing this process, the independent Shona strengthened themselves by re-arming and ‘alliances’, and were able to take part in the eventual overthrow of the Ndebele kingdom.

This article is a condensed version of a paper presented at the History Workshop, Gaborone, September 1973.

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1 Sources with biases, conscious or unconscious, include: The Matabele Journals of Robert Moffat, 1829–1860, ed. Wallis, J. P. R. (London, 1945);The Matabele Mission … of John and Emily Moffat, 1858–1878, ed. Wallis, J. P. R. (London, 1945);Kerr, W. Montagu, The Far Interior (London, 1887);Gold and the Gospel in Mashonaland 1888, eds. Fripp, C. E. and Hiller, V. W. (London, 1946);The Northern Goldfields Diaries of Thomas Baines, ed. Wallis, J. P. R. (London, 1946); Mackenzie, J., Ten Years North of the Orange River (Edinburgh, 1871);Coillard, F., On the Threshold of Central Africa (London, 1897);Anderson, A. A., Twenty-five Years in a Waggon (London, 1888);The Southern African Diaries of Thomas Leask 1865–1870, ed. Wallis, J. P. R. (London, 1954)

2 ‘I hope they do raid the Barotses’, wrote the Company's secretary fl 1892. ‘All these raids and deaths and murders ought to be entered into a book, so that we may always be able to prove justification and their being a cruel damnable race.’ Hist. MSS CO 4/1/1 Harris, F. Rutherfoord to Colenbrander, J. W., 9 02. 1892. Unless otherwise stated all reference codes relate to the National Archives of Rhodesia, Salisbury.

3 Ranger, T. O., ‘The rewriting of African History during the Scramble: the Matabele dominance in Mashonaland’, Afr. Soc. Res. IV (1967);Beach, D. N., ‘The Adendorif Trek in Shona History’, S.A.H.J. III (1971).

4 T. N.Huffman, The Leopards Kopje Tradition (in press).

5 This interpretation, which differs radically from that generally made previously, was made independently by DrMudenge, (Mudenge, S. I., ‘The Rozvi Empire and the Feira of Zumbo’, unpubl. Ph.D. thesis (London, 1972), 3543, 5470) and myself (Beach, D. N., ‘Historians and the Shona Empires, II, 3, The Changamire Problem’, Univ. of Rhodesia, Hist. Dept., Henderson Seminar Paper, 20, 1972), but to Dr Mudenge belongs the credit for convincingly identifying the Khami culture in its earlier phase with the Torwa dynasty.

6 Huffman, T. N., ‘The Rise and Fall of Zimbabwe’, J. Afr. Hist. XIII, 3 (1972), 356–7.

7 Fortune, G., ‘A Rozvi text with translation and notes’, NADA, 33 (1956).

8 Mudenge, , ‘The Rozvi Empire’, 52, 70, 159–60;Sutherland-Harris, N., ‘Trade and the Rozvi Mambo’, in Gray, J. R. and Birmingham, D., eds., Precolonial African Trade (London, 1970).

9 Posselt, F. W. T., Mambo and his Court (Salisbury, 1923),2; N. 3/33/8, Posselt, J. W., Charter, N. C. to Acting Salisbury, C. N. C., c. 1 01. 1904;Mudenge, , ‘The Rozvi Empire’, 187–91. Dr Mudenge's use of Portuguese documents to date Rozvi reigns in the late eighteenth century is one of the most important breakthroughs in the study of Rozvi history. His explanation of the origins of the Jiri-Gumunyu dispute is another, and his argument has influenced my use of the evidence cited below.

10 Robinson, K. R., Khami Ruins (Cambridge, 1959), Appendix 6, Tradition 2. This is a reflection of a tradition recorded in one of a set of very valuable traditions collected in 1898–1906 (NB 6/1/1, N 3/33/8 and A 3/18/18): A 3/18/28Stuart, C. T., Gwelo, N. C. to Bulawayo, C. N. C., 16 02. 1906. This is not the Ndumba after whom the Ndumba hills at the Bubi source are named, A 3/18/28Lanning, R.. Inyati, N. C. to Bulawayo, C. N. C., 21 04. 1906.

11 The main traditions of Rozvi politics are found in Posselt, J. W. in N. 3/33/8; F. W. T. Posselt, Mambo; M. V. J. Rukara, in Hist. MSS Msc. RU 4/1/1;Marwodzi, A., ‘The Barozwi’, NADA, 2 (1924);Lloyd, E. M. and Muhlanga, S., ‘Mbava’, NADA, 3 (1925) and ‘Mbava and the others’, NADA, 4 (1926); Fortune, ‘A Rozvi text’;Robinson, K. R., ‘A History of the Bikita District’, NADA, 34 (1957); S. Rhodesia M(inistry of) I(nternal) A(ffairs) Delineation Reports, Bikita and Buhera, 1964–5. The simplest and most convincing explanation of the dispute is that the modern Jiri group are descended from Mutinhima, son of Gumboremvura, and that the Gumunyu group are descended from Chirisamhuru. The co-operation of the Mutinhima house with the main house in the 1850s is described below. The death of Mambo Tohwechipi Chibambamu in C. 1873 after his defeat in 1866 led to the political eclipse of his house and the rise of Mutinhima's. The earliest known reference to Tohwechipi's son or brother Chikore makes it clear that he was not regarded as Mambo—although the reference must be regarded with caution on this point because it comes from a traditionally pro-Mutinhima area (A 3/18/28, Elliott, F. G., Selukwe, N. C. to Bulawayo, C. N. C., 19 05 1906). By 1896 the people near Zimbabwe stated that ‘Tihina’ (Mutinhima) was ruling the Bikita Rozvi (Argief van die, N. G. Kerk, Cape Town, Report of Helm, S. P., 1891). In 1896 the Gumunyu-descended Chiduku group joined the ritual-position holder Mavudzi and the Mbava group in the installation of a Mutinhima-house member, Chikohore Chingombe, as Rozvi Mambo in the Mavangwe hills, Buhera (N 1/1/8, Ndanga, N. C. to Salisbury, C. N. C., 2 03. 1897). Subsequently the Mutinhima house dominated the Buhera and Bikita Rozvi until the revival of the Chirisamhuru-Gumunyu house in Bikita in the 1950s.

12 Posselt, F. W. T., Mambo, 6;SirMary, Aquina O.P., ‘The tribes in Chilimanzi Reserve and their relation to the Rozvi’, NADA, IX, 2 (1965), 41 Fortune, ‘A Rozvi text’, 72; A 3/18/28Thomas, T. M., Acting Insiza, N. C. to Bulawayo, C. N. C., 16 05 1906; MIA Delineation Report, Que Que, 1963; Stuart in A 3/18/28; NB 6/1/1Jackson, S. N. G., Belingwe, N. C. to Bulawayo, C. N. C., 31 03. 1898.

13 Liesegang, G. J., ‘Nguni migrations between Delagoa Bay and the Zambezi, 1821–1839’, Afr. Hist. Studies, III, 2 (1970);Elliott, W. A., ‘The Ma-Shuna’ in Carnegie, D., Among the Matabele (London, 1894), 113; F. G. Elliott in A 3/18/28; S. N. G. Jackson in NB 6/I/1; Hist. MSS WE 3/2/4; Hist. MSS WI 8/1/1; Nkani I passim.

14 Robert, Moffat, Journals, 1, 369; F. G. Elliott A 2.18/28. In this case the Mutinhima faction admitted their subordination to Chirisamhuru's house.

15 Hist. MSS W1 8/1/2 Ntabeni 1–2.

16 Stuart in A 3/18/28.

17 Hist. MSS W1 8/1/1 Ngungu 2; Thomas, T. M., Eleven Years in Central South Africa (London, 1873), 165; S. N. G. Jackson in NB 6/1/1; ‘Mziki’ (pseudonym of A. A. Campbell),'Mlimo (Pietermaritzburg, 1926), 85. This latter account, which existed in draft form in 1905 and in final form in 1911, has been described as a fabrication. But the presence of information about Lukuluba and Chizema in particular, and about the affairs of the eastern Ndebele in general, suggests that it is indeed a body of genuine tradition collected in Insiza 1897–1905 and added to a fictional romantic story.

18 Hits. MSS WI 8/1/2 Ntabeni 4.

19 Hist. MSS W1 8/1/1 Nkani 1–2.

20 Taylor, G. A., ‘The Matabele Headring’, NADA, 3 (1925), 41.

21 Robert, Moffat, Journals, I, 214–15, 224, 265; II, 158.

22 F. G. Elliott in A 3/18/28.

23 Posselt, F. W. T., Mambo, 6; Stuart in A 3/18/28;Lloyd, and Muhlanga, , ‘Mbava and others’, 92.

24 N 3/33/8 Morris, E., Marandellas, N. C. to Acting Salisbury, C. N. C., 1 01. 1904.

25 Edwards, W., ‘The Wanoe’, NADA, 4 (1926), 18. Edwards gives Nyandoro's Fungwe origins correctly (Morris, in N 3/33/8), but omits the period in which he ruled Tsunga under the Rozvi.

26 Robert, Moffat, Journals, 1, 233, 240, 369. Moffat originally used the term ‘Shona’ to mean, principally, ‘Rozvi’, and ‘Bamakalaka’ to mean ‘Kalanga’.

27 Ibid., 1, 329.

28 Ibid., 11, 59.

29 Leask, , Diaries, 81, 88.

30 The Journal of Carl Mauch 1869–1872, ed. Burke, E. E. (Salisbury, 1969), 222.

31 Ibid., 209–214.

32 E.g. A 1/9/1, Paulet, H. to Jameson, L. S., 28 07 1892.

33 Selous, F. C., Travel and Adventure in South East Africa (London, 1893), 116.

34 Baines, , Diaries, 1, 163.

35 Robert, Moffat, journals, 1, 224, 234, 241, 250, 361; II, 79–80, 104.

36 Mudenge, , ‘The Rozvi Empire’, 117–18. Zumbo sent two guns every three years.

37 Robert, Moffat, Journals, 1, 234; II, 79, 104;John, Moffat, Matabele Mission, 152, 161.

38 Selous, , Adventure, 474.

39 Baines, , Diaries, II, 469.

40 Robert, Moffat, Journals, 1 241.

41 Tabler, E. C., The Far Interior (Cape Town, 1955), 212.

42 T. M. Thomas in A 3/18/28.

43 F. G. Elliott and Stuart in A 3/18/28; Posselt, F. W. T., Mambo, 6.

44 Stuart and T. M. Thomas in A 3/18/28; MIA Delineation Reports, Que Que and Gatooma, 1963–5.

45 van der Merwe, D. J., ‘Some history of the Vakaranga in the Gutu Reserve’, NADA, 54 (19361937), 73. The episode described immediately preceded the Jiri Rozvi move to Bikita in the late nineteenth century;Marwodzi, , ‘The Baroawi’, 90. By ‘this country of the Batonga’ he meant the upper Sabi valley; for Hwata, see below.

46 Robert, Moffat, Journals, 1, 233, 241, 250, 368–9;Campbell, , 'Mlimo, 103.

47 S. N. G. Jackson in NB 6/1/1.

48 Leask, , Diaries, 114.

49 NB 6/1/1 Driver, W. T. T., Selukwe, N. C. to Bulawayo, C. N. C., 31 03. 1898; I am indebted to MrMwanza, R. G. for his tradition confirming and explaining Zingwe's death.

50 Dornan, S. A., ‘Rhodesian Ruins and Native Tradition’, S.A.J. Science, XII, 2 (1916), 508.

51 I am indebted to Mr A. Samasuwo for his translation of this Rozvi dialect word.

52 Rukara, in Hist. MSS Misc/RU 4/1/1; MIA Delineation Report, Bikita, 1964;Robert, Moffat, Journals, 1, 369;Chapman, J., Travels in the Interior of South Africa 1849–1863 (Cape Town, 1868), 1, 63. I am indebted to Mr J. D. Cobbing for this latter reference.

53 Robert, Moffat, Journals, II, 59.

54 Beach, D. N., ‘The Rising in South-western Mashonaland, 1896–7’, unpubl. Ph.D. thesis (London, 1971), 205.

55 Univ. of Rhodesia, Hist. Dept., Text 78 Bha; MIA Delineation Report, Buhera, 1965.

56 Izidoro, Correia Pereira, ‘Mappa das minas conhecidas na distrito de Senna’, 31 07 1857, in Memoria e Documentos acerca dos Direitos de Portugal aos territorios de Machona e Nyassa 1890 (Lisbon, 1890), 296. ‘Mezircase’ could be a variant of the Hwata praise-name mufakose.

57 Garlake, P. S., ‘Excavations at the Seventeenth-century Portuguese Site of Dambarare, Rhodesia’, Proc. Trans. Rhod. Scientific Assn. LIV, 1 (1969).

58 Mauch, , Journal, 220; P(ublic) R(ecord) O(ffice), London, CO 417(14) South Africa 1887, 11, Mandy, to Jones, , 8 02. 1887, 46. I am indebted to Dr N. M. B. Bhebe for this reference, and for having drawn my attention to the importance of Hwata's trade system.

59 Hist. MSS 6/2/1 29 Dec. 1890.

60 Garlake, P. S., ‘Seventeenth-century Portuguese earthworks in Rhodesia’, S.A. Archael. Bull. xxi, 84 (1966).

61 Pereira, , ‘Mappa das minas’, 296.

62 Barnes, , Journals, II, 472–5.

63 Chapman, , Travels II, 161.

64 Campbell, , Mlimo, 139.

65 John, Moffat, Matabele Mission, 136–7, 152;Thomas, T. M., Eleven Years, 314. I am indebted to Mr J. D. White for his help on this point.

66 Campbell, ,' Mlimo, 137.

67 Mauch, , Journal, 176–8.

68 John, Moffat, Matabele Mission, 152.

69 Beach, , ‘Adendorff’, 38–9; Driver in NB 6/1/1.

70 Pereira, , ‘Mappa das minas’, 296.

71 MIA Delineation Report, Bikita, 1964; Fortune, ‘A Rozvi text’, 73.

72 Leask, , Diaries, 102;Thomas, T. M., Eleven Years, 339–40.

73 MIA Delineation Report, Bikita, 1964.

74 Driver in NB 6/1/1; Oates, C. G., Matabeleland and the Victoria Falls (London, 1881), 59;Campbell, , 'Mlimo, 151; Hist. MSS W1 8/1/12 Ntabeni 53.

75 Baines, , Diaries, 11, 453.

76 See 57.

77 N 3/33/8, Edwards, W., Mrewa, N. C. to Acting Salisbury, C. N. C., 11 12. 1903, encl. ‘A Short History of Mangwendi's People, 13 Apr. 1898’.

78 Edwards, , ‘Wanoe’, 18.

79 Morris, in N 3/33/8.

80 Morris and Edwards in N 3/33/8.

81 Edwards, in N 3/33/8.

82 Leask, , 74, 221.

83 Pereira, , ‘Mappa das minas’, 296.

84 Large-scale ivory shooting by European hunters in these valleys began in 1865 (Tabler, , Far Interior, 271), and by 1884 African gunmen had decimated the game there (Kerr, , The Far Interior, 1, 44).

85 N 3/33/8 Jackson, S. N. G., Hartley, N. C. to Acting Salisbury, C. N. C., c. 1 01. 1904; PRO, FO 179/279 No. 57, ‘Memorandum on the Rights of Portugal in the territories to the south of the Zambezi, communicated by de Freitas, M., 12 07 1890;Baines, , Diaries, 11, 498.

86 S. N. G. Jackson in N 3/1/33/8.

87 Leask, , Diaries, 86.

88 Baines, , Diaries, 11, 498.Thomas, T. M. (Eleven Years, 325) incorrectly made the date 1863, but Baines was closer to the event in time and place, as well as being backed up by John Moffat.

89 Baines, , Diaries, I, XXXVII, 55, 498;Selous, , Adventure, 47, 295.

90 Mandy, in PRO, CO 417 (14) South Africa 1887, 11.

91 On tribute, see Beach, ‘Rising’, 126, and Bhebe, N. M. B., ‘Christian Missions in Matabeleland, 1859–1923’, unpubl. Ph.D. thesis (London, 1972).

92 Beach, , ‘Rising’, 124–35.

93 John, Moffat, Matabele Mission, 152;Leask, , Diaries, 69, 190.

94 Beach, , ‘Rising’, 143–9.

95 Hist. MSS LO 6/1/4, Cockin, J. to Mullen, , 05 1879.

96 Beach, , ‘Adendorff’, 3940; the 1877 date for the war given in my earlier articles has been revised by Hist. MSS TH 2/1/1, for which reference I am indebted to Mr J. D. Cobbing.

97 N 9/1/6, Statistical Report for year ending 31 03. 1900, Gutu.

98 Beach, , ‘Rising’, 155–7.

99 Selous, , Adventure, 113–16, 465–6.

100 Chidziva, J., ‘History of the vaShawasha’, NADA, IX, 1 (1964), 29.

101 Selous, , Adventure, 50–3.

102 Fripp, and Hiller, , Gold and the Gospel, 32, 34.

103 Driver in NB 6/1/1; Hist. MSS, Wl 8/1/2 Ntabeni 53–5. Gwasagwasa also visited Chipuriro in 1892 (A 1/9/1, Lendy, to Jameson, , 1 04. 1893), probably to investigate the removal of Chipuriro by the Portuguese (Decle, L., Three Years in Savage Africa [London, 1898], 217).

104 Fripp, and Hiller, , Gold and the Gospel, 2730, 51, 69;Decle, , Three Years, 141.

105 Beach, D. N., ‘Kaguvi and Fort Mhondoro’, Rhodesiana, 27 (1972), 38 n.

106 Fripp, and Hiller, , Gold and the Gospel, 27–8, 31–6, 67;Kerr, , Far Interior, I, 64, 151.

107 Memoria e Documentos, 27–8, 268–76, 333Boletim Oficial… de Moæambique, 57, 21 12. 1889, 725;B.O.M. 12, 05. 1890, 152; B.O.M. 20, 17 05 1890, Caetano, de Carvaiho Montez, ‘Documentos para a história de Moçambique’, Moçambique, documentatio trimestral, 25, 1947, 86, 98111;Paiva de Andrada, J. C. to Minister of Marine, 18 08. 1889, Arquivo do Ministério dos Negocios Estrangeiros, Lisbon, Soberania de Portugal na Zambezia, Caixa 2, 1889;Paiva de Andrada, J. C. to Francisco, Costa, 15 and 27 12. 1889, Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino, Lisbon, Moçambique, 2a. Repartição, 6a. Caixa 1889;Freitas, , op. cit.; Beach, ‘Rising’, 174–97.

108 Mauch, , Journal, 213.

109 CT, 1/1/6, Lendy, C. to Colquhoun, A. R., 18 12. 1890.

110 Memoria e Documentos, 277–6; University of Rhodesia, Hist. Dept. Texts 53–4, 60–1 Hty.

111 CT 1sol;12/8, Colquhoun, A. R. to Harris, F. Rutherfoor, 10 12. 1890; CT 1/5/2, Nicholson, R. G. to Harris, F. Rutherfoord, 7 11. 1890.

112 LO 5/2/3, Lt.-Col Pennefather, to Rutherfoord, Harris, 4 09. 1890; URHD Text 26 Czi; N 9/4/3 Chilimanzi, N. C. to C. N. C., , 1 11. 1902.

113 URHD Text 26 Czi; Hist. MSS W1 5/1/l, 7 Apr. 1897.

114 A 2/8/1/ Jameson, L. S. to acting Secy. BSAC Cape Town, 2 12. 1891.

115 DV 5/1/1/ Chaplin, to Jameson, L. S. 25 03 1892; CT 1/15/2. L. S. Jameson to acting Secy. BASC Cape Town, 15 July 1892 A 1/9/1/. telegraohic conversation A 19 Aug.–Sept. 1892; NB 1/1/9, A. N. C. Gutu to C. N. C., 9 Sept. 1900.

116 Houghton Lobrary, Harward Dairy of Thompson, W. L.293108 1982. I am indebted to J. K. Rennie for this reference.

117 Hist, MSS BE 2/1/1, Dairy of Tshakoma mission, 1st quarter, 1887.

118 Beach, , ‘Adendorff’, 40, 43.

119 LO 5/2/21, Harris, F. R. to London Board of BSAC, 27 07 1892.

120 A 2/1/4, Hole, H. M. to Colenbrander, J. W., 09. 1892.

121 Beach, , ‘Rising’, 230–5.

122 Howman, E. G. and Adam, J. H. Stanley,‘The hand of glory’, NADA, 6 (1928), 33–4;Campbell, ,'Mlimo, 130-l; CT 1/14/1, Lendy, C. to Jameson, L. S., 18 06 1893.

123 Hist. MSS CO 4/1/1, Dawson, B. to Colenbrander, J. W., 24 09. 1893.

124 Hist. MSS MO 14/2sol;1, 8 and 10 Oct. 1893; Hist. MSS WE 3/2/3; Hist. MSS W1 9sol;2sol;4, 16 Oct.1893.

125 CT 1/14sol;2, Harris, F. R. to Loch, H., 28 10. 1893.

126 Wills, W. A. and Collingridge, L. T., The Downfall of Lobengula (London, 1894), 107.

127 DV 1/1/1/, Hay, and Crowne, to Harris, F. R., 7 03. 1894; DV 7sol;2sol;2, trial of Hay, H. D., 14 12. 1893; L 2sol;3sol;8, Vigers, to Duncan, , 7 12. 1893.

128 N 1/1/3, Hartley, N. C. to C. N. C., , 1 02. and 25 07 1895; N 1/1/2, N. C. Charter to C. N. C., 30 Jan. and 19 Feb. 1895; N 1/1/12, Victoria, N. C. to C. N. C., , 2 and 16 10. 1894; A 15/1/1, N. C. Victoria's report to 10 Dec. 1894.

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