One of the purposes of the Kings & Queens collection was to educate people. In order to achieve this for the next couple of weeks we will be sharing the background information that we have come across of each of the Kings and Queens. If you have anything to add please feel free to do so.

NEHANDA - Lion spirit; symbol of authority

The spirit Nehanda is said to be the mhondoro, a royal mudzimu (ancestral spirit) or "lion spirit". In 1840 Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana was born and she was considered to be the female incarnation of the oracle spirit: Nyamhika Nehanda. As medium of the spirit Nehanda, Nyakasikana made oracular pronouncements and performed traditional ceremonies that were thought to ensure rain and good crops. Commonly known as Mbuya Nehanda, she is the grandmother of present day Zimbabwe.

As white settlement increased in the land, according to sources Nehanda initially welcomed the occupation by the Pioneers and counselled her followers to be friendly towards them "Don't be afraid of them" she said "as they are only traders, but take a black cow to them and say this is the meat with which we greet you." Unfortunately relationships became strained when the settlers starting imposing taxes, forced relocations, forced labour, etc. As colonialism began to get its grip on the natives of Zimbabwe, there was military drive to rid of the British settlers. The collective efforts of the locals to get rid of the British colonialist in the period of 1896–7 have become known as the First Chimurenga a.k.a. the Rebellion.

During this time Nehanda became the symbol of rebellion and was the ‘Mother of the Nation’. She made prophecies that proved to be key in the revolutionary struggle and instructed local chiefs to resist dominance

She exhorted the Shona people to expel the British from the land, encouraging them to intensify the struggle and rallying them on. Using secret messages to communicate with each other, the mhondoro effectively coordinated their efforts and led the fight for independence.

In 1973 Nehanda was sentenced to death by hanging for the death of Native Commissioner Pollard. Nehanda’s dying words “My bones will rise again,” predicated the Second Chimurenga, which culminated in the independence of present day Zimbabwe.

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