Mbuya Nehanda’s Family Sues Zimbabwean Government Over Slay Queen Statue
A male ‘relative’ of the 1896 tax rebel, Nehanda Nyakasikana is set to stop the erection of her statue as he says government has bypassed traditional rites by not engaging her family.
Mr Felix Elijah Shamuyarira, who says he is a maternal relative of Mbuya Charwe, the spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda, said in court papers the government was making a grave mistake by going ahead with the statue before a cleansing ceremony is conducted in the “dirty” city of Harare.
He said the city had to be cleansed of the spirits of a lot of innocent lives that have been lost in recent years.
Work on erecting the statue started in Harare this month and is expected to be completed in two months.
Shamuyarira cites Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, his Local Government counterpart July Moyo, National Archives of Zimbabwe director Ivan Murambiwa, National Museums and Monuments director Godfrey Mahachi and National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda as respondents in the court case.
Shamuyarira wants Kazembe, Moyo, Murambiwa and Mahachi interdicted from erecting the statue of Mbuya Charwe, also known as Nyakasikana, the spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda, at the intersection of Julius Nyerere Way and Samora Machel Avenue.
He said the project must be declared unlawful in the absence of a consent document signed by her four “blood” family members, two representatives of the spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda, chiefs Chiweshe and Hwata and two other individuals.
Shamuyarira questioned why chiefs Hwata and Chiweshe were not engaged or informed about the statue yet they were responsible for preserving the traditions of the areas they govern where Charwe originated from.
He said since independence in 1980, the government did not bother to meet with or appreciate Charwe’s family for the work she had done as a spirit medium during the liberation struggle.
Shamuyarira said a meeting was called on July 3 in Mazowe where representatives of Charwe’s maternal and paternal families agreed that the government had made a mistake by not engaging them, adding “it adds more injury to a broken heart”.
“The family members and Chief Hwata, together with their spirit mediums maintain that the government of Zimbabwe and its leadership made a grave mistake in announcing their mission to the world without first engaging them on such important, national and historical matters that directly affect them,” Shamuyarira said.
“The erection of the statue is of great importance as it is clearly apparent that Charwe did not die a natural death as she was murdered by the colonial regime of the settler British colonialists.
“As a matter of fact, the Hwata people have since independence remained secretive as the execution of Charwe traumatises them to this present day, hence the need of a healing process for them at national level. According a special day in our calendar to be declared a national holiday and in her name as already directed and pleaded to our authorities with due respect, remains necessary,” Shamuyarira added